Moved to the US 6 months ago on a temporary work visa and the company paid for all the costs associated with the move. I have a 2 year relocation agreement in the contract, however I want to quit and travel the world. During my travels, I will not have a permanent address or phone number. I am not a US citizen and I do not wish to return to the US. If I choose not to pay back the relocation costs, what options does the company have, considering I will be leaving the US with no intent of returning? Is there a statute of limitations on the debt? If yes, than for how long?

  • you will struggle to get a reference from them that is worth much. a company can make a claim against you in the US that will impact your credit score there. they can pursue damages in your home region as well, and which is not unlikely as they probably have a presence there too. relocation costs can be high, why are you so keen to leave abruptly? – bharal Apr 14 '18 at 23:18
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    This is realistically a question that you'd want to talk to a lawyer who can look at the actual agreement and talk to you about where you might decide to live/ travel in the future. Whether a civil judgement in the US would be recognized by a court wherever you do end up living is well outside the scope of what we can answer here. – Justin Cave Apr 15 '18 at 0:50
  • One thing that will happen is that your last paycheck will be for $0. Companies will reduce your final paycheck by any outstanding debts you may have with them. This is also done to payback the company if they allowed to to go negative in the paid time off account. – mhoran_psprep Apr 15 '18 at 11:30

This is a remarkably bad idea.

If you have the resources to quit and travel the world after giving them only six months of work, expect to get sued. Failing to pay and failing to show up to court might get you a charge of contempt of court. This will charge may show up on background checks for the rest of your life. You've lived in the US for six months now, so getting work visas in many places may require you to list your stay in the US.

Work for 18 months more, then travel or just pay them back.

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First, don't expect to receive another work visa from the United States. And don't expect to receive a good reference from your employer.

During all this time, also expect your friends and family you've listed on your job application to receive frequent phone calls to find out where you are currently located.

"In most states, the statute of limitations period on debts is between three and 10 years; in some states, the period is longer," according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Just be sure to pay any student loans or outstanding taxes. Those will follow you until you die. Ideally, you should consult a tax professional for that part. If you're going to disappear, you don't want to potentially leave a tax bill behind.

And I'm not a lawyer, but I must disagree with Glen Pierce. They can't charge you with contempt of court if they can't find you to legally serve you the court papers.

In any case, why are you changing your plans so suddenly? Or were you planning to do this all along? As a foreign worker on a work visa, it's very easy to be placed in a really bad situation and to feel that you have no rights. That being said, you do have rights. Whether you've been lied to, bullied, discriminated against, sexually harassed, or misrepresented to potential clients, or have a family emergency/health issues, or have been mistreated in some way, you do have workers rights that may be able to help you nullify the repayment obligation you were given.

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  • outstanding taxes If the OP's employer doesn't know where to send his W-2 form, how can he file the income tax? The OP's future employer may send the OP to the US for some business meeting/conference two years from now, how should OP tell his employer he cannot go back to the US? – scaaahu Apr 15 '18 at 5:31
  • it's the government that should owe him money I am not a tax lawyer. But, I think company paid relocation expense is income. – scaaahu Apr 16 '18 at 4:54
  • @scaaahu, you're actually right it seems. It would be non-taxable if he remained a full-time employee for 12 months after the move, but since he'd only work 6 months, it wouldn't qualify anymore as non-taxable. I suppose I should add the suggestion to consult a tax professional for the tax question. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 16 '18 at 7:26
  • And the new law (from this link ) says: all moving expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2018, whether reimbursed to an individual or paid to a vendor on behalf of an individual, are taxable income to the individual. – scaaahu Apr 16 '18 at 7:34
  • My intension was not about you. I want the OP understand his plan could cause himself big trouble. – scaaahu Apr 16 '18 at 8:00

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