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Immigration Client Alert | Israel, Poland, Armenia

The COVID-19 Pandemic - Are you in compliance with US Immigration Regulations?

Employers and employees are facing numerous issues in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, concerning maintaining legal status in the face of shelter in place orders and remote work, temporary office closures, furloughs and layoffs, and reduction in work hours and salary.  As a result employers and employees in L-1, E-1 or E-2 status you should be aware of the following:


Reduction in work hours

Generally, most employees in E-1, E-2, and L-1 status work full-time. 

Part-time status for immigration purposes is less than 35 hours, but is subject to state law. If a reduction in hours changes the employee’s status to part-time, this can be considered a material change and require an amended petition. 

Additionally question can be raised as to whether the salary offered to the employee with reduced hours will be sufficient for payment for essential goods and services.

Temporary Work from Home

Generally, E-1, E-2 and L-1 visas are not location specific, so there is some flexibility with regard to the physical work location for these employees. 

Employers are only required to file a new petition for these employees when there is a material change to the job. 

If the employees are still in the same position and performing the same job duties from home rather than at a worksite, an amended petition is not likely to be required.


In order for the holder of an E or L visa to remain in valid status they must be employed and working for the employer that sponsored them. 

Immigration laws define a layoff as an action taken by an employer to cause the loss of a worker’s employment. It follows then that when the foreign employee is laid off they immediately lose their visa status. 

Most work visas allow a 60 day grace period after the layoff during which the employee may change to another status or find another employer to sponsor them. Some employers are utilizing this 60-day grace period that allows employees to maintain status despite the layoff, because the employee can go without wages with the presumption that the employer intends to re-hire them as soon as they are able. 

Note however, that USCIS has not issued any guidance about how a furlough would impact these visa statuses, sot here may be risks with this approach. 

Best Regards, 

Cindy Azoulay Esq. | Partner - US Immigration Dept.


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Disclaimer: The content herein is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. Readers are advised not act upon the contained information without professional advice.No portion of this newsletter may be reproduced without express permission. © Kan-Tor & Acco law firm

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