31. Are there any new filing exemptions?
Yes, an amended H-1B petition is no longer required when the petitioning employer undergoes a corporate restructuring, including but not limited to a merger, acquisition or consolidation, where the new corporate entity succeeds to the interest and obligations of the original petitioning employer and where the terms and conditions of employment remain the same but for the identity of the petitioner.
32. Who are eligible to use the H-1B 'portability' provisions?
The portability provisions allow a nonimmigrant foreign national previously issued H-1B visa or otherwise accorded H-1B status to begin working for a new H-1B employer as soon as the new employer files an H-1B petition for the foreign national. Previously, foreign nationals in this situation had to await USCIS approval before commencing the new H-1B employment. These provisions apply to H-1B petitions filed ‘before, on, or after’ the date of enactment, so all foreign nationals who meet this definition can begin using the portability provisions.
33. Are there any other limitations on the 'portability' provisions?
A foreign national must have been lawfully admitted into the U.S. The new employer must have filed a ‘non-frivolous’ petition while the foreign national was in a period of stay authorized by the Attorney General. A non-frivolous petition is one that has some basis in law or fact. Subsequent to such lawful admission, the foreign national must not have been employed without authorization.
34. How will employers who hire H-1B foreign nationals using the portability provisions comply with their I-9 requirements?
Current regulations, 8 C.F.R. 274A.12(b)(20), authorize employment with the existing employer after a request for extension of H-1B status is filed. The foreign national in this case is employment authorized but the I-9 Form, Employment Eligibility Verification, contains no provision for this authorization. Employers should follow the documentation procedures they currently use for an extension of this sort. Typically, this could involve attaching a copy of the receipt notice for the filed petition along with a copy of the foreign national’s I-94 to the I-9 kept on file.