How can I keep my H-1B and green card if I am fired? • TechCrunch


Here is another version “Dear Sophie,” an advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are critical to spreading the knowledge that allows people around the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” said Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. Whether you’re in People Ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in the next column.

TechCrunch+ members receive weekly access to the “Dear Sophie” columns; Use ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription at 50% off.


Dear Sophie,

I am thinking of leaving my current permanent job for a big name in technology. I’m excited, but scared.

I’m hearing you can lose your H-1B status if you get fired. Is there a way to protect my immigration status while I am doing a bold job?

– Leap of faith

Dear Jump,

with Such tweets If you are an immigrant working in the US on H-1B, it’s time to consider a “Plan B”! The good news is that you can connect your status to an H-1B at the same time to protect yourself from layoffs.

Before moving to the new company, it is important to outline your personal immigration system in the following circumstances:

  • What is my current status in the US and when does it expire?
  • Which valid visas do I have in my passport, and when do they expire?
  • What are my requirements for international travel: Can I stay in the US for now while the consulates are still behind?
  • Where am I in the green card process: do I need PERM and is it on hold? Is the I-140 filed? I have a priority date, and what is it? What dates do I apply for I-485?
Immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn with the TechCrunch logo in the background.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

Many of these are legal questions that require important documents that you must gather as evidence of your status, rights and benefits. You may also need to consult an immigration attorney independent of your company to understand your rights and options.

If you move to a new company, consider getting a “joint H-1B” at the second company. I often talk about H-1Bs tied to getting an H-1B if you’re not selected in the annual lottery, but this concept has other applications as well.

One option is to get a second part-time job offer to work for another company. If you want to do this, consider consulting an employment attorney to make sure you’re not breaking any promises you made by accepting the promise or signing a confidentiality agreement with your original H-1B employer. Some companies have rules and committees that determine whether current employees are allowed to attend startups on the side.





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