U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to Amend its Regulations related to certain Employment-based Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs to retain EB–1, EB–2, and EB–3 Immigrant Workers and to Improve these Visa Programs

DHS is seeking public comments on a proposed rule to amend its regulations related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. These proposed changes do not take effect with the publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking. Instead, they would take effect on the date indicated in the final rule when the final rule is published in the Federal Register.

The proposed amendments would provide various benefits to participants in those programs, including: improved processes for U.S. employers seeking to sponsor and retain immigrant and nonimmigrant workers, greater stability and job flexibility for such workers, and increased transparency and consistency in the application of agency policy related to affected classifications. Many of these changes are primarily aimed at improving the ability of U.S. employers to hire and retain high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions and who are waiting to become lawful permanent residents (LPRs), while increasing the ability of such workers to seek promotions, accept lateral positions with different employers, change employers, or pursue other employment options.

The following specific changes have been listed in the proposed rule.

  • Clarify and improve longstanding agency policies and procedures implementing I-140 portability
  • Increase the ability of beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions (I-140 petitions) to further their careers by accepting promotions, making position changes with current employers, changing employers, and pursuing other employment opportunities.
  • Improve job portability for certain beneficiaries of approved I-140 petitions by limiting the grounds for automatic revocation of petition approval.
  • Clarify when individuals may keep their priority date to use when applying for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence, including when USCIS has revoked the approval of their approved I-140 petitions because the employer withdrew the petition or because the employer’s business shut down.
  • Allow certain high-skilled individuals in the United States in E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, or O-1 nonimmigrant status to apply for one year of unrestricted employment authorization if they:
    • ​Are the beneficiaries of an approved I-140 petition,
    • Remain unable to adjust status due to visa unavailability, and
    • Can demonstrate that compelling circumstances exist which justify issuing an employment authorization document.
  • Clarify various policies and procedures related to the adjudication of H-1B petitions, including, among other things, extensions of status, determining cap exemptions and counting workers under the H-1B visa cap, H-1B portability, licensure requirements, and protections for whistleblowers.
  • Establish a one-time grace period, during an authorized validity period, of up to 60 days for individuals holding E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 or TN nonimmigrant status whenever their employment ends so that they may more readily pursue new employment and an extension of their nonimmigrant status.
  • Provide for the automatic extension of the validity of certain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for an interim period upon the timely filing of an application to renew such documents. At the same time, in light of national security and fraud concerns, DHS is proposing to remove regulations that provide a 90-day processing timeline for EAD applications and that require the issuance of interim EADs if processing extends beyond the 90-day mark.

These proposed rules are complex and require a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer. If you have any questions, our attorneys are here to answer your questions! We can be reached by phone at 703 230 6800 or by email at attorney@immigrationonline.com. Contact us today for these and all other immigration-related issues!