H-1B status is "employer specific." An H-1B employee is only authorized to work for the employer that is sponsoring his/her H-1B petition. An approved H-1B authorization for one employer does not extend to other employers. For example, an individual in H-1B status at another university cannot simply transfer to UMMC and use the H-1B authorization obtained at the other institution to work at UMMC. UMMC must file a new H-1B petition on behalf of the H-1B.
The H-1B portability provision allows an H-1B worker to transfer to another employer and begin working for the new employer before the new employer's H-1B petition has been approved. This provision can benefit UMMC sponsors who need their H-1B employees to start work as soon as possible. Following are the steps that must be taken to ensure portability for an H-1B nonimmigrant transferring to UMMC:
- UMMC must file an H-1B petition on behalf of the transferring employee before he/she terminates employment with the current employer. This will ensure that the H-1B candidate will remain in a lawful period of stay during the transfer.
- When the Office of International Services receives confirmation that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has officially received UMMC's petition, the H-1B worker can immediately begin employment.
- Although the H-1B worker is considered to be lawfully employed during this period, UMMC's H-1B petition must eventually be approved by USCIS. When the petition is approved, the worker will be given his/her official documents authorizing employment at UMMC.