AC21 H-1 Portability FAQs

Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on immigration.com

AC21 Job Portability

Authored on: Thu, 04/15/2021 - 05:25

Question

Previously I was on H1B when my I-140 was approved. Currently I am on H4 status, not employed and my priority date became current.
Previous employer has provided Supplement J and I have filed I-485, I-765, I-131 concurrently. The Supplement J indicates (#9 in Part 6) I am not currently employed with the sponsoring employer.

Q1) Upon receiving AOS EAD, can I directly join a new employer after 180 days of pending I-485 if sponsoring employer doesn't have any open position?

Q2) Can I start searching for new job before 180 days of pending I-485, but join after 180 days? Or, I must have to start searching and interviewing for new job, only after 180 days?

Q3) At the time of filing AOS, my Supplement J indicated that I am not currently employed with the sponsoring employer. If I join the sponsoring employer upon receiving EAD, then do I have to send USCIS new Supplement J indicating that I am now employed with the sponsoring employer, knowing that it might take a decade for my Final Action Date to become current and I may not be employed with the sponsoring employer at the time of GC interview?

Q4) What if I need to change my employer after GC interview, but before receiving GC?

Q5) I heard, after 180 days of pending I-485, even if I change my job couple of times, I can take the Supplement J only from the employer with whom I will be working at the time of GC interview. But can I still send new Supplement J to USCIS from each employers everytime I change my job? Is that legally allowed? or, is there any concern? Because, it might take a decade for my Final Action Date to become current and within that timeframe I might have to change job 2-3 times.

Answer

Video URL

Citizenship for Employees of Consulting Companies who have Projects in Different Cities after Green Card

Authored on: Tue, 12/04/2018 - 02:25

Question

My Question is after getting green card and leaving consulting employer after 14 months, when person applies for US Citizenship (8 years after getting green card) can USCIS ( knowing that sponsoring company was consulting) asks for client letter, contracts ( like H-1B documentation ) for the period when employee was working with GC employer( after GC approved) ?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

Citizenship for employees of consulting companies

who have projects in different cities after green card

Video Transcript

First of all, remember the laws has changed since 2017. Now supplement J has become an issue. Previously, when you did a AC21 shift of jobs, there were no filings required. So in older cases even if you don't join the employer, chances are that you are in a pretty good shape. Another thing that I always consider to be important and it often doesn't come up is your state of mind. Green card is based upon an intention of an employee to join an employer on a permanent full time basis either before or after the approval of the green card. I do want you to take a consultation and I want you to spend some time with a lawyer to go over your situation and make sure there's nothing else that's going to be bothersome. More...

 

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

H-1B 60 days grace period explained

Authored on: Tue, 05/09/2017 - 04:50

Question

Lost job recently. Was working on H1B. I am trying to understand how much time I have effectively to find another job and have the H1B filed by next employer. Is it necessary that the H1B “start date” in the I-129 petition be within the 60-day mark ( the grace period) from the last day of job in order for USCIS to grant H1B approval after a layoff?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1B 60 days grace period explained

Video Transcript

The 60 day grace period is not a right, it is something you ask the government for. If you got unexpectedly laid off or something of that nature happened beyond your control you can request the government when to file for an H-1 transfer even though you were out of status for 45 to 50 days. You should request the government to give you status without having to leave the USA.  Once you file the application and get a receipt you can start working. AC21 does protect you under this rule. More


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

How does H-1 60 day grace period work?

Authored on: Mon, 03/20/2017 - 09:31

Question

I am working on H-1B. The job will end in a few weeks. What are the implications of the "60 day grace period" rule that has been created recently?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: How does H-1 60 day grace period work?

Video Transcript:

The 60 day grace period is available to you for each H-1 episode whether it is an extension, amendment or a transfer. When they proposed the regulation, it was supposed to be one time 60 day grace period, but then government relented and made it available for each H-1 incident.

For some extraordinary reasons like, you got laid off without any notice and you found a job in the next 40-45 days you can apply for a transfer. You cannot start working until you have applied for the transfer, using the AC21 you can start working until the decision is made and if the decision is made and they give you concession then you can get your H-1 within USA.

Hence the 60 day period is available for each episode of H-1, two it is not automatic, you have to ask for it and three you can start working once you apply for the H-1.More...

 

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

The Proposed I-140 EAD Rule - FAQ's

Authored on: Mon, 01/11/2016 - 07:23

Question

Answer

Question 1: Redo the PERM or just the I-140. If redoing the PERM again then what's new in this regulation? 

Answer: After 180 days, you can extend H-1 even if 140 is withdrawn.

Question 2: It seems that there is no easy provision for EAD/AP for approved 140 applicants. So is there any point in waiting for this rule or Should I consider Visa stamping is only option for traveling outside US? Please suggest as I waited for a year or long thought they are going to give AP.

Answer: Your observation about EAD/AP is correct- no easier. I will be surprised if USCIS changes these proposed rules in any significant manner when they finalize.

