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Can your employer fire you for an arrest if you have a work visa?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Employment Immigration |

Work visas allow thousands of people born in other countries to live in the United States while working a job. An employer can sponsor you to come into the country to work.

You may be able to extend your visa once you arrive. Some people who entered the United States on a work visa eventually become permanent residents and even naturalized citizens. Work visas can help you bring your family to the United States as well. Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may qualify to travel with a visa holder.

Unfortunately, that might mean that not just you but also your entire family is at risk of removal from the United States after you get arrested. Can your employer fire you just because of a criminal arrest?

There are limits on arrests related job penalties in Pennsylvania

Employers in Pennsylvania have the right to perform background checks and to have expectations for the behavior of their workers. However, an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. Those arrested and even charged with a crime still have the presumption of innocence.

Simply getting arrested should not affect your employment on its own. If you miss multiple days of work because of an arrest, your employer might terminate you for that. The same is true of an arrest that affects your professional licensing.

If an arrest does not lead to charges and doesn’t make you miss work, it should not have an impact on your employment status. It also shouldn’t affect your ability to get another job later. 

Immigrants should never take their protections for granted

Some companies will engage in bad behavior toward immigrant workers. They often assume that those from other countries won’t stand up for their rights or even know them.

Learning about what protects you as someone arrested for an offense is important. When you know your rights as an employee, it will be harder for your employer to violate their contract with you or engage in discrimination after an arrest.

Those facing criminal charges with a work visa often need to be careful in their response to those charges. The more you understand about your work-based immigration rights and the penalties possible, the better prepared you become to make big decisions.


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