At present, I am on OPT in USA after graduating with a Ph.D. degree from a US university in 2013. My OPT is going to expire on May 10, 2016. I work for a non-profit organization and they are willing to apply for a H1-B(non-profit) for me as early as Jan, 2016. As my goal is to get a job in industry where they mostly offer H1B (profit) and in exceptional circumstances, the O-1 visa, I was wondering if someone in this forum could provide me some answers to the questions below that will help me take an informed decision:
Can my present non-profit employer request a specific date for starting of my H1-B(non-profit) or it is not for either of us to decide but the immigration officials would decide based on my OPT end date?
I am already on my OPT STEM extension which will expire on ~May 10, 2016. Say, I could find an employer willing to file H1B(profit) for me by April 1, 2016 but after my current non-profit employer filed H1B(non-profit) petition on my behalf. At what point I should submit a request to the immigration department, via my non-profit employer, to withdraw the H1B(non-profit) petition so that (a) I do not lose my OPT cap-gap benefits which will allow me to work for my new employer on OPT cap-gap extension and also (b) file a H1B(profit) petition for me?
Say, I plan on asking for a H1-B (non-profit) start date of May 1, 2016, i.e., 10 days before my OPT expires and the petition is submitted by my present non-profit employer as early as Jan/Feb, 2016. Meanwhile, I find an employer who is willing to apply H1-B (profit) for me by April 1, 2016 but before they could file the petition on my behalf, the approval for my H1-B (non-profit) comes with a start date of May 1, 2016 (as I requested) or with May 11, 2016 (the day after my OPT expiration dates). In that case, can I join the new H1-B (profit) employer before my OPT expiration date of May 1 or May 10, 2016 (whichever it is after H1-B(non-profit) has been approved), cancel the already approved H1-B (non-profit) with my previous non-profit employer, have my new employer submit a H1-B (profit) petition for me by April 1, 2016, continue to work for my H1-B (profit) employer till October 1 on OPT cap-gap extension, and then finally, work for them from October 1, 2016 on H1B (profit)? What are the risks of me getting out of status here?
When exactly I lose my OPT cap-gap extension? Is it as soon as my H1B(non-profit) petition is submitted or as soon as it is approved? If I still have some days remaining on my OPT but my H1B(non-profit) is already approved, can I still request for availing the cap gap extension in case a new employer (for profit) files for my H1B(Profit) petition?
If I try to change from H1-B(non-profit) to H1-B(profit) at a later stage and if the H1-B petition is not approved, does my H1B(non profit) gets cancelled automatically and am I required to leave the country then?
Is it possible to change from H1-B(non-profit) to O-1 at a later stage? If so, how long the process may take? How common is O-1 visa for persons working in industry after obtaining a Ph.D. degree from some US university? If O-1 application is not granted, does my H1B(non profit) gets cancelled automatically and am I required to leave the country then?