On December 31, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security proposed amendments to its regulations related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. Many of the changes are aimed at improving the ability of US employers to hire and retain high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions and are waiting to become lawful permanent residents, while at the same time increasing the ability of such workers to seek promotions, accept lateral positions with current employers, change employers or pursue other employment options.
DHS proposes to amend its regulations:
1 - consistent with worker portability and other provisions in the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA).
2 - governing certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs to provide additional stability and flexibility to employers and workers in those programs. This includes improving job portability for certain beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions by limiting the grounds for automatic revocation of petition approval; further enhance job portability for such beneficiaries by increasing their ability to retain their priority dates for use with subsequently approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions; establish or extend grace periods for certain high-skilled nonimmigrant workers; and provide additional stability and flexibility to certain high-skilled workers by allowing those who are working in the US in certain nonimmigrant statuses, are the beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions, are subject to immigrant visa backlogs, and demonstrate compelling circumstances to independently apply for employment authorization for a limited period.
3 - governing the processing of applications for employment authorization to minimize the risk of any gaps in authorization. These changes would provide for the automatic extension of the validity of certain Employment Authorization Documents for an interim period upon the timely filing of an application to renew such documents.
The comment period for the proposed rule ends on February 29, 2016.