Can an H-1B Worker Apply for Unemployment Benefits?
H-1B beneficiaries and other nonimmigrants (such as L-1, TN, and E-3 workers) are limited to working for their petitioning employer in a specific role. Those applying for unemployment benefits must be “able and available for work” in suitable positions while they collect benefits and must be actively seeking employment.
What does this mean for H-1B workers? Could other work-authorized immigrants qualify for these benefits?
Because H-1B workers, and other nonimmigrants such as L-1, TN, and E-3 workers, are limited to work for their petitioning employer in a specific role, they do not qualify to apply for this benefit.
While everything should be taken on a case-by-case basis, foreign nationals with an open work authorization from an EAD (such as H-4s, E-2s, and Adjustment of Status applicants) could qualify for unemployment benefits. This is because their EAD allows them to be “able and available for work” for any United States employer immediately.
Remember, though: each state dictates the rules of their unemployment benefits. Those who believe they might qualify should typically file claims directly with the state where their work took place.
To stay up-to-date on business immigration news, subscribe to our Immigration News Bites below.