Throughout the past several months, migrant workers on the H-1B visa in the United States suffered layoffs, with several taking to social media or speaking to traditional media outlets to discuss the difficulty caused by the 60-day grace period for workers on the visa to find new employment.
However, members of the US President’s Advisory Commission for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities recently approved a measure that would extend the H-1B visa grace period to 180 days. For the policy to change the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will have to approve the recommendation.
Former Zensar Technologies executive and member of the President’s Advisory Commission for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, Ajay Bhutoria, made the case for extending the grace period and told Indian outlet Business Today the USCIS would likely accept the proposal.
The current 60-day grace period presents numerous hurdles, including finding a new job within a tight timeframe, complex paperwork for transferring H1-B status, and delays in processing at USCIS. As a result, many H1-B workers are forced to leave the country, which could result in a loss of skilled labor for the United States.
Bhutoria added, “The extension would also provide affected employees with more time to navigate the complex and time-consuming process of finding new employment opportunities and transferring their H1-B status.”
According to reports, Bhutoria used a presentation to highlight the challenges H-1B visa holders face when laid off from their jobs — focusing specifically on the difficulties caused by the 60-day grace period currently being enforced. Due to the nature of the tech interview process, which can see candidates undergo multiple rounds of interviews before a selection is made, the 60-day grace period places a lot of stress on workers to onboard into a new position in a timely manner.
With overwhelming data pointing to a labor shortage in key US economic sectors, extending the H-1B visa would keep highly skilled labor from leaving the country and migrating elsewhere for employment. However, there isn’t a timetable for the USCIS to comment on or accept the recommendation request.
As of the writing of this article, there hasn’t been any official word from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the USCIS in relation to the recommendation championed by Bhutoria and the US President’s Advisory Commission for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.
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