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.
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