As of recent times, more than one hundred thousand employees that work in the technology field have been laid off this past year. Among this large number are thousands of immigrants who are present in the United States under an H1-B visa. An H1-B visa program enables businesses and other employers in the U.S. to hire temporary foreign employees for jobs that call for the application of both theory and practice of a body of extremely specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the relevant field, or its equivalent.
Getting laid off as an H1-B visa holder can cause an uneasy time for these individuals as they have a deadline of sixty days to locate another H-1B position and employer after their final day of employment. In addition, within those sixty days they must also submit a petition to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If they are unable to find a new employer willing to attest for them, they are required to leave the country.
Small companies may offer the best opportunities for laid-off H-1B workers to remain in the United States because most major tech corporations are the ones undertaking the layoffs. In fact, given that many of the fired H-1B workers have previously worked at titans like Amazon, Microsoft, and Twitter, this might be a win-win situation for both startup businesses and the fired workers. In this scenario, small businesses will be able to attract top industry expertise that would otherwise be out of their price range, and in return this will allow H-1B workers the opportunity to maintain their H-1B visa and stay in the United States.