News & Updates

Short-term placement of H-1B nonimmigrants


In continuance with our discussion on filing H-1b amended petition when there is change in work location, in some instances an employer is allowed to move his employee to a different work site outside of the MSA and outside the area of intended employment listed on the LCA in case of a short term placement. 

The special provisions for short-term placement of H-1b non immigrants as per § 655.735 are as follows:


(a) Subject to the conditions specified in this section, an employer may make short-term placements or assignments of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at worksite(s) (place(s) of employment) in areas not listed on the employer's approved LCA(s) without filing new labor condition application(s) for such area(s).


(b) The following conditions must be fully satisfied by an employer during all short-term placement(s) or assignment(s) of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at worksite(s) (place(s) of employment) in areas not listed on the employer's approved LCA(s):


(1) The employer has fully satisfied the requirements of §§ 655.730 through 655.734 with regard to worksite(s) located within the area(s) of intended employment listed on the employer's LCA(s).


(2) The employer shall not place, assign, lease, or otherwise contract out any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) to any worksite where there is a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the same occupational classification(s) as that of the H-1B nonimmigrant(s).


(3) For every day the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is placed or assigned outside the area(s) of employment listed on the approved LCA(s) for such worker(s), the employer shall:


(i) Continue to pay such worker(s) the required wage (based on the prevailing wage at such worker's(s') permanent worksite, or the employer's actual wage, whichever is higher);


(ii) Pay such worker(s) the actual cost of lodging (for both workdays and non-workdays); and


(iii) Pay such worker(s) the actual cost of travel, meals and incidental or miscellaneous expenses (for both workdays and non-workdays).


(c) An employer's short-term placement(s) or assignment(s) of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at any worksite(s) in an area of employment not listed on the employer's approved LCA(s) shall not exceed a total of 30 workdays in a one-year period for any H-1B nonimmigrant at any worksite or combination of worksites in the area,except that such placement or assignment of an H-1B nonimmigrant may be for longer than 30 workdays but for no more than a total of 60 workdays in a one-year period where the employer is able to show the following:


(1) The H-1B nonimmigrant continues to maintain an office or work station at his/her permanent worksite (e.g., the worker has a dedicated workstation and telephone line(s) at the permanent worksite);


(2) The H-1B nonimmigrant spends a substantial amount of time at the permanent worksite in a one-year period; and


(3) The H-1B nonimmigrant's U.S. residence or place of abode is located in the area of the permanent worksite and not in the area of the short-term worksite(s) (e.g., the worker's personal mailing address; the worker's lease for an apartment or other home; the worker's bank accounts; the worker's automobile driver's license; the residence of the worker's dependents).


(d) For purposes of this section, the term workday shall mean any day on which an H-1B nonimmigrant performs any work at any worksite(s) within the area of short-term placement or assignment. For example, three workdays would be counted where a nonimmigrant works three non-consecutive days at three different worksites (whether or not the employer owns or controls such worksite(s)), within the same area of employment. Further, for purposes of this section, the term one-year periodshall mean the calendar year (i.e., January 1 through December 31) or the employer's fiscal year, whichever the employer chooses.


(e) The employer may not make short-term placement(s) or assignment(s) of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) under this section at worksite(s) in any area of employment for which the employer has a certified LCA for the occupational classification. Further, an H-1B nonimmigrant entering the U.S. is required to be placed at a worksite in accordance with the approved petition and supporting LCA; thus, the nonimmigrant's initial placement or assignment cannot be a short-term placement under this section. In addition, the employer may not continuously rotate H-1B nonimmigrants on short-term placement or assignment to an area of employment in a manner that would defeat the purpose of the short-term placement option, which is to provide the employer with flexibility in assignments to afford enough time to obtain an approved LCA for an area where it intends to have a continuing presence (e.g., an employer may not rotate H-1B nonimmigrants to an area of employment for 20-day periods, with the result that nonimmigrants are continuously or virtually continuously employed in the area of employment, in order to avoid filing an LCA; such an employer would violate the short-term placement provisions).


(f) Once any H-1B nonimmigrant's short-term placement or assignment has reached the workday limit specified in paragraph (c) of this section in an area of employment, the employer shall take one of the following actions:


(1) File an LCA and obtain ETA certification, and thereafter place any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) in that occupational classification at worksite(s) in that area pursuant to the LCA (i.e., the employer shall perform all actions required in connection with such LCA, including determination of the prevailing wage and notice to workers); or


(2) Immediately terminate the placement of any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) who reaches the workday limit in an area of employment. No worker may exceed the workday limit within the one-year period specified in paragraph (d) of this section, unless the employer first files an LCA for the occupational classification for the area of employment. Employers are cautioned that if any worker exceeds the workday limit within the one-year period, then the employer has violated the terms of its LCA(s) and the regulations in the subpart, and thereafter the short-term placement option cannot be used by the employer for H-1B nonimmigrants in that occupational classification in that area of employment.


(g) An employer is not required to use the short-term placement option provided by this section, but may choose to make each placement or assignment of an H-1B nonimmigrant at worksite(s) in a new area of employment pursuant to a new LCA for such area. Further, an employer which uses the short-term placement option is not required to continue to use the option. Such an employer may, at any time during the period identified in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, file an LCA for the new area of employment (performing all actions required in connection with such LCA); upon certification of such LCA, the employer's obligation to comply with this section concerning short-term placement shall terminate. (However, see § 655.731(c)(9)(iii)(C) regarding payment of business expenses for employee's travel on employer's business.)

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