On January 15, 2016 DHS published a final rule that will affect specialty occupation workers from Australia who are on E-3 visas, as well as professional workers from Chile and Singapore working in the US on H-1B1 visas. The proposed regulation will also affect EB-1 outstanding professors and researcher green card petitions. The new final rule includes the following important changes:
- Less Need for Australians, Chileans and Singaporeans to Travel Abroad to Extend Their Visas: With the new final rule, a timely filed extension of status petition filed for H-1B1 and E-3 employees will automatically extend an E-3 and H-1B1 worker’s authorization for 240 days while the extension request is pending. Previously, E-3 and H-1B1 employees were almost always required to travel abroad to get renewals of their visas at a US consulate in order to extend their work authorization in the US. With the new change, an H-1B1 or E-3 employee may be able to remain in the US with work authorization after her or his employer files a timely extension of status within the United States.
- Expansion of Outstanding Professor and Researcher Green Card Petitions: The new final rule also expands the EB-1 outstanding professors and researcher I-140 criteria to include “comparable evidence.” Comparable evidence not listed in the previous regulations, such as, important patents, peer-reviewed funding grants, etc. may now be considered for EB-1 qualification as an outstanding professor or researcher.
These new changes become effective February 16, 2016.