With the economic situation worsening, many H-1B employees are loosing their job. What should they do?
By law the H-1B status terminates the day the employee looses their job. However, the CIS has usually given a one month grace period. That means that if you can find another job sponsor and file the H-1B within one month, the CIS seems fine with that. You of course have to submit copies of your last pay stub with this new transfer.
If not, you should consider either filing for a visitor’s visa or go back to your home country. A Visitor’s visa may be necessary to extend your stay to be able to settle your financial affairs here. You file the Form I-539 and explain the situation.
If you have time remaining in your H-1B (ie, you have not used up the six years), you can go back to the H-1B status any time that you find another H-1B sponsor. Even if you are back in your home country, you can file for the remaining period on your H-1B, and do not have to go back on the lottery again. Please see December 05, 2006 memo by Michael Aytes, Acting Director of USCIS.
By filing for a conversion to the B visa, or by leaving the US, you actually stop the running of the clock on your H-1B and preserve the remaining time. So when the economy picks up again, and trust me, it will; you do not have to enter the H-1B lottery again, and simply convert or come over on the H-1B visa.
However be careful, B visitor’s visa is NOT indefinite, and after about 6 months on the B visa, if you are still unable to find a job, you need to leave the US. You cannot accrue illegal presence. Also the visitor’s visa adjudication at the CIS is in a mess. They may not adjudicate the application until 7-8 months, at which time they may deny it because it has already been 6 months. However, if you intend to stay for a little longer to take care of your financial affairs, (let the kids finish the school year) that’s the best option you have.
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details