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.
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My coworker and I both got fired from Big Tech last week, and it’s the kick we need to get all in on our startup.
We are both first-time founders, but my co-founder needs an immigration sponsor to maintain his status in our startup.
Do we consider the O-1A within the 60-day grace period? thank you!
– Newby in Newark
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and we have more big tech (and startup) coming up. We have many educational resources on what to do if you’ve been fired and need a nonimmigrant visa sponsorship or green card. As discussed in last week’s article, there are ways that deported immigrants need more time to make their next move in the US.
Apparently about 25% of tech workers start their own companies, but I’m sure the number is historically low for internationals because the US immigration system can feel the weight of the ball and chain.
However, there are many ways you and your co-founder can successfully navigate downsizing, grace periods, and sponsorships at your new startup. Here’s how:
Deadlines and routes
The 60-day grace period is discretionary. Although some laid-off individuals may continue to receive wages for several months, we strongly recommend that the grace period begin on the date of termination. Many of the layoffs are public and WARN Act notices have been filed, so the Department of Homeland Security is on notice.
That said, if you need more time to prepare things properly to allow for your new startup and sponsor your co-founder’s immigration, your co-founder can apply to change to B visitor status. As a B-1 business visitor, your co-founder can participate in legal activities such as business formation and fundraising meetings and request an additional 6 months beyond the 60-day grace period. This application process can run parallel to immigration sponsorship by a new company.
Sometimes, you may be eligible to sponsor a co-founder for an H-1B transfer to work on your startup if you meet the requirements. In addition, many individuals use the runway provided by the 6-month B-1 status to qualify for an O-1A visa for exceptional skills. O-1 status is available to many professionals, including founders, who can demonstrate excellence in their field.
The O-1A is especially useful for startup founders, as it can be agent-sponsored for service travel, including mentoring other startups for equity, being a venture scout for a VC firm, and getting paid as a contractor for speaking engagements. in your farm. Founders born in India or China are subject to the Green Card Registry for Individuals, and the O-1A can be a big step toward becoming eligible and self-supporting for a faster EB-1A green card path.
For H-1B, TN, E-3 change of employer or change of employment status to O-1A, you should know how important it is for your company to successfully sponsor your co-founder and other visa employees. And green cards are attracting money from investors.