I am on a H-1B visa (valid till 01/11) but my I-129 has been taken into review for reconsideration by the USCIS since my employer terminated my employment in 12/08. I believe my employment was wrongfully terminated and am considering pursuing legal action against my employer.
My question is - how does that impact my H-1B status? Can/Would I get an extension of stay while I settle the law suit? If so, for how long and what do I do to get it?
Sorry to hear you are going through this. You need to seek the advice of an attorney concerning your situation - and a different one than the one who handled the H-1b originally, since that attorney (thought they likely have done nothing wrong) has a conflict. This is because they have also represented the company from which you just separated for the purpose of obtaining the H-1B, as well as you.
It isn't clear to me exactly what you mean when you say that USCIS has taken the H-1B "into review." The act of terminating you by your former employer - even if under circumstances to which you object - will not normally be enough to cause an investigation, and often investigations are undertaken by the Department of Labor rather than USCIS where fraud is suspected. I would need more details.
I can tell you that technically, the H-1B is no longer considered to be valid in the sense of keeping you in valid status as soon as you stop working for the sponsor/employer - regardless of whether they were right to terminate you. As a practical matter however, USCIS will often accept a pay statement dated within the last 30 days submitted along with a request to change status or switch employers on the H-1B as sufficient evidence of maintenance of status.
The only way to continue your H-1B would be to switch to another H-1B employer if you can get a job offer and sponsorship. Barring that, you really aren't eligible for an H-1B any longer.
So, the other option is to switch to some other nonimmigrant visa for which you would be eligible. You might be able to justify switching to a B-1/B-2 visitor visa to remain here to wrap up personal business pertaining to any lawsuit; alternatively, you could enroll in school or some type of training program and try to switch to an F-1 student, H-3 Trainee, or J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.
There may be other options - speak with an attorney about your own situation to get a more accurate picture of what might be available to you.
Get free answers from experienced attorneys.
29,060 answers this week
3,107 attorneys answering
Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.Browse our legal dictionary