We have heard plenty of reports of downsized tech workers facing the prospect of having to leave the country despite having obtained an H-1B visas prior to entry. Thankfully, there are workarounds. But in the event a foreign-born worker isn’t able to overcome being let go, it’s still best not to overstay one’s visa.
Overstaying in hopes of finding another job might seem like a noble endeavor. But it is fraught with negative consequences. If a foreign national is caught overstaying a visa, the consequences could be such that even a skilled business immigration lawyer might not be able to help.
What could happen? Below are four possible consequences. They are also key reasons to avoid overstaying a work visa.
1. Removal Proceedings
At the top of the list is the potential of being subjected to removal proceedings. Perhaps this doesn’t seem like a big deal given the fact that a foreign national no longer eligible to work in the U.S. must leave anyway. But here’s the thing: official removal proceedings tend to be swift and uncompromising. A foreign national may not have time to get his affairs in order before being forced to leave.
Trying to tie up loose ends from thousands of miles away isn’t easy. So if there’s any chance that a worker with a valid H-1B visa will be ineligible to work in the near future, preparations for departure should begin in earnest.
2. Termination of Work or Study Privileges
A visa holder who doesn’t find himself the victim of downsizing still has to pay attention to visa expiration. Overstaying a work visa could lead to immediate termination of work and study privileges. Simply put, unemployment could be the swift and eventual result. If a worker is also studying at the same time, they could be barred from continuing those studies.
3. Negative Impacts on Future Applications
The USCIS keeps records. Lots of them. Overstaying a work visa could damage one’s permanent record and subsequently impact future visa applications. In the simplest possible terms, overstaying one visa could give immigration officials sufficient reason to reject a future visa application.
In terms of this particular issue, overstaying an H-1B visa is especially troublesome due to the fact that only a limited number of H-1Bs are issued every year. It is hard enough to get one’s application added to the annual lottery. A foreign-born worker doesn’t help his cause with an overstay on his record.
4. A Complete Ban from Future Visas
It is entirely possible that overstaying one visa could lead to a complete ban on entering the country. Foreign nationals are sometimes banned only for a designated amount of time. In other situations, the bans are permanent. Neither situation is a good one to be in.
Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances. Any corrective action taken as a result of overstaying a work visa can be appealed to the proper authorities. But of course, success depends heavily on legal representation. That is where a skilled immigration attorney comes in.
We encourage companies attempting to bring foreign workers into the country to educate themselves on U.S. business immigration law. Decision-makers should understand the law and how it applies to their particular situations. As always, Graham Adair is happy to assist.
Our law offices include a dedicated team of experienced immigration attorneys who know their craft. Our attorneys can answer questions, assist with paperwork, prepare immigrants for exams, and even provide legal representation. To that end, the most important piece of advice we can offer is to not overstay a work visa.