Recently, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about changing work conditions or terminations among people with visas that are sponsored by a specific employer. This can put you out of status, and you should take action as soon as possible to file an extension or change of status.
The most common visa types we handle that are tied to specific employers include:
This message is meant to apply generally to those types, but it may apply to other visas, as well. If you have a visa type not mentioned here, call Yew Immigration Law Group to discuss your situation in detail.
Can I work from home on my current visa? Maybe not.
There’s a chance that working from home during the coronavirus pandemic could threaten your visa status. If you have a H-1B, E-1/E-2, O-1, P-1, L-1 or TN visa, your visa was petitioned for by a specific employer. Therefore, your work authorization is restricted to that employer. In some cases, your employment authorization is further restricted to a specific position.
In the case of H-1B workers, your work authorization is for a specific work location — and changing it could put you out of status.
For example, your H-1B visa may have been granted only as long as you work as a software engineer for Apple in Cupertino, California. Now, however, you’re doing your job from your home in Oakland. Your work location has therefore changed, and this could put your visa status at risk.
We may need to file a new petition and labor condition application to inform the USCIS and the Department of Labor of your changed conditions.
Employers: Check with an immigration attorney before changing the working conditions of your immigrant employees. An immigration lawyer can help you understand your options considering your employee’s visa type.
My employer had to lay me off. What should I do?
If your visa is sponsored by a specific employer and, due to revenue losses caused by the pandemic, your employer has to terminate you, you could be out of status. You have a grace period of between 30 and 60 days to file an extension or change your status, assuming you are eligible for a new status. If you cannot change your status or obtain an extension, you will need to depart the country as soon as possible or risk restrictions on further travel to the U.S.
Contact Yew Immigration Law Group to discuss your options. We know that returning to your home country may not be possible at the moment, but you don’t want to risk being out of status.