The US has announced that anybody entering the nation on a B-1 or B-2 business or tourist visa can apply for new employment and even attend interviews, but they must make sure to change their visa status before beginning a new position.
The most prevalent forms of visas given in the United States for a variety of purposes are B-1 and B-2 visas, also known as “B visas.” The B-1 visa is typically issued for brief business trips, but the B-2 visa is typically issued for travel for leisure.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated in a letter in a series of tweets on Wednesday that nonimmigrant workers who are laid off may not be aware of their alternatives and may, in some cases, mistakenly believe they have no choice but to depart the country within 60 days.
A number of recent layoffs at companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon resulted in the loss of employment for thousands of highly qualified foreign-born workers in the US, including Indians.
Following the termination of their jobs to remain in the country, they are now battling to find new employment within the 60-day window allowed by their work visas.
The day following termination of employment, which is often calculated based on the final day on which a salary or wage is paid, is when the maximum 60-day grace period begins.
If eligible, a nonimmigrant worker who has had their employment terminated, whether willingly or involuntarily, may take one of the various options to continue to be in the country for an authorised period of time.
Examples include making an application for a “compelling circumstances” employment authorisation document, applying for adjustment of status, making a change of nonimmigrant status application, or being the recipient of a nonfrivolous petition to change employers.
The USCIS stated that even if a nonimmigrant loses their previous nonimmigrant status, their period of authorised stay in the country may exceed 60 days if one of these events takes place during the up to 60-day grace period.
If the worker takes no action within the grace period, they and their dependents may then need to quit the United States within 60 days, or when their allowed validity term ends, whichever is shorter, it said.
“Many people have asked if they can look for a new job while in B-1 or B-2 status. The answer is, yes. Searching for employment and interviewing for a position are permissible B-1 or B-2 activities,” as stated by the USCIS in a string of tweets.
The USCIS further stated that a petition and request for a change of status from B-1 or B-2 to an employment-authorized status must be approved, and the new status must take effect before beginning any new work.
The USCIS stated, “Alternatively if the change of status request is denied or the petition for new employment requested consular or port of entry notification, the individual must depart the US and be admitted in an employment-authorised classification before beginning the new employment.”
Two Indian-American organisations started an online petition last month requesting US President Joe Biden to increase the grace period for H-1B visa holders from two months to a year amid widespread layoffs in the US tech sector that have left many Indian professionals without jobs.
This means that after being fired from a job, a foreign tech worker on an H-1B visa would have one year instead of the current 60 days to find new employment before having to leave the country.
A non-immigrant visa called the H-1B allows US businesses to hire foreign nationals for specialised jobs that need theoretical or technical expertise. Tens of thousands of workers each year from nations like China and India are hired by technology companies because of that.