H-1B Concurrent Employment: A Guide for Workers and Employers

Posted on Sep 25, 2023 by Chris Prescott

Concurrent employment allows H-1B visa holders to work for multiple employers simultaneously. This can be a valuable option for H-1B workers who want to increase their earnings, gain new skills, or explore different career opportunities. In this article we address some of the frequently asked questions regarding concurrent filings.

Can I work for more than one employer on H-1B?

Yes, you can.  While this is possible, it is necessary for each H-1B employer to file a separate petition.  It’s also important for employees and employers to be aware of the requirements to ensure that the employee does not inadvertently violate his/her H-1B status.

Is there a limit to the number of employers I can work for?

In theory there is no limit to the number of employers that you can work for, but practically speaking there are only so many hours an individual can work in any given work week.  If you are working full time for an employer, you can work either full-time or part-time for a second employer.  

Personally, I prefer to file concurrent filings for part-time employment when someone is already working full-time for their current employer.  That’s just my preference.  We have certainly filed cases for full-time concurrent employment, but if you do this you need to ensure that you are working the required number of hours for each employment.  

If you are employed full-time for company A and Company B files a concurrent petition for full-time employment you are now committed to working 80 hours a week.  (Department of Labor generally considers full-time employment to be 40 hours a week).  If you fail to work 40 hours for each employer without good cause, you could be in violation of your H-1B status.

If I want Company B to file for concurrent employment will Company A find out?

Your current employer will only find out about concurrent employment if you choose to inform them. Employers filing concurrent petitions will communicate directly with USCIS and USCIS will not disclose your concurrent employment to your current employer.  You certainly have no obligation to tell them, unless of course your employment contract requires you to notify them of any additional employment.  For this reason, you need to carefully consider your employment contract and determine whether you have a duty to inform them.  

If I work for a cap-exempt employer, can I work currently for a cap-subject employer?

Yes, you can work concurrently for both a cap-exempt employer and a cap-subject employer in the United States if you meet the specific visa requirements for each employment.

Cap-exempt employers include institutions of higher education, non-profit entities related to or affiliated with a higher education institute, a nonprofit research organization or a government research organization. They are exempt from the H-1B visa cap, which means they can sponsor H-1B workers without being subject to the annual numerical limits on H-1B visas.

Cap-subject employers, subject to the annual H-1B cap, must participate in the H-1B lottery to secure visas for their employees.

If you already have H-1B status through a cap-exempt employer and want to work for a cap-subject employer, you will need the cap-subject employer to file an H-1B petition on your behalf. However, bear in mind that if you stop working for the cap-exempt employer you will also need to stop working for a cap-subject employer.

Can I work for multiple employers on a part-time basis?

Absolutely.  

For example, if you are working full-time for company A and company B offers you a part-time position (20 hours a week), company B will file a concurrent petition.  If company C also offers you a part-time position (20 hours), you could reduce your hours with company A (company A would have to file an H-1B amendment) hours) and then Company C would file a concurrent filing.  You would now be working for three employers for a total of 60 hours.

What are the pros and cons of working for more than one H-1B employer?

Pros of concurrent employment include increased earnings, skill development and the opportunity to explore other career avenues.  

The obvious downside to concurrent employment is you will have to work long hours, which could easily lead to burnout.

Any suggestions to avoid violating my H-1B while working for multiple employers?

Being realistic is key. Consider the number of hours you can realistically work in any given work, taking into account any non-work commitments.  Attempting to take on too much work can jeopardize your H-1B status.

Consider filing concurrent employment for a range of hours, like 20-30 hours a week, to provide flexibility and ensure that you do not violate your H-1B status, provided you work the minimum required number of hours.  It also ensures that you can attempt to achieve something resembling a work/life balance.

Conclusion

H-1B concurrent employment can be a valuable option for both H-1B workers and employers. However, it is important to understand the rules and restrictions that apply before engaging in this type of employment.

If you have further questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact PLG Partner Chris Prescott at cprescott@patellegal.com.