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  My employer brought me to the United States on an employment based visa, and now I want to transfer to a new company. Can I change jobs without it affecting my immigration status

My employer brought me to the United States on an employment based visa, and now I want to transfer to a new company. Can I change jobs without it affecting my immigration status?

Every fiscal year, thousands of individuals are granted visas to enter into the United States for employment. Various employers seeking to employ a wide range of individuals, from highly specialized and skilled workers, religious workers, or international entertainers, submit petitions to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to secure domestic employment opportunities for some of their most talented international employees. However, there are instances when a foreign national employee may seek to change jobs after working in the U.S. for a specific employer.  So, what happens if an employee seeks to move their talent to a new employer? And is it possible to do so?

In short, it is possible to change employers. Additionally, it is possible to change employers even after an employer has petitioned for you to remain in the U.S as their employee on a permanent basis.  However, the process differs depending on what type of temporary non-immigrant work visa you currently hold, and whether your current employment serves as the basis for a pending application for permanent residence, also known as a green card. Thus, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prepare for the transition.  

It is important that once you have negotiated the terms of employment with your prospective employer, that employers file the respective petition for the employee as soon as possible. Most employers are required to submit new petitions for the transferring employee prior to the start date of their new employment.  Processing times can vary depending on the number of petitions being processed by the adjudicating service center, but employers can expect processing times of approximately three to six months. There are expedited options available for certain employment based visas.

Once an employer has identified a prospective worker, it is important for the employer to contact a qualified attorney to assist with filing any applicable petitions and advising on legal requirements and expectations that extend far beyond the petition.  Daniels & Smith represents both employers and employees during this complicated process. Let us help you ensure a smooth transition to your new employment!

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