desi3933 is right.
- While on a H1 or a L1 visa, one is expected to maintain a continous period of employment. If one is on a H1 visa and does not get paid, that individual automatically falls "out of status".
- It does not matter if the person has other seemingly valid visa stamps on his/her passport.
- The only highly-skilled dual intent visas that allow one to work, are the H1 and the L1, as far as I am aware of. Dependent visas do not allow one to work, such as H4 or L2. The only way one can work while being a dependent is if one has an EAD based on a pending AOS(I-485).
- If one is on a H1/L1 and wants to switch to say a dependent visa (H4 or L2), one has to submit a change of status form (I-539?). The person is assumed to be in "authorized status" until the change of status (or even an extension) occurs. If the COS or extension gets denied, the person is retroactively "out of status" from the original date of expiration on the previous visa.
- Accruing over 180 days will entail a bar of 3 years for re-entry after the person leaves the US.
- Accruing over 365 days will entail a bar of 10 years for re-entry after the person leaves the US.
Also see the last paragraph on Rajiv's website here: http://www.immigration.com/faq/status.html
Under the current system, unfortunately, there is limited employee protection or even whistle-blowing, so seek a competent attorney's advice right away.
- Remember, the affected individual(in this case your wife) has a lot to lose if she leaves the US(ie cross the official border), even to visit Canada. Competent attorneys can help arrange for waivers from typically the home consulate(ie consulate in home country). Consulates in third countries do not entertain applicants for visa stamping or visa renewals if they have not maintained status.
- If the home consulate approves the said individual's visa renewal or new visa stamping, that individual can enter the US, however, there is lack of clarity on whether such a person will be finally able to "adjust status" to become a lawful permanent resident.
This is a SERIOUS matter requiring legal competent advice.
email me at "sertasheep at immigrationvoice dot org" if you have any followup questions.
NOTE: Immigration Voice does not purport this to be legal advice, and you are strongly advised to seek legal opinion. Employers, as a rule, must not ask for payment in any shape or form to produce paystubs. Immigration Voice always advocates abiding by the law, no matter how archaic they may be. As the applicant, the burden is on the individual to maintain status. Please do your research