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Do you have to work for your employer that sponsored your green card, after your green card is issued?

By September 29, 2022Immigration
Choosing an employee from a line of potential employees

Contrary to popular belief, once you receive your green card through employer sponsorship, there is no minimum length of time you are required to work for your sponsoring employer.

In fact, if your employer-sponsored adjustment-of-status (I-485) application have been pending for more than 180 days, you are allowed to file a form to change your intended job to a new, permanent job offer from a different employer, as long as it is in the same or similar occupational classification as the original job offer that formed the basis of your underlying I-140 petition.  This means, in certain cases, you are allowed to change employers even before your green card is approved.

The requirement is a good faith intent to work in the sponsored position indefinitely (and vice versa).

The only requirement is that the employer and employee, in good faith, intend for the employee to work in that sponsored position indefinitely once the green card is issued.  The circumstances must be such that it is reasonable and persuasive to someone who is looking at the situation that the employer and employee had this good faith intent throughout the process.

Relevant to this analysis are questions such as: What is the reason the employee left the job, and was it a good reason? Did the employer terminate the position through factors outside of the employee’s control, such as business changes or downsizing? Did the employer work for the sponsoring employer prior to getting the green card, and for how long? And finally, how long did the employee work for the employer after getting the green card?

What this means for individual applicants

Practically, USCIS won’t have a reason to proactively track how long an employee has worked in a position at an employer that sponsored them after the employee receives the green card. Once an individual becomes a green card holder, this comes with the right and privilege to live permanently in the United States and work for any employer they wish.

However, USCIS does have the authority to revoke an individual’s green card if they find there has been fraud, and the individual should be prepared to answer questions related to the circumstances of the job change if asked by the government, such as in the course of a naturalization (citizenship) interview. It is a good idea to retain records and evidence that demonstrate the good faith of such job changes.

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