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Experts: Relief for Laid-Off H-1Bs May Take Time

March 16, 2023 (1 min read)

Shilpa Phadnis, TNN, Mar. 16, 2023

"Amid mass layoffs in the US, the presidential advisory panel has recommended extending the grace period for laid-off H1B workers from 60 to 180 days that could come as a reprieve for many affected employees. In the past six months, many laid-off H-1B employees have taken to social media to highlight their plight of finding another job within the 60-day grace period. Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of Immigration Law Practice, Cornell Law School, said it’s the first step in a long process. “First, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services is not required to follow that recommendation. Moreover, even if the USCIS were to extend the grace period, it might have to go through the normal rulemaking process to do that. That could take months. Also, if the USCIS extends the grace period, expect a lawsuit by US workers challenging the change as beyond the immigration agency’s authority. Finally, a grace period extension wouldn’t apply retroactively to help H-1B workers already laid off. In sum, laid-off H-1B workers should not get their hopes up yet.” Cyrus D Mehta, managing partner of New York-based law firm Cyrus D Mehta & Partners, called the recommendation “good news” and said the extended period would not come into effect immediately. “The actual regulation at 8 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) needs to be amended, which is a process, since the administration must allow for notice and comment to the public before changing a rule.”