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Immigration Issues/changing jobs during greencard process

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Question
Hello Sir,
I first thank you for your time reading my email and giving me a free advise. This site has given me great piece of information and I thank all the advisors on board.
I do have a query that I need help with.

I am 29 year old physician practicing in texas. I am on H1 visa. I work at the hospital but am employed by the company. The way it works in texas is the company has contracts with various hospitals and they are responsible for greencard process.
I have presently applied for I 140 and waiting for its approval. My labor certificate is already approved.

1. How early can I switch jobs and the company? Somebody told me that after my I140 is approved, I could swtich jobs but my new employer has to file for new labor certification and a subsequent I 140 which means I will have to start the process all over again. But I also found out that my priority date remains the same though i start the process once again. Is this true? Anything else That I could do to make this process easier?

2. My other most important question is
I am planning to change my job to another hospital but with the same company? Its about 200 miles away but in the same state. Now I understand that because I am with the same company who sponsored my visa and not the current hospital that I work with, The process should be easier. And I am hoping that I dont have to file for a new labor certification and go through the process all over again. This second option sounds good to me but I want to know if there are any major hurdles.

I really appreciate your time and help.

Raj

Answer
Hi,

You can switch job anytime, but the new employer must file an H1B petition for you. You should maintain underlying nonimmigrant H1B status until at least the filing of I-140 and filing of I-485 (and preferably I-485 pending for at least six months as well). In addition, the green card process will need to be started from the beginning through the filing of an application for labor certification (also known as PERM) although you will retain the earlier priority date based on I-140 approval. General information about PERM is here: www.h1b1.com/laborcert.htm

Re. change of worksite location, but otherwise continuing to be employed by the same employer, you would need to review the PERM application to see the address for job location stated in the PERM application. If the new work location is only temporary, there is no problem whatsoever. However, if it is a permanent assignment, then the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) should be consulted: http://www.census.gov/population/metro/files/lists/2009/List1.txt

A new PERM application would need to be filed for permanent relocation outside the MSA since the recruitment for U.S. workers by the sponsoring employer was conducted at a particular location, with the conclusion that qualified U.S. workers were not found for the position.  

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Ajay K. Arora

Expertise

I can answer your questions on employment and family-based U.S. Immigration Law. Expertise in various immigration categories includes the following: H-1B, L-1, O-1, PERM (labor certification), EB-1 to EB-3 I-140 employment-based immigrant petitions, family or fiance(e) or spousal sponsorship, visa extension or change of status, adjustment of status, naturalization (citizenship), etc.

Experience

Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

Organizations
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) full member since 1995.

Education/Credentials
Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

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