Yes, multiple different companies can file to be registered with the same H1B applicant (or beneficiary) if the companies are completely unrelated to each other. This was decided in a case called Matter of S, Inc., which has been accepted by the USCIS as an "Adopted Decision." This means that the case is now part of the USCIS regulations. For the case, see here.
Indeed, some H1B workers have what is called "concurrent H1B status," which allows them to work for more than one employer at the same time. This can happen if a worker is maintaining a valid H1B status and a different employer files a separate H1B petition filed on the worker's behalf. If approved, the worker now has concurrent HIB status and can work for both employers.
But, as noted, the different H1B filings for the same worker must be from completely unrelated companies. What does "completely unrelated" mean? That was the legal question decided in Matter of S, Inc. Here is a quick explanation.
H1B regulations bar one company from making multiple HIB filings for the same worker when there are numerical caps or limits on the number of available employment positions. This is because making multiple HIB filings is a form of "cheating" because applicants are selected by a lottery pick. By making more than one filing, a company increases its chances of being chosen in the lottery. This sort of "cheating" is barred by H1B regulations.
The bar ALSO applies to what are called "related or affiliated" companies. Examples of "related companies" include parent, subsidiary, and affiliated companies. Proving companies are "related" is based on many facts, including:
- Having many of the same people on the different company boards of directors
- Having close family members as members of the boards of directors or as part of corporate management
- Using the same addresses and/or facilities for the production of goods/services
- And more
The case of Matter of S, Inc. was unusual because the two different companies did have any common members on their boards of directors. However, other facts were used to determine that the companies were "related" and to bar their H1B filings. Of key importance was the fact that the two H1B filings contained substantially similar supporting documentation. That fact alone suggested that the two companies were "related" because two truly separate businesses would not have the same supporting documentation in their filings. Put as a question, how does one business -- at "arms-length" from another business -- get copies of that business' supporting documentation? The decision also noted other factors like familial ties among upper management, proximity between the locations of the two companies, similar leadership structure, etc.
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