WASHINGTON, March 28 (PTI) – Amid mass layoffs in the tech industry, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says it considers the assumption that laid-off workers on H-1B visas must leave the country within 60 days is wrong, and they think there are multiple options for staying.
In a letter to the Foundation for India and the Indian Diaspora Research, USCIS Director Ur M Jaddou said, “When nonimmigrant workers are fired, they may not be aware of their options and in some cases may mistakenly believe that They have no choice but to leave the country within 60 days.”
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The Foundation for the Study of India and the Indian Diaspora (FIIDS), which has been serving laid-off H-1B visa holders, recently sent a letter to USCIS explaining the impact of recent tech layoffs and seeking an extension of up to 60 days. deadline.
In a letter to Khanderao Kand, Director of Policy and Analytical Strategies at FIIDS, USCIS said it acknowledged the financial and emotional impact job losses can have on U.S. employment-based nonimmigrant workers and their families.
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“We are aware of the issue of involuntary termination, particularly in the technology sector,” it said.
USCIS says that when a nonimmigrant worker’s employment is terminated, whether voluntary or involuntary, they can generally take one of four actions to remain in the U.S. for the period of authorized presence, if eligible Inside,
The most prominent of these include filing nonimmigrant change of status applications and adjustment of status applications.
They can also apply for “compelling circumstances” for employment authorization documents, or be the beneficiary of a non-frivolous petition to change employers, USCIS said.
“If one of these actions occurs during the up to 60-day grace period, nonimmigrants can remain in the United States for more than 60 days, even if they lose their previous nonimmigrant status.
“If workers take no action during the grace period, they and their dependents may be required to leave the United States within 60 days or at the end of their authorization, whichever is shorter,” USCIS said in the letter.
It said that because DHS regulations provide for a grace period of up to 60 days, extending the grace period would require a regulatory change under the Administrative Procedure Act that USCIS cannot extend through policy guidance.
Fortunately, USCIS writes that most people facing unemployment already have multiple options to remain in the United States while continuing to search for work for more than 60 days.
It says it recognizes the contributions that talented foreign-born workers make to the United States, including in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
“We will continue to monitor layoffs in the technology sector and explore appropriate measures,” Jadoo said.
Khanderao Kand, Director of Policy and Analytical Strategies at FIIDS, said in a statement that leaving the US after layoffs would have a direct impact on laid-off H1B families and their school-going children.
“Losing these professionals is also a brain drain that affects America’s future competitiveness in emerging technologies. Therefore, FIIDS has launched a multi-phased campaign that ranges from awareness raising to a joint letter to USCIS with elected officials and other prominent organizations, ’ said the statement.
FIIDS launched a media campaign in January to raise awareness of the issue. In February, it launched a petition, backed by several prominent organizations including the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, the US-India Business Council, the American Jewish Committee and Indus Entrepreneurs, seeking an extension of the grace period.
“We appreciate USCIS clearly providing options for laid-off H1Bs. These official communications will improve the likelihood that H1B holders will remain in the US legally. We will still be working with DHS to change the grace period,” Conder said.
House members Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo called the departure of STEM professionals a national security threat in a letter to USCIS.
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said if retained, these laid-off professionals could develop innovative products and potentially start new businesses and jobs while advancing research in key industries.
Recently, Senator Chuck Schumer told an Indian-American audience that the problem could be fixed by changing the process.
The White House Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Initiative, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, also recommended extending the H-1B grace period.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)