Switching Jobs on H1B Visa

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How do I switch jobs on an H1B? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. If you are familiar with the H1B, which is the employment non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to work in the United States, you know, most likely that there’s a lottery. So every year, there are more people who want a work visa than there are work visas available. Congress has kept that number and it’s been set at the same number since the early nineties, and they haven’t done anything to increase that number. And so there’s an over demand for these H1B visas.

And that means that if you get selected in the lottery and you obtain an H1B, you actually become a very valuable person because now a new employer can hire you and they can hire you with certainty, knowing that you are going to be able to get your H1B. You’re not going to have to go through a lottery. So once you’re through that lottery, once you have what’s called counted against the cap, which means that you won’t have to count against the cap for the rest of those six years of eligibility on that H1B, that makes you very attractive to employers. So if you want to switch your job, the new employer is going to have to file for a labor LC from the labor certification, from the Department of Labor. And they’re going to have to get the prevailing wage determination so that they can figure out what your salary should be. And then the employer is going to have to file an I129.

Now in the old day, switching jobs on an H1B was very simple, but now it’s become much harder. The Trump administration is using transfers or extensions to really hit people over the head and try to deny these transfers. So you probably going to want to wait to change jobs until you actually have the approval notice. Sometimes you can get premium processing. Sometimes you can’t. USCIS turns that on and off like a switch, but it might be in your best interest to wait until your H1B transfer gets approved. And we call it a transfer, but it’s not really a transfer. The new employer is filing an entirely new H1B application. It’s just that you don’t count against the cap. So, like I said, you become very valuable at that point. You’re a much more attractive candidate, because as long as the employer can get your case through on the new H1B application, you’re going to be fine and you’re not going to count against the cap. So that, and you’re not going to have to go through the lottery. So that’s something that most employers really, really like.

If you need help switching employers, or if you’re an employer wanting to hire someone with an H1B where they have it already, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. It’s called Immigrant Home. We’d love to have you in there. We share immigration news in there every day. We also have this YouTube channel that you should subscribe to so you get updates whenever we make videos, just like this one. Thanks a lot and we’ll see you next time.

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