Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The dangers of using the term "H-1B transfer"

A few days ago, a client asked about changing jobs while in H-1B status. He asked if, when changing from employer A to employer B, he needed to file a new petition, or whether he could simply "transfer" his H-1B. 

His question made me wonder if he understood the requirements involved.  In particular, he seemed to think that changing H-1B jobs required no new filings or petitions. 

This understanding is incorrect. For this reason, I strongly recommend that you avoid talking about "transferring" H-1B.  An H-1B petition is specific to a particular employer and particular job. Therefore, that petition has no relevance with regard to a different employer. That is, the new employer will have to file a new petition for that employee and show that the employee and job do qualify for H-1B status.

On the other hand, changes in the immigration laws in recent years DO provide for "portability" of H-1B between jobs and employers. In a future post, I will talk about portability, and times you should consider or else avoid it.