Indian H1B Visa Holders Can Apply For Extension; Europe, UK Extends Visa For All
As per reports, earlier this month, the weakening of the US economy may lead to massive layoffs in various sectors due to the economic distress caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The unemployed or fired employees have just 60 days to find a new job or get deported to their home country. A petition was ongoing on the White House website requesting the US Government to extend the 60 day grace period to 180 days.
There is a huge sigh of relief as H-1B and other non-immigrant visa holders, whose visa has either expired or is due to expire, can now apply for an extension.
Read to find out more…
Extension of Visas!
The news comes just days after the Indian government and NASSCOM requested the US Government to extend the validity of the H-1B and other visas held by Indian nationals.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services released a statement on April 13 that said, at the back of the coronavirus crisis, non-immigrants can mitigate immigration consequences such as deportation by applying for an Extension of Stay (EOS) or Change in Status (COS). EOS and COS documents are necessary for non-immigrants to stay in the US.
EOS means extending your existing visa for a time period, whereas COS means changing your visa status. That means changing your visa status from H-1B/H4 to B2 (visitor visa) in cases where you were unable to find employment and yet needed to stay in the country.
Apart from this, where applicable, the 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 (proof of legal entry to the US) when an extension of stay request is filed on time.
In addition the statement said,“The US Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to accept and process applications and petitions, and many of our forms are available for online filing.”
The UK and European Union have also announced an extension of visas for foreign nationals. Both have a significant Indian population.
How does it Affect Techies?
The IT outsourcing industry is the biggest beneficiary of the H-1B visa by far. Many techies are citizens, green card holders and to-be-green card holders. Majority of the H-1B visa holders come from this industry.
The US continues to account for more than 60% of overall revenue for the IT firms. Every year of the 85,000 H-1B visas are issued by the US. Half of them are issued to the Indians, followed by the Chinese.
There are more than 5,00,000 H-1B visa holders in the US and thousands working in the IT industry. Majority of them are in a queue for the Green Card for close to a decade.