White House Petition Wants H-1B Period Extended Due to COVID-19

With COVID-19 unleashing waves of layoffs across the U.S., H-1B workers are concerned that they’ll not only lose their jobs, but will have to leave the country within 60 days under current law. 

Confronted with that harsh reality, a White House petition is asking that the 60-day “grace period” be extended to 180 days. As of this writing, it has 52,117 signatures, and needs to reach 100,000 in order to spark a response from the White House. 

“H1B workers cater to the economy at large, mainly supporting the I.T Industry with high tax contributions,” the petition concludes. “We request the government to temporarily extend the 60-Day grace period to 180 days and protect the H1B workers under these difficult times.”

Critics of the H-1B program are pushing back hard against any such extensions, arguing that it would mean “another 180 days that under-employed U.S. tech workers will have to compete with immigrants in an extremely difficult employment market,” according to a statement that one such opposition group, Progressives for Immigration Reform, made to The Mercury News

The federal government, meanwhile, is still trying to figure out how it may adjust H-1B policy in light of COVID-19, which, in addition to layoffs and furloughs, is forcing millions of employees to work from home. “We are supporting, across the department, steps for safer working environments in light of the coronavirus, so I would be expecting to see that extended to the terms and conditions enforced with respect to H-1B visas,” one senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official said on a recent conference call with reporters (his name redacted from the public transcript). “But having not dealt with that specific question before, I’d have to defer to USCIS on that.” 

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a FAQ guide for complying with Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) during COVID-19. As you might expect, if an H-1B worker’s tasks and workflow radically change as a result of COVID-19, or if they have to work from home for longer than 30 days, then their sponsoring firm may have to file an amended petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Before COVID-19 hit, USCIS was focusing tighter scrutiny on the H-1B program, asking companies about the type of work that their H-1B workers would do. That spotlight on vendor agreements, projects, and subcontractors helped power a rising number of RFEs, or Requests for Evidence; it also led to a rising number of visa rejections, especially for consulting and business-services firms that have been long accused of abusing the H-1B visa system.  

But it remains to be seen how COVID-19 will impact the U.S. government’s long-term approach to immigration. According to new data, there were 275,000 individual entries to the new electronic pre-registration system for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, a 25 percent increase in H-1B filings year-over-year. Clearly, companies are still intent on bringing in workers from overseas. 

For more COVID-19 content, check out the COVID-19 Jobs Resource Center.

37 Responses to “White House Petition Wants H-1B Period Extended Due to COVID-19”

  1. I think USCIS issued a new bulletin saying that they will review the reasons for delay and make decisions on their own discretion. This will make Attorney’s to make money because it is unclear for employers and beneficiaries so they contact attorneys.They should have given clear information such as if petitions due for extension/amendments during current x period can be filed in x due date.

  2. Covid-19 should not be used to extend the ability of anyone using an H1b visa to work in the US for longer than their initial agreed upon period. 180 Days – 6 months?? No.
    This is absurd. We should be enforcing limits, especially with the huge increase in unemployment we are currently experiencing. Call your senators and congressmen and voice your concerns. Email the WH.

  3. Lakisha Owen

    Any politician, Democrat or Republican, who supports IT H1B Visa is supporting the continued marginalisation of Descendants of African Slaves and Meso- Americans. We should be training these groups and not bringing in undereducated Indians.

  4. Just copy and paste this in your message to President Trump.

    Dear President TRUMP,

    I am writing to request that you do not extend the 60-day “grace period” for laid off H1B workers and their spouses. Many americans are unemployed due to COVID-19. It is time to send these H1B workers home.

  5. I’m still trying to figure out why this program hasn’t been canceled altogether.

    We have millions of Americans out of work and our government wants to import workers…REALLY!!!

  6. NO, NO, NO WAY WOULD I Support this!!!!!! If anything, they should shorten and enforce the grace period. At a time like this, why should we be making it easier for US CITIZENS to lose their jobs to lower wage foreign workers. And if memory serves, I was told by an Indian co-worker that many of these folks go home for 6 weeks because then they don’t have to pay US taxes… I am not sure if that is still true, but if it is, they should 1,000% close that loophole.

