H-1B visa holders may work for multiple employers at a time, says USCIS

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Although it is not a new rule, generally, it is assumed by the beneficiaries that they can work for only one employer during their H-1B visa status.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) tweeted on Tuesday that highly-skilled foreign workers on H-1B visas can work for more than one employer at a time.

“In general, H-1B workers may work for more than one employer but must have approved I-129 for each. New employer must submit an I-129 petition before you may begin working,” the immigration agency reminds beneficiaries.

In addition, each employer must also file a separate labor condition application.

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Form I-129, USCIS website elaborates, is used, “For petitioners filing on behalf of a nonimmigrant worker to come to the United States temporarily to perform services or labor, or to receive training, as an H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1 or R-1 nonimmigrant worker. Petitioners may also use this form to request an extension of stay in or change of status to E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B1 or TN, or one of the above classifications for a foreign national.”

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Every year 65,000 H-1B visas are issued to foreign workers. In addition, 20,000 of the work-visas are issued under the advanced degree exemption, also called the master’s cap. “US businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require specialized knowledge,” the website explains.

It is pertinent to mention here that there is a provision that allows a foreign worker to work outside the annual quota mentioned above. According to USCIS, this exemption may be exercised if the alien is, “employed (or has received an offer of employment) at “an institution of higher education, a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization (hereinafter a “qualifying institution”).”