Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Changes for H-1B visa holders who move job sites

According to a recent ruling by the Administrative Appeals Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, if an employee on an H-1B visa is moved to a new location by the employer, that employer must file a new labor condition application. This decision came as a result of a situation in which an employee who was hired to work in a particular metropolitan statistical area in Southern California was supposed to be transferred after two months to a different work site in another MSA.

During a consular visa application interview, the plan arose, and as a result, USCIS revoked its approval of the petition. This decision was upheld by the AAO.

In general, it was not understood by businesses, that such a move required another application for H-1B visa holders. However, USCIS has also made the decision retroactive. Employers have until Aug. 19, 2015 to file an amended petition. This is not necessary for moves that are in the same metropolitan statistical area, for moves that are short-term or for moves that are to a non-worksite locations. Penalties may include sanctions, and employees whose employers have not complied will lose their status.

Situations such as these demonstrate the complexity of immigration law. Aspects of it may be poorly understood by both employers and employees, or there may be changes in how the law is interpreted. As a result, it may be advisable to work with an immigration attorney. Even in the case of an employee or employer who has past experience dealing with immigration issues, laws may have changed.

The consequences of failing to keep up with current immigration policy may be severe and might include a loss of visa status. An attorney may be able to keep abreast of current immigration laws and ensure that such a situation does not arise.

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