Options for Non-Immigrant Workers Who Have Been Laid Off or Terminated
2022 and 2023 has seen a surge in layoffs across the board with economic uncertainly has caused many employers both large and small to reduce their workforce. For those who are in the U.S. in non-immigrant status such as H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, L-1, TN or O-1, being laid off can have consequences beyond having no paycheck.
USCIS has clarified that non-immigrant workers who have been laid off or terminated will have a 60-day grace period to take certain actions. Specifically, if any of the following actions are taken within 60 days of the end of employment, the non-immigrant worker will be considered to remain in authorized, lawful status.
Update: On March 14, 2023, a Presidential Subcommittee voted to increase the 60-day grace period for laid off H-1B workers to 180 days. This has not been finalized yet but check back for updates.
A new employer files a petition to change or transfer non-immigrant status
If you accept a new position and the new company files a timely petition to change or to transfer your status, you may be able to stay beyond the 60-day grace period. For example, you were in H-1B status with Company A and laid off on February 1st. You accept a new position with Company B on February 15th and the new employer files an H-1B petition on your behalf. You can stay beyond 60 days until the new petition is approved so long as the petition was not-frivolous.
You file a petition to change to another non-immigrant status
You are laid off on February 1st. On February 20th, you are accepted and enroll in a SEVIS-approved school. You may file an application to change your status from H-1B to F-1 before April 1st.
You file an application for adjustment of status
You were in H-1B status and laid off on February 1st. You have been in a relationship with a U.S. citizen and decide to get married. If you file an application to adjust your status before April 1st, you may continue to stay in authorized status.