How can I keep within the US if I’ve been laid off? • TechCrunch

Right here’s one other version of “Pricey Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at know-how firms.

“Your questions are important to the unfold of data that enables individuals all around the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether or not you’re in individuals ops, a founder or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d like to answer your questions in my subsequent column.”

TechCrunch+ members obtain entry to weekly “Pricey Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Pricey Sophie,

I used to be laid off and I’m on an H-1B. I’ve sufficient financial savings to outlive for some time. What ought to I do if I’ve been let go from my job? I’m on an H-1B, have an accredited I-140 and an I-797 that expires in March 2024.

If I’ve to depart the U.S., can my present I-797 be transferred to my subsequent employer? Are there any points I ought to concentrate on?

— Upended & Unemployed

Pricey Upended,

I’m so sorry to listen to you’ve been laid off and for the stress this has little question added to your life! Your questions are high of thoughts in mild of the hundreds of others being laid off from Twitter, Fb, Stripe, Brex, Lyft and different tech firms.

I understand this may be an extremely hectic time. It’s my private life mission to assist immigrants have peace of thoughts, together with with the ability to keep in the USA, maintain their households protected and construct their goals of constructing the world a greater place. I’m so comfortable to have the chance to share my recommendation by means of this column!

The excellent news is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Companies (USCIS) permits a 60-day grace interval to stay within the U.S. in case you lose your job whereas on an E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1 or TN visa. And we are able to flip your 60-day grace interval into a complete of eight months of immigration runway — it’s doable to increase your time within the U.S. past 60 days by submitting a change of standing from H-1B to a different class corresponding to a customer, scholar or dependent partner.

When people who want visa sponsorship get laid off, we regularly hear their highest precedence is to keep up their capacity to remain in the USA past the 60-day grace interval, particularly in the event that they personal a house, have a partner or have dependent youngsters at school. Typically individuals ask me what they should do if they’ll’t get a job that gives visa sponsorship throughout the 60-day grace interval or how they’ll lastly observe their coronary heart to discover their very own startup concepts.

Listed below are my suggestions for keep in the USA, in addition to choices and alternatives it’s best to have in mind.

To work for an additional firm, begin interviewing NOW!

Sadly, you can’t switch your present I-797 to your subsequent employer. Nevertheless, you may transfer your H-1B to your new employer following the H-1B utility course of. If you’re accredited, you’ll obtain a brand new I-797.

Put your whole efforts into discovering one other job. Get as many interviews as you may. Attain out to everybody in your community — buddies, household, former colleagues, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances. Make the most of social media and attend networking occasions. Additionally, check out the place enterprise capital is flowing as of late; firms which might be receiving Sequence A funding or above are seemingly hiring.

At a job interview, be direct about your have to switch your H-1B to a brand new employer. If the corporate shouldn’t be keen to sponsor you, transfer on. Ideally, it’s best to settle for a job provide not more than 45 days into your 60-day grace interval except you could have utilized for an additional fallback standing as a result of it will probably take a number of weeks to arrange and file the H-1B switch.

Moreover, in case you qualify for an O-1A extraordinary ability visa, you could possibly contemplate using an agent to file an O-1A petition in your behalf, which might make your visa impartial of any specific employer. This provides you each redundancy as a result of you may change or add paid jobs in the USA with out amending the petition each time, usually, so long as you’re persevering with to work in your subject.

To work to your personal startup, begin NOW!

If you wish to create your personal tech enterprise, discover somebody you may work with to be your co-founder. Discover out in case you qualify for an O-1A ASAP or decide if you wish to arrange your startup to be suitable with an H-1B switch. Speak with each an immigration lawyer and a company lawyer to plan one of the best construction to your startup and decide an immigration technique to your startup to sponsor you for a visa.

For many individuals, in the event that they qualify, I counsel that your startup sponsor you for an O-1A, which provides extra flexibility and freedom than an H-1B switch. Many people on an H-1B visa in Silicon Valley and past are stunned once we inform them they already qualify for an O-1A. The additional benefit of the O-1A is that it serves as a stepping stone to qualify for the EB-1A extraordinary capacity inexperienced card, which is at the moment out there.

