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New decisions about H-1B visas and employee moves

Pennsylvania employers may not be required to file a new or amended petition for employees who are on an H-1B visa and who moved to another geographic location if the move occurred prior to April 9, 2015, but the new clarification of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is ambiguous on the topic. More clearly, it states that after August 19, before an employee on an H-1B visa who is moved to a new location can begin working, a new or amended petition must be filed for that employee.

Another new clarification states that if the move happened between April 9 and August 19, the employer has until Jan. 15, 2016, to file the new or amended petition. The prior deadline was August 19.

Although the USCIS says it is unlikely to pursue cases in which moves occurred prior to April 9, their clarification does not mean that revocations, requests for evidence or other notices related to H-1B visas and moves prior to July 21 will be dismissed. Furthermore, certain situations may not require a new or amended petition does not. A move within the same Metropolitan Statistical Area may not although an employee may transfer to a nearby location that is actually in a different MSA.

An employer may decide not to file an amended petition on the behalf of an employee who moved before April 9, but that still may leave the employee vulnerable. On the other hand, an employer may wonder whether it is worth the effort of filing a petition for an employee who moved earlier in the year. In both cases, individuals may wish to consult an attorney. The complexity of immigration employment law and the rapidity of change demonstrated by this decision means that both employers and employees may not always be aware of the most up-to-date information.

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