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Benefits and Limitations of U.S. Work Visas

Work visas are necessary documents for foreign nationals seeking to work in the United States on a temporary basis and for those seeking to enter the United States permanently. Temporary Worker visas are for nonimmigrants, or those not wishing to be naturalized as U.S. citizens. Permanent Worker visas are for immigrants authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. Regardless of the type of visa you may be seeking, it is important that you speak with a U.S. immigration attorney about the qualifications and process necessary to obtain an employment visa.

What can you do with a work visa?

No matter what type of work visa you are seeking or may have already obtained, it guarantees you certain rights and protections in the United States. The United States Department of State lists such rights and protections to include:

  • The right to be paid fairly by your employer in accordance with U.S. law;
  • The right to not be forced to work in a job against your will;
  • The right to keep your passport and other identification documents in your possession;
  • The right to report abusive working conditions without fear of retaliation;
  • The right to request assistance from workers’ unions, labor rights organizations, and immigrant rights organizations; and
  • The right to have access to the U.S. judicial system to ensure justice is served and your rights are protected.

If you have obtained a valid H-1B visa, recent changes also make it possible for qualified spouses to obtain employment visas, too. This allows more members of your household to find gainful employment within the United States during your stay here.

A valid work visa can also make it easier to find housing during your stay in the United States. It can help demonstrate your income potential to prospective landlords, which may be a necessary part of the rental or leasing process.

Additionally, you are afforded other criminal and civil legal protections under U.S. law. However, some of these protections may be limited in scope and it is important that you speak with a U.S. immigration attorney to determine the rights and protections available to you.

What are the limitations of a work visa?

Work visas specify the amount of time that you are allowed to be employed within the United States. In order to remain in the United States after your work visa has expired, you must apply to extend or renew the employment visa. However, such extensions also mean that you are not able to leave and then reenter the United States because they do not have the right of reentry.

A work visa does not automatically give you the right to work within the United States for any employer that you choose. Instead, employment-based visas will list the name of the employer that you are or will be working for within the U.S. In very rare circumstances, you may be able to change the employer you are working for. Such changes are complicated and require the assistance of an immigration attorney. While the employment-based visa is limited to the specific employer listed on it, that does not mean you must continue to work for that employer if your rights have been violated or if you decide that you no longer wish to continue your employment.

The importance of extending or renewing your work visa prior to its expiration cannot be understated. Upon expiration of your visa, you are expected to return to your native country. Waiting too long to renew or extend your work visa may make it more difficult to do so after it has expired.

What can you do for more information?

The employment visa process for both nonimmigrants and immigrants can be complicated. There are many different types of visas available, and the qualifications for each are different. If you would like to find out more information about obtaining a work permit for employment within the United States for yourself, prospective employees, or family members of work visa holders, please contact us today.

About Us

NY Immigration Law Center helps individuals and families with immigration law issues – from getting work visas to helping families, and defending individuals facing deportation. To get a consultation, call (212) 233-8100

Immigration News from ILW.COM
FAQs
  • Q: My employer wants to sponsor me to get a green card – can they?

    If you entered the United States without visa and are working here without legal documentation, your employer may be able to help you. But it’s important to understand that just because your employer wants to help doesn’t mean you will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including your prior history (and your family’s prior history) in the United States. So it’s good that your employer wants to help but the first step is to call us for an interview so we can understand more about your situation.

  • Q: How can I get a work permit?

    A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, you need a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get you a work permit. But you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit you have to make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. So don’t believe any other lawyer or person who tells you it’s an easy thing to get a work permit. Call us for an interview and we can explain to you how the process and the immigration laws in the United States really work.

  • Q:  Can I apply for deferred action now?

    As a result of the injunction issued by the District Court in Texas, applications for the expanded DACA program and DAPA are currently on hold. The Department of Homeland Security is not currently accepting requests for the expansion of DACA, as originally planned. Until further notice, it has suspended the plan to accept requests for DAPA.

  • Q: Does the new executive order or court injunction change Deferred Action protection under existing DACA?

    The Court’s order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012. This ruling only delays the start of DAPA and the expansion of DACA.

  • Q:  Who can I contact for more help or information?

    It’s important that you speak with a qualified attorney who can explain all the options and issues relating to your immigration status.  Do not take advice about your immigration case from a notary public or an immigration consultant.  The U.S. immigration laws and rules are very complicated and many people take advantage of undocumented immigrants, making promises and charging money without providing honest advice.  Contact only a qualified immigration lawyer for legal advice about your case. If you encounter 'notarios' who offer legal advice without a license, report it.

  • Q; What should I do now?

    You can begin preparing now! Even though DHS is not currently accepting applications under DAPA or the expanded DACA programs, individuals who are potentially eligible for Deferred Action status should begin preparing their applications now. It is very likely that the Texas decision will be overturned and there will probably be a rush of applicants when that happens. Individuals should be ready with their applications and start now by gathering the necessary documentation and seeking good counsel to give themselves the best chance for success and to avoid potential problems.

  • Q: I haven’t seen my mother since I came to the U.S. 10 years ago. Can I apply for a visa so she can join me here?

    If you are a U.S. citizen or have a Green Card, then yes, you can apply for a visa for your family members. But the process can take a long of time, depending on your own status. If you’re a U.S. citizen, it might take 8 months to a year to process the application. The waiting time will be much longer if you’re a Green Card holder. Generally, the sooner you start the process the better. So contact one of our attorneys today to get started. Or click here is you want to learn more about the different types of visas that are available for family members.

  • Q: My grandma is sick back home – can I go visit her?

    Whether you can travel abroad depends on your immigration status. If you have been granted DACA or if you have a Green Card in hand – you still must ask for advanced permission in order to leave the country. This is called advanced parole. Obtaining advance parole is relatively inexpensive. But it is not without risk, because there is really no way to guarantee that you will be able to return. Your return is ultimately within the discretion of the authorities at the point of your reentry to the U.S.

  • Q: Can our company sponsor an employee to get a green card?

    If one of your employees entered the United States without visa and is working here without legal documentation, you may be able to help this person obtain legal immigration status. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including a person’s prior history (and their family’s prior history) in the United States. It’s definitely helpful to their case if you, as their employer, are willing to help, but the first step is to have the employee call us for an interview so we can understand more about their situation.   Or click here to read more information about green cards.

  • Q: What is a work permit?

    A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, an employee needs a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get undocumented immigrants work permit. But you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit a person must make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. So don’t let your employees get gulled into believing that it’s easy to get a work permit by some lawyer or hustler on the street corner. Call us for an interview and so we can explain to your employees how the process and the immigration laws in the United States really work.

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