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Changing employment during your visa application

Many people and families come to the United States for better opportunities, education or lives in general. For those seeking to stay here permanently, obtaining an employment visa is a common way to accomplish this.

However, the process of obtaining a visa can be long, and over time, things may change. If you have begun your visa application and are considering changing jobs, there are a few important things you should know.

The sponsorship process

In most cases, an employer applies for an employment visa for a potential employee. Before the employer begins the application process, the employer and potential employee come to an agreement that the employee will receive a full-time position upon receipt of approval of the visa. As such, it is understandable how switching employers during this process can be problematic. However, it is not impossible.

American competitiveness provisions

The American Competitiveness of the Twenty-First Century Act, or AC21, provides regulations by which employers may seek to employ immigrant workers, and immigrant workers may be able to seek better positions and job opportunities. This act affords certain parties to be able to transfer jobs during their visa application should they fit in one of a few categories:

  • EB-1 Outstanding Researcher
  • EB-1 Multinational Manager
  • EB-2
  • EB-3 Worker

This is the first requirement, but it is not the end-all-be-all. Applicants must also meet all portability requirements of the law, such as the new job being the same or similar to the current position. The application must also be and stay in compliance with immigration law as well. Therefore, the employment visa application must be in process for at least 180 days, but the applicant’s current visa must also be in good standing.

Understanding these things may help you in your decision about your employment status during your visa application. It may also benefit you to review the applicable laws and the application process in full to determine how it will affect your situation.