H-1B Professionals Should Not be Arrested While Pending Decisions!

An amicus brief has been filed in a US court by two immigration rights groups. This is regarding an argument about an employee working on H1-B. Such employees should not be subject to arrest, detention or even deportation. This is especially after the expiration of their initial admission period and an extension request is still being reviewed and the decision for the same is awaited.

The Legal Action Center of the American Immigration Council (LAC) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have filed the brief in the Federal District Court in Connecticut. The brief states that all the employers hiring employees on H-1B visa should not let go of good employees. This is especially due to the delay in immigration processing.

The above brief was filed by LAC filed on behalf of a Lebanese national. He was being represented by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at the Yale Law School. The complainant was employed when he had applied for an extension on his H-1B visa. In 2004, this application was sent. Then also, the application was filed in a month in advance before the actual date of expiration. The employer had also paid $1000 which is the premium processing fee in order to get a decision within 15 business days. However, neither an approval nor a denial came forth. More so, no response came about when a request was made for information. Seven months had passed with no arrival of a decision. In the meantime, the plaintiff was arrested by the immigration agents for residing in the nation beyond the timelines projected in his visa.

However, as per the federal law, the employees working in the United States on an H-1B visa can live in the nation for a period of 6 years, although the visa is granted for 3 years every time. At the same time, the government has the right to remove to foreigners who have overstayed their temporary visas.

On the other hand, there is a federal regulation which allows the H-1B employee to reside and continue his work for a period of 240 days. This period is applicable immediately after the visa expires. However, the employer must have filed for an extension before this period comes to an end.

According to the amicus brief, it is being argued that the arrest of this employee is not permitted because of the automatic extension of authorization to work. This must prohibit the government from arresting such people, especially when the decision is pending. With this, the government cannot arrest someone for overstaying when the decision is pending from its own end.

Above all, the brief also has declaration of support from three other major firms which are dependent on H-1B employees. Such acts by the government would simply pose a barrier to the development of key sectors in the economy. More so, the main goals of the H-1B program would also be undermined.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* indicates required field