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Covid-19 Impact: US Cos may require additional compliance to cover H-1B employees in their work from home policies | Mumbai News


Mumbai: The “work from home” policy takes on a new dimension, if you are an H-1B worker in the United States. The companies are seeking clarification from attorneys on how H-1B workers can be accommodated in their “work from home” policy. May require additional documentation to be submitted to concerned authorities and additional expense.

There are other aspects that concern the Indian diaspora. As has been done in many countries, United States Consulate offices in India have canceled appointments for immigrant and non-immigrant visas (which cover H-1B visas) since March 16, until further notice. Once operations resume, appointments can be rescheduled. People have been asked to search the embassy’s website to keep abreast of developments.

The number of Indians in the US USA With H-1B visas it is significant and he finds several thousand rupees. To illustrate: Country data on assigned H-1B visas are available for fiscal year 2017, during which 2.76 lakh H-1B visas (for both initial employment and visa extensions) or 75% of the Total went to those born in India. Roughly, Indians are assigned 60% of the 85,000 H-1B visas that are issued annually.

A change in the workplace (for example, in the H-1B holder’s place of residence) is a material change under immigration regulations. Speaking to TOI, New York-based immigration attorney Cyrus D Mehta said: “If workers work from home, and within distance from their workplace, there should be no need to file an amendment to their H-1B petition. On the other hand, if the teleworking of the workers will be from a place outside the working distance from the workplace, and this was not contemplated in the original petition H-1B, then an amendment related to the new place must be submitted “Even in the case of working from home, H-1B workers must be paid the required salary and must perform tasks related to the H-1B position, he added.

Snehal Batra, managing attorney at NPZ Law Group immersed himself in legal technicalities: “A change in the location of the H-1B employee’s place of employment to a geographic area not covered in the original Employment Status Application (LCA) is a change material that affects eligibility under H-1B. For example, if an H-1B employee is ‘quarantined’ or works remotely from home, but their residence is outside the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of employment, a new LCA would be required to be registered and posted. . Additionally, a new H-1B petition or amendment must be filed, not to mention that there may be a prevailing wage gap. Staying within the same geographic area means the area within the normal travel distance from the place of employment or within the same MSA. ”

“There is also a limited but flexible 30-60 day short-term placement option provided by the US Department of Labor, which allows H-1B employers to assign their employees to non-contemplated or previously listed in the LCA, subject to certain additional criteria, “added Ashwin Sharma, a Jacksonville-based immigration attorney.

According to Sharma, most employers are likely to file an H-1B amendment if the existing LCA no longer covers the H-1B worker’s home as a workplace, as the short-term placement option is quite limited in scope. .

“An H-1B amendment comes with attached costs, of $ 460 plus legal fees. However, it can be filed very quickly, and by submitting the application, the H-1B worker can start working from home, ”said Sharma.

Batra also noted that leave under the “Family and Medical Leave Act” does not end the H-1B relationship with the employer, and the employer will be responsible for paying the employee.

Rajiv S. Khanna, based in Arlington, managing attorney at Immigration.com summarized: “Most offices in major metropolitan areas allow or require everyone to work from home. Typically, H-1B workers can only work from the location for which their H-1B was approved. Under the circumstances, I don’t see any problems with H-1B employees working from wherever they are isolated. Technically, the government can claim that certain locations were not previously approved for H-1B employment. But there is a general public concern here that needs to be addressed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and allied regulatory agencies. ”

However, if H-1B workers are fired because their employers can no longer afford them, this will cause them to be without status after the 60-day grace period. If employers reject H-1B workers, they must still pay them the wage required under the H-1B petition, ”Mehta said.

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