During the H1B visa holder’s term of stay, there is also the possibility of changing employer. According to the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 1998 (AC21), special provisions are made for H1B workers to change jobs. This portability allows employees already on H1B status to move jobs without losing status. The new employer must file an H1B on behalf of the employee, and the H1B visa holder must retain their valid status and employment until the new petition is filed and approved. This same AC21 Act allows H1B holders to extend their status past 6 years, without having to leave the country. In order to qualify, the H1B worker must have applied for permanent residence status and meet some specific requirements outside the scope of this article. These AC21 benefits are applied for through the regular H1B extension application, and are meant to help H1B workers avoid elongated processing waits that put status at risk.
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