H-1B visa: US unemployed receive B1/B2 cushion

US Citizenship and Immigration Services has said that laid-off IT workers can remain in the United States beyond theH-1B time limit of 60 days in order to locate new employment (USCIS).

Before, it was believed that H-1B visa holders had only 60 days to find a new work, have another company file an H-1B petition on their behalf, or depart the United States after losing their job. While this may be true, according to USCIS, they need to switch their H-1B visa status to a B category visa, designed for tourists or business travellers, while they are in the country.

According to the USCIS, the United States offers this service to visitors with B1 (business) or B2 (tourist) status. The explanation is anticipated to ease the anxieties of Indian citizens on H-1B visas in the United States in the wake of widespread layoffs in the IT industry, which are estimated to have affected over one lakh Indians. Tech titans including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Zoom have already implemented layoffs or “workforce reductions” in the first quarter of 2023. Many startups have also announced sector-wide layoffs.

The USCIS remarked, “Many individuals have inquired whether they are permitted to seek employment while in B-1 or B-2 status. The response is affirmative.”

It emphasised in a series of tweets that “looking for employment and interviewing for a position are permitted B-1 and B-2 activities.”

But, B1/B2 visa holders are not permitted to engage in employment. “If you are in B-1 or B-2 status, please remember that you may not participate in employment on the domestic labour market (commonly known as “local labour for hire”) or any employment while in B-1 status,” the USCIS stated.

The US government agency noted that a petition and request for a change of status from B-1 or B-2 to an employment-authorized status must be approved and the new status must take effect prior to beginning any new employment. B1/B2 visas are available to persons who intend to look for employment in the United States. In 2023, the United States said that it will process one million non-immigrant visa applications in India. Currently, one thousand interviews for B1 and B2 visas are done each day in India. The United States also waived the interview requirement for B1/B2 visa applicants who previously had a US visa in any category.

According to data provided by a spokesperson for the US Embassy in New Delhi, the embassy and consulates in India have already processed more than 2 lakh visa applications this year.


Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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