Devise a backup plan

Have a backup plan and work with an immigration lawyer to evaluate your choices. You possibly can switch your H-1B, develop into an H-4 dependent visa holder in case your partner has an H-1B or change your standing to an O-1A visa.

Since you could have an accredited I-140 inexperienced card petition, there are numerous alternatives to each protect your inexperienced card course of and likewise switch it to a different firm or formulate it as a self-petition so you’re now not depending on any specific firm to your inexperienced card and everlasting residence within the U.S.

The excellent news is that you’ll retain your inexperienced card precedence date and it may be used on one other EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 I-140 petition! Your precedence date is the date that both:

  • a PERM utility to the U.S. Division of Labor for an EB-2 superior diploma, an distinctive capacity inexperienced card, or an EB-3 expert employee inexperienced card was submitted to USCIS.
  • or Kind I-140 inexperienced card utility was submitted to USCIS.

Meaning in case you self-petition for a inexperienced card or in case your new employer agrees to sponsor you for a inexperienced card, you’ll retain your home within the inexperienced card line — and never should go to the again of the road. Should you had been born in India or China, and your I-140 utility was for an EB-2, EB-2 NIW (Nationwide Curiosity Waiver), or EB-3 inexperienced card, ask your immigration lawyer to evaluate whether or not you’d be a candidate for an EB-1A inexperienced card, which is at the moment out there no matter nation of beginning.

Begin gathering paperwork

Whilst you’re ready for job interviews and job provides, be sure you assemble all of the paperwork you have to to offer to your new employer to your H-1B switch. This contains:

  • A replica of your present visa and varieties I-797 and I-94.
  • Your resume.
  • Pay stubs out of your earlier employer.
  • Letter of advice.
  • College diploma and transcript.
  • Educational analysis.

Should you’re planning on pursuing an O-1A, begin gathering letters of advice and proof that you simply meet at the least three of the eight O-1A necessities, corresponding to:

  • Nationally or internationally acknowledged awards you could have acquired.
  • Proof you’re employed in a vital capability for a company with a distinguished popularity.
  • Articles written about you or your organization.
  • Proof you judged a hackathon or different competitors.
  • Proof you command a excessive wage.

Try this Dear Sophie column during which I speak about every O-1 criterion in additional element.

H-1B switch when you discover a job

Whether or not you’re working for your self or for an additional firm, be sure you maintain observe of your timing: A Form I-129 H-1B utility or O-1A utility will have to be submitted to USCIS on or earlier than the sixtieth day because you had been laid off.

Should you’re working for a brand new firm, ask your new employer to provoke the Labor Situation Software (LCA) course of ASAP. Submitting an LCA to the U.S. Division of Labor for approval is step one in getting your H-1B transferred. The Labor Division normally takes seven to 10 days to course of an LCA. The accredited LCA will have to be included with the H-1B petition that your new employer will undergo USCIS in your behalf.

Your new employer can request premium processing for an H-1B utility, which implies USCIS will both concern a request for proof or decide in your case inside 15 days. Premium processing can also be out there for O-1A purposes.

You may start working to your new employer as quickly as USCIS receives your H-1B or O-1A utility and points a Kind I-797 receipt discover. So long as the I-129 for both the H-1B or O-1A is filed on or earlier than the sixtieth day of your grace interval, you’re allowed to stay within the U.S. whereas ready for USCIS to decide. Meaning your keep will lengthen previous the 60-day grace interval!

All my greatest,


Have a query for Sophie? Ask it here. We reserve the precise to edit your submission for readability and/or house.

The knowledge supplied in “Pricey Sophie” is basic data and never authorized recommendation. For extra data on the constraints of “Pricey Sophie,” please view our full disclaimer. “Pricey Sophie” is a federally registered trademark. You may contact Sophie immediately at Alcorn Immigration Law.

Sophie’s podcast, Immigration Law for Tech Startups, is on the market on all main platforms. Should you’d prefer to be a visitor, she’s accepting purposes!

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