Thursday, February 9, 2023

An online petition has been launched to increase the grace period for H-1B visa holders to 12 months

Online petition launched to extend grace period for H-1B visa holders to 12 months

 WASHINGTON: Two Indian-American organizations have started an online petition urging President Joe Biden to increase the grace period for H-1B visa holders from two months to a year in the midst of massive layoffs in the American tech sector that have left many Indian professionals without jobs.

This means that a foreign tech worker on an H-1B visa would have one year instead of the current 60 days to find a new job before they have to leave the country.

Employing foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise is made possible by the H-1B visa, which is a non-immigrant visa. It is essential for technology companies to hire tens of thousands of workers annually from nations like China and India.

According to the online petition, "Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies and Global Technology Professionals Association (GITPRO) has submitted an appeal to the President of the United States, the Secretary of DHS (Department of Homeland Security), and the director of USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) to extend the current grace period from 60 days to 1 year (minimum 6 months)"

"We join the appeal and request that humanitarian consideration be given to the families' impact." We think that this extension will stop the brain drain and keep the United States at the forefront of technology and innovation around the world. The online petition, which has received more than 2,200 signatures thus far, stated, "We also request elected officials to support this extension and, if necessary, introduce a bill in the House of Representatives."

91,000 people were laid off in just January 2023, according to, and this number could rise in the coming months. According to the petition, this has a significant impact on them and their families, particularly H-1B holders who will need to leave the US immediately within ten days of the expiration of the H-1B grace period.

This has a long-term effect on the talent in the United States as well as on them and their families. For instance, immigrants make up 70% of startup founders. More than fifty public company CEOs are Indian. It stated that as a result, the departure of this talent from the United States is detrimental to the country's long-term interests, particularly in the contemporary era of AI competition.

The laid-off H-1B holders have approximately 60 days to find a new employer or leave the country to apply for the H-1B transfer. The petition stated, "Until the economy recovers, it would be impossible for these hardworking, tax-paying, and talented individuals to get hired."

In the meantime, an international Indian Facebook group has launched a petition urging the Indian government to hire the US-based Indian tech workers who have been laid off.

The letter to Ashwini Vaishnav, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, read, "Considering the ongoing layoff situation, we are requesting you to consider hiring the recently laid off and returning Indian IT workers as consultants as part of the digitisation initiatives undertaken by your ministries."

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