When can I quit my job?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in Saint Louis, Missouri.
We have some great members of our leads team and one of them, Ellen, she likes to feed me questions that she gets a lot from callers and in fact, Laura C. in our office chimed in today that this is a question we hear a lot.
So this is a scenario where people have applied for an H-1B and have received the benefit, or they’ve applied for a green card and they’ve received the employment-based green card and they want to know when can I leave?
I believe the technical answer is you could leave as soon as you get the benefits sought. In other words, once you get that H-1B, from an immigration standpoint, you’re a free agent and you could leave. If you have a new employer, who’s willing to sponsor you for a “transfer” or a another H-1B.
When you’ve been awarded an H-1B and you’ve counted against the cap, then you’re going to be more valuable because employers know that you don’t count against the cap, that you don’t have to go through the lottery because you’ve already counted against the cap and so a lot of times people wonder, well, if I get my H-1B and I leave right away, what’s going to happen?
Well, number one, the employer might come after you for some of the costs or all the costs associated. They can’t try to penalize you, but you know, sometimes people sign contracts about the H-1B and you might have the HR people come after you for the money that they spent, the legal fees and the filing fees that they spent, in getting you that H1B. That’s certainly fair. That’s whether you have a contract or not. They could come after you for those costs.
So, I think a rule of reason would be about a year. It depends on if there’s a contract. Where there’s a contract, that’s different, but most employers that I’ve come across are cognizant of that and they’re a little bit concerned about it. That’s one of the reasons why they don’t necessarily want to sponsor someone for an H-1B.
And the same theory sort of goes for the green card. So if an employer has stood by you and renewed your H-1B and filed all these forms for you, I don’t think it’s good form or the right thing to do, to just leave right away as soon as you get the green card. But if you do get the green card, I think staying around for a while, so at least the employer feels like they got their money’s worth is a good thing.
Now, of course, sometimes people have terrible bosses or they’re in a bad situation, or they have to move, things like that. That’s a separate scenario, but you’re always going to want to think what are my contractual obligations? Do I have an agreement to pay back any fees? And if I don’t, am I still liable or open for those fees?
Now, like I said, they can’t come after you to penalize you. They can’t try to make you pay more than they themselves paid to try to keep you there. But at the same time, they can’t come after you for their actual out-of-pocket costs.
So if you have questions about this, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info at hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home and if you liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel, so that you get updates whenever we make videos, just like this one.
Thanks a lot. Have a nice day.