Green Card Approvals and the Delays
If your job is in the tech industry, the latest round of layoffs is no surprise to you. As thousands of workers struggle to find employment in a market saturated with applicants, H-1B holders worry about more than their paycheck. If they can’t find a sponsor or enter the active green card system, they’ll be forced to return to their home countries sooner than planned.
Even those who have kept their jobs are eyeing their visa expiration date with apprehension. Getting an extension or approval for green card processing was already a long process. Now, due to the delays caused by so many layoffs, many visas will expire before the holder can obtain a new validity period.
Companies like Google are putting PERM applications (labor certifications) on hold until they receive the green light that they are following Department of Labor regulations. Current applications pending remain active, but no new applications will be filed. This is a roadblock for any H-1B holders wishing to obtain a green card or extend their stay past the standard six-year limit.
The pause means those individuals will need to find new employers willing to sponsor their green card or extended visa, and they have a very short time to get this challenge completed.
Why the I-140 Delay Matters
Completing and submitting Form I-140 is the next step for employers of visa holders wishing to extend their stay in the US. The form is reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security, and if it’s approved, the visa holder’s status is extended by one year for immigrant worker petitions or PERM applications. But this form is only filed after the PERM application is submitted to the Department of Labor.
The PERM application certifies that hiring or retaining a foreign worker won’t displace any Americans from their jobs. The problem is that employers must certify that no US workers were capable of filling the vacant position or laid off to allow the foreign worker a job. With so many layoffs occurring, it’s not surprising that companies are taking a hiatus from agreeing to this statement until the fallout settles.
If a company files a PERM during this layoff period, they leave itself open to lawsuits from American citizens citing discrimination. Instead of worrying about this concern, many tech giants and mid-size companies are choosing to pause completing the PERM applications for current workers. When the layoff cycle settles, anyone who qualifies for the extended stay may have their PERM applications processed.
What to Do While You Wait
It’s nice to know that there’s an end in sight, but time isn’t on the side of many visa holders facing an expiration date on their documents. If that’s where you find yourself currently, consider talking to your immigration lawyer about your options.
Right now, you’re under an H-1B visa, but that’s not the only work visa available. H-4 dependent visas if your spouse holds an H-1B is an option, as well. Your lawyer can help you understand which types of visas you may qualify for and get the paperwork started. The pause on your PERM certification or your layoff does not have to mean you must return to your country.
Facing layoffs or a visa expiration date are things no one wants to deal with alone, and you don’t have to. Visa2US is here 24/7 to answer your questions, calm your concerns, and guide you through this transition period.
At Visa2US, our legal experts understand immigration rules and regulations. You may qualify for visas you don’t know about or avenues to find employers to sponsor you. Let us make this layoff period less stressful for you and your family. Contact Visa2US today.