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October 4, 2023


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Tech layoffs: 10 tips for H1-B visa holders to prevent deportation from the US

3 min read

Employees of big technology companies have been hard by mass layoffs as the firms are looking at cost-cutting measures amid inflation and a decline in revenues. While layoffs have been hard on everyone, the biggest victim of it has been the H1-B visa holders, working in the US. Around 5-15% of the total laid offs employees are H1-B visa holders. These people only have 60 days to find a new job, or else they will be deported from the US.

According to Deebarghya Das, founder engineer at Glean, the immigrants who have been staying in the US for more than 10 years have been told, “We don’t need you anymore. Leave”.

Further Das, the Founder engineer at Glean shared 10 tips for the laid-off H1-B visa holders that how they can prevent their deportation:

1. Interview immediately, and widely. Look at Startups on AngelList. Reach out to smaller firms in writing or your recruiter and explain your timeline.

2. Remember, your new company will have to file an LCA (7-10 days) and an H-1B. Make sure it’s premium processing so you hear back in 15 days. The I-129 petition has to get in before day 60!

3. If you don’t find a job, worst case you’ll have to leave. Don’t panic. It’s not hard to get hired back in the US (you don’t have to do the lottery again). Your new H-1B will have to be “consular processing” which takes more time for visa interviews etc but there’s a way, Das wrote on Twitter.

4. Consider applying for O-1 for “extraordinary ability”. A good lawyer can tell you if you’re eligible, and you might be. This isn’t tied to an employer. Premium processing is available.

5. Unlikely, but try to negotiate with your employer for less severance pay and more employment time. If you can stay employed until the end of the year, your odds are much higher. The holiday season is a bad time to recruit.

6. Try to become dependent on your spouse to extend your timeline.

7. Consider going back to school on an F-1. There are cheap colleges that allow this.

8. Change to a B1 visitor visa if your employer lets you and extends your time. You’ll need to do an H-1B change of status when you get a job.

9. With an approved I-140 for an EB2 or EB3 GC, you’ll need to file a PERM with the new employer but can retain your old priority date.

10. Go to Canada if you have a PR or visitor visa. You can re-enter the US with an old valid H-1B stamp and a new approved I797

However, Das advised the readers to do research of their own before adhering to the aforementioned tips.

“I am not an immigration lawyer, so please do your own research too before you follow these tips,” he wrote.

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