Anti-discrimination laws in the United States protect citizens and non-citizens alike from discriminatory hiring and firing practices. It is just as illegal to fire someone solely because of their citizenship status as it is to fire them because of their age or race. The risk of losing a job for a foreign worker brings with it the risk of deportation. For that reason, foreign workers should be especially careful to make sure their employment contract protects them from this risk.
Foreign workers who have a rare or highly-specialized skill, such as scientists, are often able to enter the United States on a skilled workers’ visa. These visas give skilled workers more rights than most other temporary work permits, but a foreign national must still be sponsored by an employer to retain permission to stay in the country.
If they are fired, they must either apply for a different type of foreign resident permit, find a new employer quickly, or leave the country. Many bring their families with them. Suddenly being unemployed with no one to sponsor their visas can have serious repercussions for the entire family, especially if they are unable to find another way to stay in the country.
For that reason, it’s important for skilled workers to ensure that they are signing an employment agreement when they are hired that includes a contingency plan should the employer decide to let them go. In most States employers are allowed to terminate their employees without notice for any reason unless there is a contract that says otherwise.
If you or someone you love is a skilled worker residing in the United States on a skilled worker visa, the sudden loss of a job could have very serious consequences for you and your family. By learning about American employment law, you can make sure your contract protects your rights.