Do you need to work as an RN after your I-140 is approved but before you come to the US? This is a great question that just came up in the comments section of our blog. The answer is NO and YES.
Answer A – NO
As far as the US immigration service is concerned, you are not required to work in the field of your prospective employment between the time your I-140 is submitted to USCIS and the date on which your case (green card) is finally approved. While the office at the consulate may have some questions about why you have not been working as, for example, an Registered Nurse while waiting to come to the US to work as a Registered Nurse, there is no regulatory requirement for you to do so. The Consulate is always trying to make sure people are coming to work at real jobs, so that might be a question they ask, just to make sure you are really coming to work as an RN, but the fact you are not will not be a reason they could use to deny your green card application.
Answer B – YES
As a practical matter, most US employers sponsoring you for a green card will want you to be working in the field in which they are bring you to the US to work in. We have had US employer clients who discovered when it was time for the beneficiary employee to go to the consulate for the green card interview that the employee had not been working in the field for some time. The US employer has stopped the interview process and asked the employee to go back to work in the field and get their skills current before completing the interview process.
The worst case scenario would be one in which the US employer canceled their contract with you because they could not place you due to the fact that you have not been working in your professional field. They could argue, especially if they are a staffing company, that you have made yourself un-marketable to their clients due to the fact you have not been working. While I am not an employment contract attorney, it would seem reasonable to me that a US employer might successfully argue they can no longer use you because their clients will not accept you based on the fact you have not been working in the relevant field for some time.
We strongly recommend you make every effort possible to find a job or continue working in the field of employment for which your case has been filed (RN, PT, OT, etc.), in order to avoid running into a situation in which your US employer decides they are not ready for you to come to the US because you have not been working in the field lately. We understand this can be difficult, and may in fact involve a reduction in wage from what you are currently receiving. However, losing out on the job in the US might cost even more!