Most work-based visas and green cards are tied to a particular job with a particular employer. Many times losing your job, or even being benched without pay for lack of a project, results in a lapse or violation of immigration status. Yet, there is often a solution if you wish to remain in the US, especially if you can find a new employer willing to assist with the immigration process. We have helped many clients in this situation file new visa petitions, transfer their pending green card cases, or otherwise change their status.
3 things you should do if you are sponsored by your employer and lose your job:
Immediately consult with an experienced immigration attorney, who does not represent the employer who sponsored you. Even if you had contact with the attorney who prepared your case, they also represent the employer. Thus, information you share with that attorney is not confidential. Also, the prior attorney may have a conflict of interest if they assist you now. Take all of your documents and questions to an immigration attorney experienced with employment based immigration, as well as other areas of immigration law so they can assess all of your options carefully.
Leave on good terms. If you do so, your sponsoring employer may agree to extend your termination date to give you time to file a new petition. Alternatively, they might agree to hold off on withdrawing any green card related filings while you get things in order. Moreover, employers are more likely to share copies of documents filed with immigration to assist with your new green card filing if you don’t burn any bridges.
Act quickly and watch the calendar. US Citizenship & Immigration Services has the discretion to forgive a lapse in status when you lose your job and file a new temporary worker petition (e.g. H-1B), but they are only inclined to do so when there is a short gap. Further, if you accumulate 180 days or more of unlawful presence in the US you could face a three or ten year prohibition on further visas or a green card.
Get Green Card And Work Visa Help!
At Antonini and Cohen Immigration Law Group, we understand the complicated issues that surround maintaining your immigration status and your green card if you lose your job. Please contact us so our attorneys can assess your circumstances. We are happy to advise you regarding maintaining your immigration status and green card filings, despite loss of a job with your sponsoring employer.