H-1B visa holders in the United States are expecting massive lay-offs in the coming days as the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse with every passing day. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard the economies around the world and the US, with over 1.6 lakh reported cases, is expected to be significantly impacted by it. The fear of job loss has forced the non-immigrant workers to start a petition to the White House to extend the grace period to 180 days from the existing 60 days in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
H1-B visa allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. However, the current H-1B visa rules require such professionals, along with their family members, to leave the United States within 60 days of job loss.
With strict stay-at-home guidelines and businesses closed, foreign technology professionals working on H-1B visas are fearing massive lay-offs in the aftermath of the pandemic. So the foreign professionals working on such temporary visa have now demanded the Trump administration to extend the permissible post-job loss limit to stay in the US to 180 days.
“Most H1B workers are from India and can not travel home with children who are U.S Citizens as many nations announced an entry ban, including India,” read the petition.
“We request the government to temporarily extend the 60-Day grace period to 180 days and protect the H1B workers under these difficult times. Thank you!” it added.
The non-immigrant temporary visa for foreign professional mainly caters to the IT industry with high tax contribution but H1-B visa holders are not eligible for unemployment benefits. They are considered for social security benefits even though there is a provision of deductions from their salary for this purpose.
The petition to the White House was started on March 19 and it requires a minimum of 100,000 signatures by April 18 to get a response from the White House. Around 3.3 million Americans have already filed for unemployment claims for the week ending March 21 and are expected to increase with no sight of relief from coronavirus.
(Image Credit: Twitter / @IndianEmbassyUS)