A work visa allows you to enter the United States temporarily. You may even be able to bring your spouse and your minor children with you. Employment-based visas are a popular and effective means of entering the United States, but they have many limitations.
A worker who has lived in the United States for years and been a diligent employee could be quite vulnerable if their employer goes through a rough financial time. Companies trying to balance the budget may need to lay off some of their workers during slow times.
Does a layoff impact your work-based visa?
Losing your job can affect your right to stay in the country
When you apply for an employment-based visa, you obtain eligibility to enter the country based on that specific job. While you likely have marketable skills and the opportunity to find other work, the employer hiring you would need to apply for their own work visa.
You will typically only have up to 60 days from when you lose your job to find and start another position. Those officially terminated from their position may not be able to avoid the immigration consequences of losing their job. Those temporarily laid off may be able to stay in the country, especially if their employer plans to put them back to work quickly.
However, you have to remain gainfully employed and receiving a paycheck to comply with the terms of your work visa. If you go long enough to miss paychecks or the layoff turns to a termination, your right to stay in the United States might end.
Personal stability is a reason people look at other immigration programs
Knowing that you could lose your job and therefore your visa at any moment through no fault of your own is frightening. Once you have entered the United States and maintained your employment for an appropriate amount of time, you might qualify to get a green card, which will protect your right to stay in the country even if there are issues with your employment in the future.
Learning about the benefits and limitations of work visas can help you better protect yourself and your family as an immigrant worker.