AC-21 (ACWIA) was passed by Congress to bring business immigration into the 21st Century. It recognized the speed of modern business and deemed that an H-1B Employee can change employer and work for the new employer, “upon filing” of the H-1B case. The AC-21 law did not define “filing” and common law dictates that “filing” is done when the petition is dropped in the mail. The law also created fees ($750 for employers under 25 employees, and $1500 for employers with more than 25 employees) to educate the American workforce to reduce foreign dependence.
Citizenship and Immigration Service has slowly chipped away at the AC-21 law. If the employee changes jobs and the subsequent petition is denied, then the employee does lose status. Usually such petitions were filed under Premium Processing and the results were received within two weeks.
However, since September 11, 2018, the Citizenship and Immigration Service took out Premium Processing for Change of Employer and new H-1B cases. As of now it is scheduled to start again from February 19th 2019This does put the employee at risk of losing status if the petition is denied. At the same time, business in the 21st Century does not wait for Citizenship and Immigration Service to take forever.
The Ombudsman, who is a liaison between the public and Citizenship and Immigration Service is having a conference with the public on November 01, which I will be attending (via phone) and will input my comments on this issue.
So the question becomes can an employer reasonably wait for that length of time? If the employer does not wait, the options are:
- Take a risk and jump ship. Usually if the offer is from a large company, the petition should get approved
- Stay with the present company and risk losing the job
The answer will depend on: TAKE RISK IF:
- Are you working in house?
- The petitioner is a Large Company?
DO NOT TAKE RISK IF:
- Your petition is filed by a computer consulting company, and especially if the end client is not a direct client. However even in this scenario, it will depend on what type of document is produced.
Contact Banerjee & Associates for more information