Johns Hopkins Employee Had to Leave U.S. without Chance for Visa Renewal
December 5, 2018
To the surprise of many of her friends, last month Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel was forced to leave her job of five years as digital scholarship specialist in the Hopkins Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University. Her colleagues were shocked, as they believed that this was something that “only happened to Mexicans.”
Mahoney-Steel had come to the United States from England on an H-1B visa for work. What surprised many, aside from the fact that this could happen to someone besides a minority group, was that she offered specialized skills and knowledge, not easily replaced. She worked in technology and humanities with expertise in medieval studies, in which she has a doctorate.
Applying for the Renewal of an H-1B Visa
In May she submitted the forms that are required for the renewal of her H-1B visa, something that the university led her to believe was a simple formality.
However, despite thinking that everything was fine, Mahoney-Steel was called into a meeting with human resources and the Office of International Services. Not only did they inform her that her visa was not renewed, but that the university had never even submitted the paperwork needed for it.
The university chose not to submit the paperwork, because it believed that under the Trump Administration her job would no longer be considered to fulfill the criteria of a specialist occupation. They did not even try, as they were concerned that if the application were rejected, it would reflect negatively on the university.
Forced to Return Home
Mahoney-Steel was then told that she did not have a grace period, and had to return to her home country of England immediately. If she did not do so, she would be severely penalized.
Married to an American citizen, she was the only source of income for the couple once her husband became ill. That is why they did not have the money to hire an immigration attorney, or to apply for a green card.
Additionally, the university failed to offer the couple any financial help, paying only for her return flight, though it cost more and took longer than a green card would have.
The couple decided that Mahoney-Steel would return to England and that her husband would follow her there soon after. A statement from Johns Hopkins was provided to its staff claiming that the Sheridan Libraries, as well as the JHU Office of International Services, had worked to assist Mahoney-Steel. The statement called her leave as “a great loss to the Sheridan Libraries, and to our Johns Hopkins faculty members and students.”
Although Mahoney-Steel finds Hopkins’ statement to be absurd, she says that she has felt uplifted by the kindness of her American friends and colleagues.
The Experienced Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Assist with Visa Renewal Issues
If you or someone you love is being or has been forced to leave the United States based on immigration rules and regulations, or if you have questions pertaining to renewing legal immigration status, time is of the essence. For a free consultation, call Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC today at 215-496-0690 or contact us online. We represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the tri-state area.