Question 3: If I have consumed my 6 years of H-1B and I have approved I-140. If I go to India and of some reason I got stuck in India. After a while I want some other employer to file my H-1B petition other then with approved I-140 employer. Do the new employer can apply for my new H1b cap exempt petition based on approved i-140 from my old employer. OR New H-1B petition from the new employer comes under H-1 cap count?

Answer: You have raised two separate issues. One, the I-140 can be used to extend your H-1 through ANY employer, if it is not withdrawn within 180 days of approval. Two, you are exempt from H-1 cap if your H-1 was approved any time within the last 6 years.

Question 4: Is there any provision for promotions internally within a company that filed the petition and the I-140 is approved more than 180 days previously?

Answer: These regs will only clarify (I am not sure they really do that) what "same or similar" jobs are. That concept is crucial when your I-140 has been approved and I-485 has been pending 180 days. At that time, you can accept a same or similar job anywhere, including within the same company, and NOT have to start your green card all over again. That comes under the topic of AC21 portability.

Question 5: Is direct portability of I-140 across multiple employers, ever possible. because I-140 is a property of the Employer and not the Employee (unlike 1-485) ?.Can we suggest any other creative options, of working around this legal hurdle. a. Can PERM be made portable across multiple employers. So employees donot have to go through the hassle of the PERM filing, repeatedly. This will save, almost 4 months of pre PERM filing effort and another 8-10 months of PERM processing window.

b. Or, can the I 140 be made an Employee’s property after 180 days it is approved. If that can be done then portability of the same may be legally possible across different Employers

Answer: The Priority date IS the "property" of the employee, NOT of the employer. So, an employee can port it to any job, anywhere, any number of times. But, I do not think they are excusing us from having to refile the PERM.

Question 6: Does the 60 day grace period is accepted in this case; H-1 Ext filed before expiry of I-94, then Current H-1 and I-94 expired, then H-1 Ext denied. Can we use 60 day grace period for filing new H-1 with new employer? In what cases does this 10 day validity before and after petition dates is used. The 60-day grace period appears to apply only in those cases where an approved H-1 employment abruptly comes to an end. The proposed regs say, upto 60 days may be given: "on the basis of the cessation of the employment on which the alien’s classification was based".

Answer: The 10 days allow you enter (but, not work) upto 10 days before the date your "validity period" (approval of petition) begins, and another 10 days to leave the USA (but, not work), after that period ends.

Question 7: Emp A - I-140 Approved and Moved to Emp B. Got i-140 with Emp B and priority date retained. submitted Emp A Experience letter while fling PERM. Now I want to move to Emp C. Do I still need to get experience letter from Emp B? If I am not able to get experience letter from Emp B, Can Emp C file PERM. if so and filed new PERM and I-140 with Emp C, Can I still retain priority date even though if its not same or similar job?

Answer: There are two fundamental principles that you need to apply to your case:

1. Priority date transfer does NOT require that your jobs must be same or similar.

2. Experience letters are NOT required for priority date transfer or retention. 

Question 8: Now that it is clear that there is almost nothing much in the so called reform, how can the immigrant community represent themselves forcefully, while the public comment period is in place? I understand that each one of us can go and put our comments, but is your firm, or someone else, planning to represent us? For lack of proper words, these so called reforms are a piece of trash, and only done to pretend as if reforms are taking place. It could not be worse actually. 

Answer: There is a limit on what USCIS can do without action from the Congress. You can certainly write your comments and several organizations will place their comments on the record as well. NORMALLY, USCIS does not change the rules much once they have been proposed. I think US immigration policy in "skilled" immigration is distressingly short-sighted. Our adopted country does not recognize the value brought in by us.

Question 9: My I-140 already withdrawn/revoked after 180 days of initial approval date. Now after implements new rule, will it apply for my case to extend my H-1 beyond 6 years?

Answer: I cannot say for sure whether USCIS intends to apply these rules retroactively. I hope they do. 

Question 10: Can you comment on what date will this become effective ? Is it after the comment period is over?

Answer: The effective date is unpredictable. Usually, it is a few months after the comments are over. 

Question 11: I need to clarify regarding the I-140 EAD for H-4. If the principal applicant has I-140 approved but the priority date for that category and country in the visa bulletin is more than 10 years back, Can the dependents, such as H-4, apply for I-140 EAD without the documentation for compelling evidence? If no, what are the examples of compelling evidence?I think the regulation does very little incremental for the EB categories. As mentioned, it provides clarification rather than provide more flexibility to the household or family of EB categories. I am disappointed with the revisions that have been made.Also, the compelling evidence was not required till now. What happens to those H-4 EADs which were issued since USCIS started applications from May 27, 2015? How would those H-4 EADs which are approved on the basis of I-140 approval of principal applicant be dissolved?Also, if the spouse moves from H-4 to H-4 EAD. Can he/she move from H-4 EAD to H-1B or any other non-immigrant category? Does the form I-539 allows movement among all categories?

Answer: H-4 EAD does NOT require compelling evidence. That is a different rule: http://www.immigration.com/blogs/form-i-140-form-i-765/h-4-ead-rule-cont...

I-594 does allow movement between all categories. H-4 to H-1 is definitely no problem. I agree; I am not too thrilled with the regs. But there is a limit to what Pres. Obama can do, folks.