I am currently a legal alien residing in the US on an F1 visa
. I recently graduated with a Ph.D. I currently hold the OPT extension (expires 8/2014). I have received a job offer in writing which states that the company is going to sponsor my green card
application after six months, provided I am an employee in good standing at that point. The job start date is 9/30, so six months from the start date would be early April 2014. The company also plans to apply for my H1-B on 4/1/2013.
I asked a company HR person whether it is legally possible to apply for H1-B and permanent residence at the same time. They said they have experience dealing with these matters, and that this is not an issue. I am not entirely convinced, since I know H1-B is a dual-intent status useful in bridging non-immigrant F-1 and immigrant permanent residence.
So, my questions are as follows:
(1) Is it legal for a company to sponsor an employee for an H1-B and permanent residence concurrently? If not, what are the legal ramifications?
(2) If it is legal, what is the most likely time frame for actually obtaining the green card? Assume the company sponsors for green card and H1B concurrently on 4/1. I should mention I am a national of Serbia. I know green card availability varies by country, but I don't know what the current wait time is for Serbian nationals.
Thanks very much!