Coronavirus recession and suspension of H1b premium processing has created a new type of uncomfortable situation for legal visa workers. Those looking to change H1B employers are scared to join a new company based on USCIS receipt.
They are afraid of their future job loss or the possible transfer denial by USCIS. It is certainly not an easy decision.
Can H1B work for 2 employers simultaneously one on receipt and other on approved H1B petition?
The answer is No unless you have a concurrent H1B approval. Employer B has to be informed about Employer A’s H1B. This is because Employer B has to specifically mention it in the H1B application that is ‘CONCURRENT‘ H1B.
Most H1B worker’s intention is to move to a new employer after the new petition is approved and have a cushion of job safety.
There is no simple solution to this complex problem. USCIS has not given any relief and your only option is to either delay joining the new employer until H1B transfer is approved or join by leaving the current company.
My suggestion is to wait for transfer approval during the current economic turmoil. I advise preferring job stability over an increased salary.
If your current employer has no new project for you and you fear lay off, then you will be eligible for 60 days of legal stay to find a new H1B sponsor.
Choose the new company in a more stable business area like healthcare, medical insurance, e-commerce, e-education, and similar.
Many people have already been laid off in April immediately after they got the news of lottery selection. This trend will increase as long as the forced stay-at-home orders are active. A weak quarter until June end will certainly result in multiple new projects to be shelved.
Working for two H1B employers is not allowed until you have concurrent H1B approval.
Do note that your H1B is approved based on a certain number of hours per week of work.
As soon as you join a new employer, they report your employment to USCIS by filling form I-9. Do not remain under the illusion that USCIS will not get to know your new employment start date.
Your payroll will leave traces of information too as taxes are reported to IRS using your SSN.
Is it worth taking the risk?
I don’t suggest to take the risk. It is better to stay on right side of law.
It is possible that many people would have already tried this overlap of H1B jobs especially the contractors.
We have not heard of any specific problem if you do multiple jobs for a short period of 1-4 weeks.
Over and above a month could ring a bell in USCIS ears and you may or may not face issues in future H1B extensions. It’s your luck.
USCIS is not the only agency that you need to be aware of. US embassy is also very strict and may hand you over form 221g if they suspect any foul play with the Immigration laws.
I will update the page again as and when I get new information. I will also try to speak to an attorney and update their view shortly.