New U.S. Visa Rules Provide More Flexibility For Foreign Workers

The New Year will bring greater work authorization flexibility for foreign workers and their employers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security published Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workersa final rule that modernizes the U.S. immigration system to help employers hire and retain global talent.

The rule is slated to take effect Jan. 17, 2017.

Here are some highlights of the new rule:

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  • Career advancement: Sponsored employees can move further along in their careers by accepting promotions, changing roles within the same employer and pursuing employment opportunities with other organizations.
  • Work authorization extensions: Select high-skilled visa holders (E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 or O-1) may file for temporary employment authorization documents (EAD) if they are the main beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition, they have not received an approved green card petition and they have a compelling circumstance to cause issuance of the EAD card.
  • 10-day grace periods: E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1 and TN visa holders may obtain 10 additional days of lawful status while they make arrangements for securing another work authorization, departing the United States or extending their current status.
  • 60-day grace periods: Individuals who haven’t secured new employment, and thus can’t file for an extension of status, now have 60 additional days to find a sponsoring employer.

This article was originally published on the VISANOW blog.

Patty Johnson-Vazquez leads immigration policy research and content development at VISANOW, which simplifies immigration via the world’s first enterprise platform that makes it seamless for companies to access, deploy and manage a global workforce. She is a frequent author on the topics of international and domestic immigration policy news, workplace diversity and recruitment strategies. Please visit visanow.com or email patty.johnson@visanow.com for more information.

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