Coronavirus update: H-1B workers seek 180 instead of 60-day stay in US amid layoffs

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Economic experts fear massive layoffs in various sectors of the American economy due to the current economic distress that is only going to deteriorate in the coming months.

Foreign IT professionals, the majority of them Indians with H-1B visas in the US, has urged the government Trump allowed to extend their stay 60-180 days after the loss of a job, in the midst of massive layoffs in the US because of the pandemic coronavirus.

H-1B visa, the most sought after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialized jobs that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Companies rely on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries such as India and China.

Federal rules now require H-1B visa holders to leave the United States with their families within 60 days of losing their jobs.

Economists fear massive layoffs in many sectors of the US economy due to the current economic difficulties that will only worsen in the coming months.

A record 3.3 million Americans have filed initial jobless claims for the week ending Mar. 21,

Even as the culmination of a coronavirus in the US is about two weeks away, millions of people in this country have lost their jobs.

According to estimates, about 47 million people could be given unemployed.

Those with H-1B visas are not eligible for unemployment benefits or entitled to the benefits of social security, even though no deductions from their salaries for this purpose.

Initial reports indicate that a large number of H-1B employees are being laid off. In some cases, companies have an H-1B employee tells them that they are on top of the list were fired.

Thus, the H-1B visa holders have started a petition campaign on the site of the White House to extend the time for their stay in the US after losing their jobs.

“We are asking the government to temporarily extend the grace period of 60 days to 180 days and to protect workers under the H-1B difficult times,” said the petition that has so far attracted more than 20,000 signatures.

It requires a minimum of 100,000 petitions to get a response from the White House.

COVID-19 situation is compounded by the large lay-offs are expected. Economic conditions may have a significant impact on the H-1B worker, the petition said.

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