Working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa can open up many significant opportunities for an individual from another country. However, such workers can also be dealing with a great deal of uncertainty.
One uncertainty such workers can be facing is uncertainty on how long their employer in the U.S. will continue to hire them. This area of concern gives rise to particularly significant issues for H-1B workers, given the particular nature of this type of visa. H-1B visas are work visas for individuals in certain specialty jobs. Under this visa, a person’s immigration status is linked to their job. So, if they lose their job, their ability to remain in the U.S. can be greatly endangered.
Another thing that can leave an H-1B worker feeling quite uncertain about how long they will be in the U.S. is the fact that H-1B visas are nonimmigrant visas. This means they are not for permanent residency in the U.S., but instead are for temporary stays in the country. So, there are time limits to these visas. While H-1B workers can have options to reapply when this time limit is reaching its end, the reapplication process can have its own uncertainties connected to it.
H-1B workers can also encounter uncertainties when it comes to efforts to transition to having a more permanent living situation in the U.S. by applying for a green card. For one, they may be uncertain if they would meet the eligibility requirements for a green card. Also, if they do qualify, they could end up waiting quite a while before they are actually able to get a green card. The wait lists for green cards can be quite long.
Among the challenges uncertainty can pose for foreign nationals working here in the U.S. on an H-1B visa are difficulties when it comes to planning for the future. However, thinking about the future can be important for such workers, particularly when it comes to immigration issues. When trying to come up with a plan for the future in the face of uncertainties, having the right information can be critical. Skilled immigration attorneys can help H-1B workers with having an accurate understanding of their immigration situation and what steps they can take towards their overall immigration goals.
Source: Marketplace, “What it’s like to live and work in H-1B visa limbo,” Sally Herships, March 22, 2017