In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the recent collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank, and its repercussions on the startup world and foreign tech workers. The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse is cited as the largest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis. The bank was once responsible for managing billions of dollars in client funds and loans. What will be the ripple effect of its collapse on immigrant and non-immigrant tech workers on visas?
Keep on watching to find out more.
Silicon Valley Bank, an institution that once lent billions of dollars in funding to tech startups has collapsed. Its deep relationships within the startup community have left both immigrant and non-immigrant workers vulnerable, as they scramble to find stable ground. The impact of its collapse has been widespread. Hundreds of startups relied on the funding provided by SVB to maintain their operations and keep immigrant and non-immigrant visa workers on payroll. Additionally, SVB itself employed dozens of foreign tech workers.
When news broke of the bank’s collapse, many startups withdrew their funds from the bank and began to question the security of the banking system as a whole. SVB’s collapse may be a signal that something worse is on the horizon, which may lead tech companies to freeze hiring and potentially lay off workers many of which are in the United States on visas.
As a foreign worker, losing a job is not just losing a paycheck. It means your legal status in the United States could ultimately be put in jeopardy. Workers who have been laid off will be forced to find a new employer within 60 days, or risk having to depart the United States.
In recent months, we began to see massive layoffs throughout Silicon Valley including those at Twitter, Meta, Facebook, and Google. Now the bank’s collapse could set in motion an extensive hiring freeze and a shrinking workforce in the months ahead. This is surely unwelcome news for tech workers currently in the United States on H-1B visas. The climate of uncertainty and panic caused by the bank’s collapse, could leave employers with cold feet when it comes to sponsoring workers for employment-based green cards.
Separately, many of the startups that were once funded by SVB are owned and operated by founders who are foreign nationals on non-immigrant visa types. For such individuals, it has become much more difficult to obtain funding to continue their operations and maintain their workforce. As an H-1B worker, if your employer can no longer pay your wages, your visa is essentially worthless.
Options for Laid Off Tech Workers
The 60-Day Grace Period
Under the law, regulations permit a discretionary grace period of 60-days allowing workers in E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1, or TN classifications (and their dependents) to be considered as having maintained status following the termination of employment.
During this period, workers may be able to maintain their nonimmigrant status if a new employer timely files a petition on their behalf with an extension of stay request (e.g., an H-1B change of employer petition for a worker in H-1B status).
Alternatively, workers may be able to remain in the United States in a period of authorized stay if they timely file an application to change to a new nonimmigrant status (such as B-2 visitor nonimmigrant status) or an application for adjustment of status, if eligible (see below for a detailed overview of options).
Workers who do not file a timely change of status application or find a new employer who timely files a change of employer petition for the worker, may be required to depart the United States at the end of the 60-day grace period.
On the bright side
The good news is that the government is stepping in to provide relief to foreign workers. USCIS has issued guidance to help foreign workers in their transition to a new employer, essentially stating that workers who timely file an extension of stay or change of status during the 60-day grace period, will be considered in legal status while their application is being adjudicated. This move provides flexibility to workers who are navigating these difficult circumstances.
The bottom line
The government is working on providing protections to SVB and other banking institutions. While we are living in an uncertain economic climate, it is important for non-immigrant workers to be proactive and have a plan B. If you have lost your job during these layoffs, we encourage you to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your options, such as changing to another visa classification based on your circumstances.
Contact us. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
If you would like to know more about this important update, please keep on watching.
- USCIS FY 2024 H-1B Initial Registration Announcement
- H-1B Electronic Registration Step-by-Step Instructions
- All About the H-1B Visa
- Will Tech Layoffs Create Greater Odds at Winning the H-1B Visa Lottery?
- March Visa Bulletin
- USCIS Processing Times
- Chats with Charlie YouTube Channel
- Immigrant Visa Backlog Report
- DOS Visa Services Operating Status Update
- ImmigrationU Membership
- Success stories
- Youtube channel
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