Due to the coronavirus pandemic, US businesses across the US are facing challenges in paying salaried employees in light of business revenue slowing down and employers are forced to make tough decisions including reducing workers’ hours or laying off workers. Companies that hire highly skilled foreign workers are at more difficult times since termination of employees would require the foreign worker to try and maintain legal status and there are limited to no options of rehire in the current economic situation.
Under the H-1B program in the United States, a labor certification application (LCA) needs to be approved from the Labor Department, and there are strict regulations related to wages of H1-B workers. The past week that ended on March 21, saw a surge of unemployment cases with over 3.2 million applying for the same.
We at Emandi Law Firm advise clients in situations where hours are reduced to file amended H-1B petitions in order to ensure the employee maintains H-1B legal status. At the time of filing the amendment H-1B petition for reduced hours, the employer may specify a range of hours from minimum to greater and then later on, as the economy recovers, the employer can file and amend the case for a full-time workweek.
As per the current H1-B visa rules, If H-1B workers are terminated, the workers are allotted a 60-day grace period to remain in the country until they leave or they find another employer or change to another visa status. In situations like this, H1-B workers have to resort to other means such as change of status, or in order to continue to maintain status, the worker may return to a university by pursuing a higher degree or a baccalaureate in a different field.
We have seen that many non immigrant workers in the U.S. on H-1B, L, and TN visas may have expiration dates during the year, and must file for extensions of the work visa. However, particularly for workers in the technology field, there seems to be greater job security as they have the ability to work remotely and from home.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has responded by helped employers and applicants with flexibility in responding to queries on cases due to the impact of the pandemic on the ability of applicants and law firms to respond to such requests for evidence. The agency has granted employers and applicants an additional 60 days to respond to requests for evidence and notices of intent to deny on visa petitions, as well as relaxed original-signature requirements on visa petitions to help attorneys and clients who work remotely in compliance with the policies of social distancing or shelter in place.
Related Blogs: https://emandilaw.com/immigration-update-april15/