Working in the United States is a dream for many foreign nationals as it provides them with various employment opportunities they may not have access to in their home countries. When U.S. employers cannot find citizens with the necessary skill sets to perform specific jobs, they can opt for foreign hiring programs. Obtaining an H-1B visa and landing a job in the U.S. can be taxing and time-consuming, but once you achieve it, it can feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. However, you may be curious about what happens if you want to or have to switch jobs at some point while holding an employment-based visa. Please continue reading to learn whether you can change employers while on a work visa and how a knowledgeable Middlesex County, New Jersey, Business Immigration Lawyer can help you navigate your legal options.
How can I change jobs while on an H-1B work visa?
Firstly, the H-1B visa is a temporary work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire professionals for specialty occupations that require specialized knowledge in a particular field, such as medicine, education, math, science, engineering, and more. If you have been issued an H-1B visa, it’s imperative to note that changing jobs is permitted. However, strict rules and regulations must be followed to switch jobs on an H-1B visa.
For an H-1B visa job change, you must secure a whole new visa, following the same steps and procedures as you did with your initial application with USCIS. Essentially, you cannot switch jobs on an H-1b visa. However, you can transfer your H-1B visa to a new employer after you’ve restarted the application process. This means that if you want a new job, you will have to start a new application by:
- Finding a new employer that is willing to sponsor you.
- Have the future employer submit the Labor Conditions Approval (LCA) outlining the conditions of your new position.
- Have the future employer submit Form I-129 with support documents and pay the application fees.
- Wait for approval.
Fortunately, as a foreign worker, you have a legal pathway to switching jobs on an H-1B visa. While visa holders need to file a new H-1B visa petition for a change of employer, they can also opt to undergo a different process called H-1B visa transfer. They may change their employer by applying for an H-1B transfer. However, they must accept the new job offer on their valid H-1B visa. Since you already have a visa and are in the U.S., the H-1B transfer can be a little smoother and more straightforward as there are no visa caps, and you can begin working at the new employer once you’ve received proof that the new petition has been filed.
If you’re considering the H-1B visa transfer process, contact an experienced lawyer from the Law Office of Aditya Surti, LLC, who can help you evaluate your legal options and guide you through the process ahead to change jobs legally on an H-1B visa.