“I joined Twitter in September 2022 and couldn’t be happier. Just two months later, here I am – part of the 3,500 people laid off by Twitter, on H-1B visas, with a few months to come Organize or pack things up and go back,” Balaji Bhasker wrote in the LinkedIn Post.
Like Balaji, the future of many foreigners entering the U.S. on H-1B visas is in jeopardy as big tech companies continue to lay off workers.
More than 60,000 Indians working in the US have lost their jobs this year, most of them on H-1B visas. Meta alone has laid off about 11,000 employees.
The H-1B visa allows aliens with exceptional skills to enter and work in the United States. Visas are primarily issued to people in skilled industries and are tied to specific employers that sponsor them. H-1B holders can only legally stay in the United States for 60 days without payment. What are your options in this situation? use your grace period wisely
Individuals have a 60-day grace period after discharge from the hospital on an H-1B visa. You have to make sure they use their time wisely. Says Aishwarya Srinivasan, a data scientist at Google Cloud AI: “Confirm when your last day was on payroll, and confirm when your new H-1B employment deadline is. According to most lawyers, your 60-day The grace period begins as soon as you receive the notice of termination; however, this is a gray area. Some cases are set up for your last payday, which is the starting charge for the countdown. Either way, with your company’s immigration Lawyer Talk, Figure Out Deadlines
Once you know your deadlines, you can start looking for a job. However, it is important that you do not apply blindly as this will only increase your rejection rate. Srinivasan believes this is one of the worst mistakes a person can make. “Instead, use this time wisely. I know it looks like
Backfired; however, my opinion is to be specific rather than blindly apply to all available positions,” she added.
If you find a job within the 60-day grace period, you can apply for a new H-1B visa and continue working during the grace period.
Explore other visa options
Based on when you posted, one option you might consider is taking an academic program. If you are able to enroll in a program, apply to change your visa from H-1B to F-1 (student visa).
A student visa allows you to gain new skills while staying in the country. If a student visa is not an option, you can apply for a B-2 (tourist) visa. It’s an option most of them consider when laying off staff.
Even though you can stay longer in the country on a B-2 visa, this can be problematic since the B-2 visa is only for tourists. Also, you must start returning to your home country after your visa expires. However, the processing time for changing visa status from H-1B to B-2 is quite long, taking almost a year in some cases.
Third, if you have a partner who holds an H-1B and is currently employed, you can apply to change your visa status from H-1B to H-4 dependent. Once you are granted an H-4 visa, you and your partner can stay in the U.S. for as long as possible.
This gives you plenty of time to find and apply for the jobs that are the best fit for you.
Other Immigration Opportunities
If remaining in the United States is no longer an option, you can return to your home country at any time. You can still search for jobs in the US from your home country. “You could also consider options like moving to Canada or India. While that might be the scariest option, there are many ways to return to the U.S.,” Srinivasan said.
Canada welcomes foreigners in the technology and IT sector to work in the country through its Temporary Foreign Worker Program. In fact, the Canadian Global Talent Stream was created to support the growth of the Canadian tech sector and processes applications within two weeks of submission.
At the same time, it might seem counterintuitive to apply for jobs in India, but the tech scene in India is growing significantly, and it’s an interesting time. “With all the tech layoffs in the U.S. in 2022, please spread the word to remind Indians (especially those with visa issues) to return home to help Indian tech realize its high-growth potential in the next decade,” said co-founder Harsh Jain said. Founder and CEO of Dream11.