Unfortunately it is the story of the day, the month and hey the year. We just find out today that a record almost 600,000 jobs were lost in the US in January alone. The current unemployment rate is now 7.6%. Many of those included foreigners on US working visas and the road is mcuh tougher for all of us in this category. 🙁
The two major problems that foreigners on working visas face compared to a fellow US citizen or resident who may have been laid off is;
- No access to Social Security Benefits or any sort of unemployment support or safety net
- Extremely Limited to time to find new employment and change visa legally without having to leave the US
Essentially this means if you are in this unfortunate predicament you have to bear all the costs from any savings you have of your regular expenses and finding a new position while trying to do it in record time and fit in with the regulations.
In actuality as you only are allowed to be out of employment legally for 10 days, you really don’t have any time to find a new position and transfer your position if, as most lay-offs are, sudden and unexpected.
Now many employers are very understanding in these situations given in an ideal world they never wanted to let you go having gone through so much for sponsorship to get you in the first place, that officially they will keep your position open even if you are not in it, allowing you time to find a new role and thus technically not be out of work for more than 10 days. They don’t have to do this but many do so request this if you can to buy you time.
There is no advice I really have in terms of finding a position than what you already did to get your initial role. If you were smart and dedicated enough to find a position in the US to begin with, I have no doubt, given the time and financial ability, you will find a position again even in this economy. There are positions out there…you only have to look at major job sites.
Hey even despite the gloomy numbers of January employment loss in the US, the health industry recorded an increase in positions so choose your target area wisely.
As for the situation of financially supporting yourself through this ordeal, paying your rent, etc. Well this is a decision you will have to make as it really depends how much you have, who you have to support and what your and the size of your obligations are. Like Americans it is probably a good time to live below your means for a while, save a little more. Your other problem is the US Dollar is getting stronger meaning transferring money over here from abroad buys you less.
I am sorry unlike other posts I didn’t have more advice for you but I wanted to at least address the current situation so you know the basic facts of what you can and can’t do and the basic tip about the employer holding your role open while you search.
I feel for you if you are in this situation and wish you well and a speedy find to continue your adventure…..
EDIT: There is one other option I recently was made aware of if you want to remain in North America but not specifically the US. The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program for Canada is seeming to take more and more people in who had been laid off on a H1B or E3 visa. You don’t need a job offer or sponsor to get this visa as you can loof for work after entering if you are in this broad range of job categories. I am certainly no expert on it but hear it could be a good option and a fast track to permanent residency in Canada.