Biden’s DHS promotes ways for visa holders to stay in US after losing work amid major layoffs

May 15, 2024 | Politics | 0 comments

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is reminding some visa holders that there are options for staying in the country after getting laid off or fired.

“When H-1B or other noncitizen workers are laid off, they may not be aware of their options and may wrongly assume that they have no choice but to leave the country within 60 days,” USCIS said on X Tuesday, along with a link to the guidance.

The guidelines, which were updated last month, offer several options to individuals on work visas who have lost their jobs “either voluntarily or involuntarily,” including filing an application for a change of nonimmigrant status, adjustment of status or a “compelling circumstances” employment authorization document. The guidelines also note that an individual can extend their stay if they are the beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employers.


“If one of these actions occurs within the up to 60-day grace period, the nonimmigrant’s period of authorized stay in the United States can exceed 60 days, even if they lose their previous nonimmigrant status,” the guidelines read. “If the worker takes no action within the grace period, they and their dependents may then need to depart the United States within 60 days, or when their authorized validity period ends, whichever is shorter.”

The Biden administration in October proposed reforms to the H-1B visa program, which has become controversial over the years over claims that it is abused by tech companies to undercut more expensive American workers.

However, the new rules laid out by the Department of Homeland Security were designed to streamline the process and provide more flexibility for both employers and workers. The new rules, which became official in January, also sought to combat fraud and abuse of the H-1B process.

“We’re always looking for ways to bolster integrity and curtail the potential for fraud while improving and streamlining our application processes,” USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou said in a statement at the time.


The USCIS post comes amid a flurry of layoffs by some of the country’s largest employers, with Walmart announcing on Tuesday layoffs that will affect several hundred jobs at its campus offices, The Associated Press reported.

“While the overall numbers are small in percentage, we are focused on supporting each of our associates affected by these changes,” Walmart Chief People Officer Donna Morris said of the layoffs in an internal memo obtained by FOX Business, adding that employees impacted by the change had already been informed and that the company will “work closely with them in the coming days and months to navigate the best path forward.”

Walmart’s move followed similar announcements by Google, Tesla and Microsoft, according to Business Insider, with Tesla announcing a 10% cut to its workforce in April. Google cut about 12,000 jobs last year, with the report noting that those cuts have continued into 2024.

FOX Business reported last year that Google and Microsoft are among the companies with the most approved H-1B petitions, with most of the visas going to workers from India and China. Amazon and IBM were among the other top companies to use the program, with Amazon having the most approved petitions of any company.

The White House and USCIS did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reminded users of the H-1B visa that they have options to remain in the country if they are laid off or fired from their job.[#item_full_content]

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