DHS Updates Visa Programs for Highly Skilled Workers
Days ago, officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new Final Rule intended to “improve the programs” serving certain skilled nonimmigrant workers while removing “unnecessary hurdles that place such workers at a disadvantage, when compared to similarly situated workers in other visa classifications.”
The new Final Rule, which was officially revealed on Jan. 15th, will reportedly take effect as of Feb. 16th and is not expected to generate any additional costs for workers, employers or government entities.
A Closer Look at the New Final Rule
According to USCIS, some of the most significant changes associated with the new Final Rule applying to employment-related visas include:
- Allowing H-1B1 and E-3 nonimmigrants to work for employers without having to apply for employment authorization separately – This removes a hurdle for these applicants, streamlining the application process for them.
- Allowing H-1B1 and E-3 nonimmigrants to obtain extensions of up to 240 days following the expiration of their visas – These extensions are available when the sponsoring employer has filed the extension request on time and the request is pending when the worker’s visa expires.
- Providing the same opportunities for visa extensions for CW-1 nonimmigrant workers
- Allowing “for submission of comparable evidence” when employers are applying for EB-1 visas on behalf of professors and researchers.
Noting the motivation behind and potential impacts of this new Final Rule, USCIS Director León Rodríguez has explained that:
We constantly strive to improve our processes and ensure fair and consistent access to immigration benefits… This Enhancing Opportunities rule removes unnecessary hurdles that place workers at a disadvantage and will be beneficial to both employers and their workers.
To view the complete text for the USCIS new Final Rule, click here.
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