1) Yes, it is and very much so.
2) ASAP, but ideally no later than 60 days.
3) Yes, given that you were now counted against the numerical cap, you will be considered to be "cap exempt" for the next 6 years starting October 1, 2014.
Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.
It is a good idea to do an H-1B transfer to a new employer within 30-60 days. You are cap-exempt.
Mr. Shusterman's (former INS Trial Attorney, 1976-82) response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.
From your detailed and very specific inquiry it is clear that this case requires a timely transfer to another sponsoring employer, provided all case conditions are properly assessed by the new counsel of record as such transition in my opinion cannot be successfully and thoroughly be solved by a few online paragraphs.
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You are cap exempt and may transfer the H-1B petition since you have been selected for an H-1B number. New employer shall file a new petition, LCA etc. and include copy of approval notice indicating that you have an H-1B Visa number. Good luck.
1) The approval stands
2) I am assuming it was a change of status application. If so, the new petition will be filed anytime with Oct 1 as its start date. I am hoping the company is e-verified so you can continue with them during the cap gap period.
This response is general in nature and cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. Any comments offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship. You are encouraged to seek independent and private counseling for a complete review of your case.