By: Joshua C. Black, Esq.
If you are an immigrant working in the United States on a work visa, the fear of losing your job and its potential impact on your immigration status can be overwhelming. As an employment lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona, I understand the concerns and questions that arise in such situations. In this blog post, I aim to provide you with informative and trustworthy guidance on what happens to your work visa if you find yourself terminated from your job.
Understanding Work Visas
Before delving into the effects of job termination on your work visa, let's briefly review the two most common types of work visas in the United States: the H-1B visa and the L-1 visa.
H-1B Visa: The H-1B visa is often sought by skilled foreign professionals who have a job offer from a U.S. employer. It allows individuals to work temporarily in the United States in specialized occupations.
L-1 Visa: The L-1 visa is designed for intracompany transferees. It allows multinational companies to transfer executives, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge from their foreign offices to their U.S. branches.
Effects of Job Termination on Work Visas
Now, let's discuss the potential consequences of job termination on your work visa:
a) Grace Period: If you are terminated from your H-1B position, you may be eligible for a grace period of up to 60 days or until the expiration of your authorized stay (whichever is shorter). During this period, you can seek new employment, transfer to another employer, or make arrangements to depart the United States.
b) Change of Status: If you are unable to secure new employment within the grace period, you may need to explore other options, such as changing your immigration status, applying for a different visa category, or preparing to leave the United States.
a) Validity Period: In the case of an L-1 visa, job termination does not automatically invalidate your visa status. However, you are expected to maintain valid employment with the U.S. company that sponsored your visa. If terminated, it may be necessary to seek new employment within the company or explore alternative visa options.
Seeking Legal Guidance
When facing job termination as an immigrant on a work visa, it is crucial to consult with an experienced employment lawyer to navigate the complex legal landscape. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and guide you through the available options to protect your immigration status.
Potential Remedies and Next Steps
Exploring Alternative Employment: If you are terminated from your job, consider reaching out to potential employers who are willing to sponsor work visas. It is essential to secure a new job offer within the grace period or as soon as possible to maintain lawful immigration status.
Visa Transfers: Depending on your visa type and specific situation, you may be eligible for a visa transfer. This involves finding a new employer who is willing to sponsor your work visa and coordinating the necessary paperwork to transfer your visa to the new employer.
Departure Preparation: If you are unable to secure new employment or transfer your visa within the grace period, it is essential to prepare for departure. Consult with an immigration attorney to ensure a smooth transition and understand any potential implications for future immigration endeavors.
While the prospect of losing your job as an immigrant on a work visa can be daunting, it does not automatically result in the loss of your immigration status. Understanding the options available to you and seeking legal guidance are crucial in navigating these circumstances effectively.
Remember, every situation is unique, and the information provided here serves as a general overview.