Increase grace periods of H-1B, L-1 visas, Biden administration urged


The Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) has urged the Biden administration to extend H-1B and L1/5 grace periods, following the layoffs in the tech sector that have rendered thousands of Indian-American IT professionals jobless. Indian IT professionals make up a large proportion of the recipients of H-1B and other work visas granted to skilled foreign workers, many in the tech industry and many of them are scrambling to find new jobs within the stipulated period under their work visas following the termination of their employment to stay in the country.

“With massive layoffs in the tech industry, January 2023 has been a brutal for tech professionals. Many talented folks lost jobs. As the tech industry is dominated by Indian immigrants, they are highest among the impacted. The laid off H1b holders need to find H-1B sponsoring job in 60 days or leave within 10 days after become out of status,” the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies said. 

The US-based non-profit organization has appealed to the Biden administration to extend the two months grace period to at least to six months and the 10 days grace period to at least two months.

Many global tech giants including Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Meta recently announced thousands of job cuts the global economic downturn. Google this month axed 12,000 jobs across the globe while Microsoft announced 10,000 job cuts.

“This will have a huge disruption on the family lives and children education etc on this tax paying and contributing legal immigrant, especially on their children, including the US-born citizens,” FIIDS said. 

The non-profit said that exodus of talent from the US is also harmful for the long term interests of the USA, adding that “the Silicon Valley is mostly built and run by tech immigrants where more than 70% startups have immigrant Indian cofounders and as of 2022 almost 50+ CEOs of public companies are Indian origin migrants.”

FIIDS, along with Global Indian Technology Professionals Association (GITPRO) has launched a Job Assistance Network to connect job seekers with employers. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference on Tuesday said that US President Joe Biden understands first-hand the crushing impact losing a job can have on a family. 

Jean-Pierre assured that President Biden would do everything to make sure the US economy works for everyone.

“He’s (Biden) is going to do everything that he can to make sure this is an economy that works for everyone, that works from the bottom up, middle out, and that’s what you’ve seen from his economic plans,” she said. (With Agency Inputs)

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