Amid ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has decided to extend the stay of the non-immigrants beyond the authorised period. Operational under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the agency announced that the H-1B visa holders can file an application for extension of stay or change in status, as per media reports. The application forms and petitions are available online.
Moreover, the USCIS has reportedly granted flexibility on temporary worker visas for late applications. It has also issued the revised guidelines for entrants under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that previously required departure of overseas workers in case of unemployment after the expiration of authorised 60 days validity period. The H-1B visa holders can now extend the legal stay for at least 30 days in the United States, according to reports.
"Where applicable, employment authorisation with the same employer, subject to the same terms and conditions of the prior approval, is automatically extended for up to 240 days after I-94 expiration when an extension of stay request is filed on time," said the DHS as per reports.
Earlier, a petition to the White House was filed by the foreign labour workforce in an appeal to President Donald Trump to protract their legal stay duration in the US. Mounting fears among H-1B visa holders loomed amid massive lay-offs speculation due to the coronavirus pandemic that hit the US economy hard.
Over 1,985,135 people have been infected worldwide with the novel coronavirus COVID-19, out of which, the US accounts for 605,354 cases with a death toll of 25,394.
Earlier, Trump thanked India for the supply of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to the US, deemed as a 'game-changer" in the fight against the deadly coronavirus. He said that India's help in the extraordinary times "will not be forgotten". Anticipating that the drug will work, given initial positive results, the US administration has bought more than 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine for the potential treatment of COVID-19, as per the media reports.