I have been working in H1B status for a company for a few months, but am not happy with the position. When I first joined, I signed a contract that said, if I quit my job before I work for at least 18 months, I would be required to reimburse the employer for the costs involved in filing my H1B petition. Am I really required to pay this amount?


An employer cannot impose a “penalty” against an H1B worker who leaves the company before the end of the H1B term. An employer, however, may be able to include a “liquidated damages” clause in an employment contract to recover certain expenses. The federal regulation explains, “The distinction between liquidated damages (which are permissible) and a penalty (which is prohibited) is to be made on the basis of the applicable State law.” In short, if the employer attempts to enforce a liquidated damages clause, it may be best to speak with an employment attorney in your state to review the contract and determine whether it is enforceable.  (28.Dec.2023)

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