Change in Employment Status for H-1B
The H-1B is employer-specific, job-specific, and location-specific. Any change in the terms and conditions of employment or job title must be reported to International Scholars Operations (ISO) and will require filing a new H-1B petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the change can occur.
Change of title
Because the H-1B is “job specific,” a change of job title must be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org and a petition to amend the H-1B must be filed with USCIS prior to the title change. Exceptions to this requirement may be granted on a case-by-case basis when the change is from Acting Assistant Professor, pending PhD (0123) to Assistant Professor (0116). Please contact ISO to discuss.
Change of worksite
Federal law permits an H-1B employee to work only at the worksite address listed on the Labor Condition Application (LCA) the UW filed with USCIS. If a change in worksite is anticipated, contact ISO well in advance of the worksite change. If the new worksite is within the geographic area of employment supported by the existing LCA, a copy of the LCA must be posted in two prominent locations at the new location for 10 business days. (“Geographic area” is the area within normal commuting distance of the worksite listed on the LCA.) However, if the new worksite is outside the geographic area of employment supported by the LCA, the UW must either file a new LCA and I-129 (with filing fee) for the new worksite, or utilize the “short-term placement” rules. Under the short-term placement rules, ISO may authorize the employing UW department to place an H-1B worker for a period of up to 30 days (in some situations 60 days) at a worksite outside the area of employment listed on the current LCA without filing a new LCA, provided several conditions are met, including payment of the required wage plus lodging, travel, meals and associated expenses. In all circumstances, contact email@example.com before placing an H-1B employee at a new worksite.
Change of UW department
A change of department may necessitate filing a new H-1B petition with USCIS. The UW may be able to avoid this if: 1) the appointment title does not change; 2) there is no gap in paid employment; 3) the employee does not receive a reduction in salary; and 4) there are no changes in job duties. If all four of these conditions apply, send ISO a memo describing the proposed changes. ISO will determine whether filing a new petition is required.
Reductions in salary or FTE
Reductions in salary or FTE below the rate reported to USCIS on the H-1B petition are not permissible.
An H-1B generally maintains lawful visa status in the US only when maintaining paid employment. Before approving an unpaid leave for an employee in H-1B status, contact ISO.
In general, the UW will only grant H-1B employees unpaid leave for situations required by law, such as Family Medical Leave Act and state Family Care Act (“covered leaves”). Any leave granted in one of these situations must be thoroughly documented in advance.
The UW will not allow employees to remain in UW-sponsored H-1B status while on a personal, unpaid non-covered leave.
Outside professional activities
Although UW employees in H-1B status may have opportunities to give lectures at other institutions or conferences, they cannot receive honoraria or derive other monetary or material gain for such activities. Scholars presented with such opportunities should contact ISO ahead of time to confirm that the activities are permitted by the terms of their H-1B status.
Resignations and terminations / Return Transportation
The UW’s petition to USCIS represents a firm commitment by the University to fully fund the H-1B for the entire period of time requested.
- The employing department must notify ISO of an H-1B’s resignation date or termination date. ISO will inform the Department of Labor and USCIS that the employment has ended. The UW is liable for continued wage and benefit obligation up to the time the notice is received by USCIS.
- If the employee is dismissed from employment for any reason before the end of the period of authorized stay, the employing department must offer in writing to pay the beneficiary’s return transportation costs to the last place of foreign residence.
- A grace period of up to 60 days may be available from the Department of Homeland Security, but is not automatic or guaranteed. If you are interested in this grace period, please contact a private immigration attorney to discuss.
Change of employer
A “portability” provision in the H-1B regulations allows an applicant who is already in H-1B status to begin working for a new employer as soon as that employer receives from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) the I-797 Receipt Notice for the new petition. An employee moving from one US employer to another who wishes to take advantage of H-1B portability must not leave his or her current paid job until the new employer’s H-1B petition has been received by USCIS. For more information about portability, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, the H-1B may depart the US and re-enter under the sponsorship of the new employer as described in How to sponsor an H1-B.