H-1B Employees SHOULD NOT face arrest while extension pending

An amicus brief was filed by the Legal Action Center of the American Immigration Council (LAC) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that argued an H-1B employee should not face arrest, deportation, or detention if he/she has a pending extension request. The reasoning behind the brief is that the employers who follow immigration law and proceedings should not have to lose employees because there are delays at the processing centers. LAC and AILA also argue that arresting individuals undermines the purpose of the H-1B program and includes support from three prominent companies who rely on the work of individuals with H-1B visas in the amicus brief.

The LAC sent the brief on behalf of a Lebanese national whose employer requested an H-1B extension a month before the deadline and paid the $1,000 premium processing fee. The decision was suppose to be received within 15 business days but the government neither sent back an approval or denial of the extension. Seven months after the extension had been requested, there had still been no response and the Lebanese national was arrested for overstaying.

H-1B’s are only granted in three year intervals by the government even though an individual can stay on an H-1B visa for up to six years or longer depending upon the circumstances. An individual is also only allowed to work 240 days after his/her visa expires as long as he/she has filed an extension, after that time period they are subject to arrest.