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New Federal Rule Governing Immigrant Employees in U.S.

On January 17, 2017, a new federal immigration rule went into effect. This rule, entitled “Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers" changes certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs.

Under the new rule, workers with an approved employment-based immigrant visa petition have more flexibility to change positions with their current employer, accept a promotion, or change employers.  Among other things, under these changes an individual with an approved I-140 that is withdrawn by the employer may still be able to maintain the validity of this approved petition.

Certain high-skilled individuals in the United States under a nonimmigrant employment based visa can now apply for employment authorization for a limited period if they meet certain requirements. These requirements include (1) being the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140, (2) that an immigrant visa is not authorized for issuance for their priority date and (3) that the individual can show compelling circumstances which justify the issuance of an employment authorization document by the DHS.

The rule also clarifies and updates numerous policies and procedures for H-1B petitions, and for certain nonimmigrant classifications, the rule creates or alters grace periods.  The rule changes the timeliness of the adjudication of applications for employment authorizations, and automatically extends the validity of employment authorization documents for certain individuals.

For assistance with any immigration matters, please contact the experienced Business or Immigration attorneys at Bozeman, Neighbour, Patton & Noe, LLP.