Reducing Your Risk

Xavier Augustin, president and CEO of, an online resource for H-1B visa holders, offers the following tips for temporary foreign workers who fear they may be laid off:

• Know your rights with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. For example, if you are about to lose your H-1B status, you can enroll in a college master's program and obtain an F-1 student visa.

• Market yourself creatively. Post your resume on various online job sites.

• Look for jobs in growing sectors, such as biotechnology, as well as in secure traditional sectors, such as insurance and health care. If you can't find work directly in IT, become a teacher. There are thousands of teaching jobs, especially in science and math.

• Protect your last dollars. Start by bargaining with your employer, who, for instance, is supposed to buy your return ticket home. And know when to give up. Don't waste your savings by staying in the U.S. if odds are that you'll have to return home anyway. The dollar goes much further abroad than it does here.

• Be on the lookout for new income opportunities. See if your spouse can find work or attend school to learn a new profession. Or consider moonlighting or freelancing.

• Consider emigrating to Canada, Germany or Australia, all of which offer wide options or benefits for foreign workers.

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Copyright © 2001 IDG Communications, Inc.

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