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Amended petitions required for some H-1B employees

South Carolina employees working under H-1B visas may want to pay careful attention to new requirements if they have moved to different work locations since first receiving their visas. The previous understanding of employers was that moves were acceptable as long as copies of labor condition applications for affected employees were posted at the new sites. However, a new binding ruling by a division of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has deemed this understanding to be incorrect.

New LCAs are required for workers moving to new locations other than within the same metropolitan statistical area. New petitions are not required for short-term moves to locations that are not work sites. In all other cases, moves must be documented with amended petitions. Furthermore, the division of USCIS that made the ruling, the Administrative Appeals Office, has required that employers file amended petitions for any such changes that have already occurred. May 21 was the start of a 90-day period that was established for making these corrections.

Employers dealing with this employment visa issue could be sanctioned if they fail to submit the required amended petitions. Although the issue came up unexpectedly due to a planned change of venue being mentioned in a USCIS interview for a worker's visa, the far-reaching consequences make it important for affected employers to act promptly. Guidance is still changing with regard to this issue.

Both employers and immigrating employees may find that legal assistance is important before work relationships are initiated. If changes in immigration law occur that would affect either party, a lawyer familiar with the applications and details might provide guidance related to complying with such changes. Further, a lawyer may be able to ensure that updated petitions and forms are filed promptly with the proper authorities.

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