    • We need to put Americans back to work before we give jobs to foreigners. Australia does this and it’s worked for them. If the unemployment goes above a certain level they sent their foreign workers home so their citizens can go to work.

  7. No, do not extend H1B. I work for a American / Chinese company that is more Chinese than American. The current Chinese upper management is pushing is to replace all American workers with Chinese workers using H1B and L1 work visas. Currently the company has at least 2 of the Chinese management team driving without or expired driving license. There are 2 of the Chinese management team that are working under a visit visas not a L1 or H1B. Most of the Chinese workers with H1B visas do not have valid paperwork/education requirements to have a H1B. Americans need jobs and the companies ideal for American jobs is to use Americans for the lower labor positions and that they are disposable, stupid, and inferior. Be aware that any Chinese company in the US is CCP sponsored and controlled some more than others. In meeting things are said like, “your sacrifice on the job (less pay more work) is for the betterment of the Chinese people”. Is this what our H1B program is for?

  8. Anti-H-1B

    Hard No – revoke all H1B workers and give jobs back to Americans. Americans FIRST!!!! The Gov needs to get that through their thick skull and these companies need to be fined if they don’t get on board. This is the reason we’re in this situation because we opened our borders to wide. Plus why would you not try and fix your own country before taking jobs from qualified Americans. Millions of Americans are losing\have lost their jobs and you a$$hats want an extension!? You should be F’ing grateful you have a job while real Americans have to suffer and endure this….Again HARD NO!!!

  9. Richard

    The simple truth is the H1B program is not needed and never was, this was a gimmick by big business to acquire cheap labor. Trump promised to severely restrict or eliminate the program but, like most of his blustering, he has done every little or anything to ensure American workers are hired first.

  10. 22 million people got laid off last month. We don’t need another 200k coming in to take IT jobs. Already there’s a freeze in hiring and most of the people coming in are being exploited by consulting companies plus barely have skills

  11. Massively over inflated resumes with MBA from cornerstore universities from Plunkville Jndia from 20 years ago – 10+ years in one position in politically correct corporations doing very little and endless habits of discussing what needs to be discussed. Not a good idea …

  12. Tina Emam

    “H1B workers cater to the economy at large, mainly supporting the I.T Industry with high tax contributions”

    Seriously? They pay income taxes? LOL that is their big justification. So who, working their jobs, doesn’t pay income taxes? I guess corrupt Indians think that since they aren’t yet cheating the payroll dept on their tax deductions deserves them a big pat on the back.

  13. Standing on the corner

    H1B is a scam and a corporate and politican conspiracy so they can all make money on American’s backs. No excuse for keeping H1Bs . Send them all home. Hire Americans. Plenty of IT workers in America who are willing to do the work. I along with many other Americans, was laid off by a multinational bank so they can hire H1Bs.

  14. Sorry not going to stop H1B visas. This is legal immigration that racist claims that they want. Have it now. Also, these Americans who are now unemployed now have no technical ability to replace even the least skilled, most incompetent H1B holder. I am sorry but that is the fact. If any one of these unemployed can write 10 lines of code then they will have job right now.

      • H1B has minimum wage requirements, in case you dont know. Its not cheap labor. On the contrary there is no minimum wage for Americans. All the jobs done by H1B are mostly can’t be done by Americans. They lack the required skills. If you have -plenty of Americans why are there so many H1Bs working for America contributing to economy and taxes, which are used to support unskilled American labors or lower wage or social security for elderly/unemplyment benefits, most of these benefits are not available for H1Bs, but they contribute through taxes. All H1B working in US pays taxes as per the IRS rules, there is no way around it. You pay tax where you work.

  15. watch out for an HR department that push’s for H1 visas…. some of the HR members that push for the H1 visa have a business link to the fake Indian tech companies. most of the H1 visa workers from INDIA have mediocre skill .