Twitter’s mass layoffs had put a lot of pressure on workers who worked as foreigners in the United States, especially for the H-1B visa holders, according to a report in Forbes. By existing standards, they now have a 60-day deadline and their immigration status is threatened. Finding new jobs for these laid-off workers, who are in the country while holding an H-1B, is extremely important to maintain their immigration status, the outlet said.
H-1B visas are non-immigrant visas that allow foreign workers in specialized occupations to stay and work in the US for a limited time. To qualify for such a visa, a foreign worker must be sponsored by an employer in the United States. Interestingly, Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, also arrived in the US on an H-1B visa to work years ago, the Forbes report said.
The outlet said there are about 625 to 670 Twitter employees in H-1B status, or about 8 percent of the company’s 7,500 employees, based on a National Foundation for American Policy analysis of US Citizenship and Immigration data. Services (USCIS). With the massive layoffs on the microblogging platform, it is not clear how many foreigners have been laid off.
Also read: Restart and then blank screen: How Twitter employees found out they were fired
What it means for employees:
Foreigners in the United States work under H-1B, L-1 or O-1 visas. All of these come with a different set of rules. It should be noted that the USCIS Regulation of the Year 2017 gives H-1B visa holders a “grace period” of 60 days after termination.
Kevin Miner, a Fragomen partner, told Forbes, “Once employment is terminated, an H-1B visa holder enters a 60-day grace period during which he or she must leave the U.S., seek a change of status, or find another employer. file an H-1B petition or other immigration request on their behalf,”
He added that if the above is not done, the person will be seen as violating their immigration status. Mr Miner went on to say, “H-1B employees benefit from being already counted toward the annual H-1B quota, so it’s a little easier for another employer to sponsor them. Employees with different immigration status, like an L-1 intracompany transfer visa, often have a harder time dealing with their immigration situation than someone with H-1B status because it is slightly easier for another employer to petition for them in a short amount of time. “
What it means for employers:
Employers are required to notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Departments whenever there is a “material change” in the terms and conditions of an approved H-1B petition, such as when an H-1B employee’s employment has been terminated .
According to the official US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, “Your employer is liable for the reasonable cost of your round-trip transportation if your employer terminates your employment before the end of your permitted term of stay. Your employer is not responsible for the cost of your round-trip transportation if you voluntarily resign from your position.”
It adds that the employer will pay the H-1B employee a salary no less than the salary paid to employees with similar qualifications.
Mr Miner said in an interview with Forbes: “It is especially important for employers to ensure that these requirements are met, as they could be subject to significant fines and backlogs if not done correctly. In addition, terminations that arising out of a layoff can sometimes leave a fired employee dissatisfied with their former employer and thus more likely to file a complaint with the government regarding immigration compliance.
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