WASHINGTON: In a welcome move, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that individuals travelling to the US on business and tourist visas can now apply for new jobs and attend...
WASHINGTON: In a welcome move, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that individuals travelling to the US on business and tourist visas can now apply for new jobs and attend interviews. However, there is a catch!
USCIS, in its statement clearly mentions that even though you can sit for an interview, you can’t work in the country if you are on a tourist or business visa.
B-1 and B-2 visas are the most commonly issued visas for a range of purposes in the United States. The B-1 visa is issued mainly for short-term business trips, while the B-2 visa is issued for tourism purposes.
The USCIS move comes as thousands of highly skilled foreign-born workers, including Indians, have lost their jobs due to recent layoffs at companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.
These workers are now struggling to find new employment within the stipulated 60-day period under their work visas following the termination of their employment to stay in the country.
Under these circumstances, many of them have changed their visa status to tourist visas or student visas etc. to stay in the country. And, they wondered whether it would be possible to apply for jobs while on a tourist visa.
Answering this, USCIS clarified searching for employment and interviewing for a position are permissible B-1 or B-2 activities. However, there are a few things that one should follow.
B-1 or B-2 visa holders cannot work in the domestic labor market while in B-1 status or engage in any employment while in B-2 status.
Approval of a petition and change of status from B-1 or B-2 to an employment-authorized status is necessary before starting any new employment in the United States. The new status must take effect before beginning work.
If a change of status request is rejected or the individual’s new employment requires notification at a consulate or port of entry, they must leave the US and re-enter in a valid employment-authorized status before starting their new job. Amidst massive layoffs in the American tech sector, two Indian-American organizations launched an online petition last month, urging US President Joe Biden to extend the grace period of H-1B visas holders from two months to a year. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise.