There is good news this week if you are seeking or are already in H-1B1, E-3, CW-1, or EB-1 visa status. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a final rule that amends its programs for these types of visas in an attempt to remove barriers and obstacles that have placed these types of workers at a disadvantage to similar workers in other visa categories.
This rule will become effective February 16, 2016, and will make the following welcome changes :
- H-1B1 and E-3 visa holders will now be authorized for employment with a specific employer incident to their status. This means that you can work for your sponsoring employer without needing a separate employment authorization.
- H-1B1 and E-3 workers will also have their employment authorized with the same employer for up to 240 days after their visa status has expired, if the employer has filed a timely and pending request for an extension of stay.
- CW-1 workers will also enjoy this same continued work authorization for 240 days after their status has expired, if their employer has filed a timely and pending extension of stay.
- For EB-1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers, employers may now submit initial evidence that is “comparable” to already accepted forms of evidence listed in the regulations. “Comparable” means that it does not have to be the exact kind of evidence required by the regulations. This will allow more and diverse kinds of evidence to be submitted to show that you are truly an “outstanding” professor or researcher.
Thankfully, there are no new additional costs imposed by these new regulations. This is an improvement, because H-1B1 and E-3 employment authorization is now more consistent with other kinds of visa holders. This rule seeks to minimize the potential for disruptions of employment, and will likely help tremendously in this endeavor by allowing visa holders to continue working while extension applications are pending, and by not requiring separate work authorization applications for the same employer.
DHS also hopes that this rule change will enable U.S. employers to recruit more EB-1 professionals, by expanding the types of evidence it will accept to show their outstanding qualities and background. While this is a mere procedural step, it should have a pronounced effect by making it more likely that employers can show that their EB-1 beneficiary is truly “outstanding.”
If you have questions about immigration and/or you need help in an immigration process, please contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA for a consultation. Our law firm handles various matters including Green Cards and Permanent Residence, family immigration, asylum cases, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H-1B visas, investor-visas, PERM applications and many more.