Website Q & A - March 16, 2007
Evaluating the possibility of H-1B approval for an accountant
in a small company and thoughts on how to deal with the gap between
OPT ending and October 1st
Dear Mr. Lee,
I just graduated with an Accounting degree and have a job with
a small company which has total sales of $300,000-$400,000 per year.
I am listed as the single employee because the manager is not legal.
My F-1 optional practical training expires on July 10, 2007. I am
interested in applying for an H-1B visa to continue working for
the company. Should I have the company sponsor me for the H-1B visa?
What should I do about the gap of time between the ending of my
practical training and the beginning date that I could be allowed
to work under an approved H-1B, October 1st?
I suggest that you attempt to find yourself another organization
that can sponsor you for the H-1B instead of the one that you now
have. This is the type of case that could be problematic in approving
given the size of the company and its sales figures. The U.S.C.I.S.
may very well question the need for an accountant in a company of
your size and point out that the company would come off much better
financially with just hiring an outside accountant. Insofar as the
gap is concerned, your 60 days of grace period will only take you
into September and will not cover until October 1st. Assuming that
an H-1B is filed for you, you may wait to see what U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decides to do with persons in your
situation who are caught in the gap. This is a decision which is
made on a year by year basis by the government. Other options in
the event that you do not necessarily wish to wait for the ICE determination
is to leave the country temporarily, or apply for some other non-immigrant
status which can keep you in the U.S. during the period of the gap.
I do note that U.S.C.I.S. looks to see whether the reasons for applying
to change to another non-immigrant status are legitimate.