Immigration Issues/H1- leave of absence


I am on H1B and my employer made me give him a letter of absence (he threatened to cancel my H1 otherwise) What are the implications of my action?
Although I have sent him this letter I also have a paper trail which clearly shows that I was available for active employment all this time.
What are my options? Please help me with your advice

Eileen Chun-Fruto, Los Angeles immigration attorney writes:

Dear Neha,

I'm sorry to hear of this.  

Even though you have been available for real, active employment at all times, it is against H-1B regulations for you to stay in the US unless you are engaging in services with your employer.

I'm afraid that the reality is you must find a new employer as fast as possible to transfer over your H-1B, or change status to another status like F-1, or leave and go home.  

Remember that you can come back to the US on H-1B using the "remainder" of your H-1B time.  You must really be careful about not staying in the US because once you are no longer receiving pay from your employer, you should be leaving.

A leave of absence does not protect you from being out of status, unless it is like a maternity leave of absence, which is not due to the employer having no work for you.  If the employer has no work for you, then you can't just take a leave of absence and stay here on H-1B.

Good luck.  I do a lot of H-1B work, so if you have further questions, please contact me again.

Eileen Chun-Fruto

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Eileen Chun-Fruto


I can answer any employment-based immigration question including questions about PERM labor certifications, H-1B skilled workers, L-1A multinational managers or executives and L-1B specialized knowledge, R-1 and I-360 religious workers, investor cases (E Treaty Trader and E Treaty Investors and EB-5 "million dollar investors") and O-1 extraordinary ability cases. I can also answer any questions regarding family-based immigration, such as adoptions, waiver cases, consular processing (using foreign consulates to enter as an immigrant), marriage and fiance/fiancee cases, 245(i) cases, VAWA (Violence Against Women's Act), battered spouses, and Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).


I have over 12 years of experience in business and family immigration. I was a former law clerk for the Executive Officer for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) in San Francisco and I current serve as the California Service Center's (CSC) liaison on behalf of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I represent individuals and corporations alike, ranging from professionals in the high tech, science, liberal arts fields. I have a special niche in working with start-up companies and individuals with more complex immigration issues.

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Executive Committee on Immigration

J.D., University of California at Davis - King Hall School of Law (1997) B.A., University of California at Irvine, cum laude (1994)

Awards and Honors
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Selected to Southern California Rising Star - Super Lawyers List (an honor shared by no more than 2.5% of the attorneys practicing in the entire Southern California region) Faculty/Moderator on various AILA and LACBA continuing legal education seminars in the following topics: H-1B, O-1, religious workers, business immigration visas

Past/Present Clients
My typical business clients can range from a start-up company, established engineering and software research and development companies, manufacturing, trade and distribution companies, public and private schools, and religious organizations. Family clients include spouses, parent-child petitions, siblings, naturalization, and most especially, representation of abandoned and neglected children viewed as orphans under the immigration law. I have represented many clients who relied on special provisions of the immigration law to preserve or "grandfather" benefits to family members in limited (and complicated) circumstances, to avoid re-application fees and longer waiting times.

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