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  • What are some quick options for hiring someone with an expiring grace period? • australiabusinessblog.com

What are some quick options for hiring someone with an expiring grace period? • australiabusinessblog.com

Here’s another edition from “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that empowers people around the world to push beyond limits and chase their dreams,” says Sophie Acorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether you’re in people management, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”

australiabusinessblog.com+ members get access to weekly ‘Dear Sophie’ sections; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one or two year subscription at 50% off.

Dear Sophie,

I am a co-founder of a very early stage startup. My co-founder and I are considering hiring a third co-founder, who was recently fired. She is currently in the United States on an H-1B with a grace period expiring soon.

What are the fastest, least risky immigration options we should consider? What’s up with potential USCIS filing fee increases?

– Careful co-founder

Dear careful,

It’s great to hear you’re growing your team and supporting your future co-founder.

Now is the right time to hire international talent as filing fees for most work visas and green cards are likely to increase later this year. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), released a proposal that would, among other things, significantly increase the cost for many non-immigrant visas and slow down the premium processing time from 15 calendar days to 15 business days (about three calendar weeks).

For example, the filing fee for an H-1B application (new, renewal, or transfer) will be increased from $460 to $780. DHS is accepting public comment on this proposal until March 6, 2023, and I urge you and other employers, especially starting startups, to think along about these changes.

Buy time first

A composite image of immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Bunjak / Sophie Acorn (Opens in a new window)

Before I address your first question, I strongly recommend that you speak to an immigration attorney as soon as possible about the situation and timing of your future hire. An immigration lawyer can suggest strategies tailored to your startup and aimed at mitigating risk. Calculating the grace period after a layoff can be tricky because there are many factors involved, and you want to make sure that your co-founder maintains valid U.S. status and has proper clearance for all required international travel.

Since your prospective co-founder’s 60-day grace period is about to expire, she can quickly get extra time by applying online for a status change from H-1B to B-1 business visitor status, which will allow her to apply for residency in the U.S. for another six months. It also gives you time to prepare an H-1B transfer application and attempt to change her status back to an H-1B or other work visa.

Remember that the B-1 status is not a work visa and does not grant a work permit, meaning she is not authorized to be employed by your startup. However, she can do a few things that immigration officers don’t consider work, such as:

  • Attending business meetings or consultations;
  • Attend a convention or conference;
  • Negotiate contracts.

Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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