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Immigration Reform Bring H1B Visa Porting Back Into Focus

In early August, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg attended the screening of a film about the struggle of life as an undocumented immigrant in the United States. Mr. Zuckerberg took the opportunity to speak about his stance on immigration reform and labor issues.

Mr. Zuckerberg is very familiar with the H-1B visa experience; after all, his company is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, a region known to attract immigrants highly skilled in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In addition to supporting immigration reform, Mr. Zuckerberg recently founded a working group to help undocumented immigrants get on the path to U.S. residence and citizenship.

Understanding H-1B Portability and Switching Employers

The topic of porting H-1B visas for the purpose of changing employers in the U.S. is seldom talked about. Since the early 1990s, the U.S. has benefited from the able work of highly skilled foreign employees under the H-1B program. These foreign workers have helped form multi-million dollar companies such as eBay and Google.

Since the H-1B visa in San Diego and throughout the nation is typically obtained along with an offer of employment by a company based in the U.S., some people might think that they are not able to change employers under the program. Since the year 2000, however, H-1B visa holders have been granted portability and the opportunity to change employers while they are in the U.S.

It is important to note that the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act does not set a cap on the number of times an immigrant worker can port his or her H-1B visa over to a new job An H-1B recipient working for Facebook, for example, may go to work for Google as soon as the new employer files the proper H-1B petition.

Although there is no cap or limit on the number of companies that the H-1B recipient can work for during the length of his or her stay in the U.S., there are a few requirements that require careful attention. For this reason, H-1B visa holders who wish to switch jobs should retain professional assistance from a professional immigration law firm in San Diego.

June 2017
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