Over the past few months, numerous oil and gas companies have announced layoffs. Both supermajors and smaller companies have undergone workforce reductions, leaving an impact on the Houston economy and the individuals who find themselves out of work.
Layoffs affect all employees, but they have a particular effect on visa holders who are working for these companies.
If you work in the oil and gas industry and you are in the U.S. on a work visa, you have a lot on your mind these days. Even if you don’t fall into this category, you probably know coworkers or even employees at your company who may have immigration issues.
How Layoffs Affect Your Immigration Status
Temporary work visas have limits – there are things you can and can’t do while you’re in the U.S. On top of those limits, your authorization to remain in the U.S. ends if your employment ends. This leaves you in a tough spot if you have children in school, your spouse has a good job, or your earning potential in the U.S. is higher than elsewhere in the world.
The decisions that are made about your immigration matters have likely been made by your employer pursuant to company policies. Depending on your employer’s policies, you may not be able to seek sponsorship for permanent residence through your employer or get assistance with immigration issues for your fiancée, spouse or children, or obtain help with maintaining permanent residence or applying for citizenship.
What Can I Do to Protect My Immigration Status?
If you have an immigration issue that is not handled by your company’s immigration legal team or paid for by your company, you will have to find your own legal counsel to determine your options.
This has been my goal since my firm’s inception in 2013. We have provided employees of oil and gas companies with independent advice and legal representation on a wide range of immigration issues, including applying for permanent residence without the sponsorship of a company, taking action in the event of a layoff, and dealing with international travel issues.
We aim to be an information source and trusted advisor for you. Any immigration-related decisions you make can affect your future immigration options, so it’s important for you to find an attorney who can help you navigate the U.S. immigration system and determine your best avenues to achieve your goals.
For employees who have been stationed in the United States for years, the possibility of having to leave on extremely short notice is a possibility that we aim to help avoid. As part of our work, we have assisted employees of energy companies in self-petitions for permanent residence in the United States.
Although most methods of applying for permanent residence based on employment require a job offer from a petitioning employer, there are two ways to apply without the employment offer: The Extraordinary Ability petition (also called “EB-11” or “EB-1A”) and the National Interest Waiver (“NIW”) EB-2 petition.
Any petition submitted to the U.S. immigration service involves discretion and a subjective review, so our work involves a thorough and comprehensive assessment of your options, and research and review to prepare the strongest case possible.
Oil and Gas Immigration Seminar in Houston
In our upcoming dinner and presentation, Attorney Kathryn Karam will discuss steps employees of oil and gas companies can consider to protect the ability to remain in the United States in the event of a layoff and actions to consider for those interested in remaining in the United States long-term.
Attorney Karam is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She was named a Top Immigration Lawyer in Houston by Houstonia Magazine and H-Texas Magazine. She has practiced immigration law for over 8 years, and has worked with employees of oil and gas companies for over four years.
During this presentation, Attorney Karam will provide information for energy employees and share some of her firm’s experiences and success stories to help attendees understand some of their options and possibilities.
Space is limited, click here to reserve your seat:
This is a difficult time for individuals and families in the oil and gas industry. Please share this article with your network: