Q: Is it easier to renew an H1-B than to obtain one in the first place? I don't want to move to the US, only to have to
move home and lose my job a couple years down the road.
A: Yes, renewing with a current employer is vastly easier than first obtaining an h1b visa. For starters, unless your new employer is exempt from the h1b quota, obtaining a new h1b is akin to a lottery. There are only 65000 new h1b (and 20000 additional for those with advanced degrees from us university) allocated per fiscal year. When the filing window opens for the upcoming fiscal year, nearly 200,000 application are filed in the first week. H1b visa renewals are not subject to new caps
A: This is an important question. Of course, not being subject to the H-1B lottery when it comes time to renew makes a huge difference. But there is also another question about renewal: Does the fact that an employee was already approved for H-1B mean that the renewal is more likely to be approved, assuming no change in the employer or conditions of employment? One might expect approval of the H-1B renewal in this situation to be smooth, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, the immigration examiner handling the renewal may think that there was a problem with the H-1B case which the examiner who approved it the first time overlooked or did not understand. In that, the second examiner may be reluctant to approve the renewal. I have encountered such attitudes from time to time in my own H-1B practice. The point is, that before filing any H-1B case, initial or renewal, the details of the specific case need to be checked thoroughly by an experienced immigration lawyer. An immigration result can never be assumed.
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