Dear Sophie: Can I hire an engineer whose green card is being sponsored by another company?
August 11, 2021 at 16:24 PM EDT
I want to extend an offer to an engineer who has been working in the U.S. on an H-1B. Her current employer is sponsoring her for an EB-2 green card. Can we take over her green card process?
Sophie Alcorn Contributor Sophie Alcorn is the founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley and 2019 Global Law Experts Awards’ “Law Firm of the Year in California for Entrepreneur Immigration Services.” She connects people with the businesses and opportunities that expand their lives. More posts by this contributor
Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.
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I want to extend an offer to an engineer who has been working in the U.S. on an H-1B for almost five years. Her current employer is sponsoring her for an EB-2 green card, and our startup wants to hire her as a senior engineer.
What happens to her green card process? Can we take it over?
— Recruiting in Richmond
Congrats on finding the right candidate for your role. Your startup’s ability to take over the EB-2 green card process for this candidate — or whether you have to start the green card process from the beginning — depends on where she is in the green card process and whether the position you are offering is similar to her current role.
Take a listen to my podcast in which my colleague, Gilberto Orozco Jr., an associate attorney at my firm, and I discuss the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act — or AC21 — including “green card portability.”
Enacted in 2000, AC21 gives international talent in certain situations the flexibility to change jobs during the green card process and the ability to extend an H-1B visa beyond the six-year limit to avoid having to leave the United States while waiting for a green card. I recommend discussing your situation and goals with an experienced immigration attorney to determine your options.
The process for EB-2 green cards
As I mentioned earlier, what happens to the green card process if your candidate changes jobs depends on where she is in the EB-2 green card process. There are two types of EB-2 green cards that have slightly different processes:
The EB-2 green card requires an employer sponsor and has a three-step process: