Changes for H-1B1, Principal E-3 Nonimmigrants and CW-1 Nonimmigrants Under DHS Enhancing Opportunities Final Rule

The DHS Enhancing Opportunities final rule revises regulations affecting highly skilled workers in the nonimmigrant classifications for specialty occupations from Chile, Singapore (H-1B1) and Australia (E-3), and nonimmigrant workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) classification.

The revised regulations include these changes, effective February 16, 2016:

  • H-1B1 and principal E-3 nonimmigrants will be included in the list of nonimmigrants who are authorized for employment incident to status with a specific employer. These nonimmigrants are allowed to work for the sponsoring employer without having to separately apply for employment authorization.
  • Continued employment is authorized with the same employer for up to 240 days for H-1B1 and principal E-3 nonimmigrants whose status has expired while their employer’s timely filed request for an extension of stay remains pending.
  • Continued employment is authorized with the same employer for up to 240 days for CW-1 nonimmigrants whose status has expired while their employer’s timely filed Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker, request for an extension of stay remains pending.

If an employer has timely filed an extension of stay for its H-1B1, E-3 or CW-1 nonimmigrant employee, the employer should write “240-Day Ext” and the date the employer submitted the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or Form I-129CW petition to USCIS in Section 2. The employer must reverify the employee’s employment authorization in Section 3 once a decision is received on the request for an extension of stay or by the end of the 240-day period, whichever comes first.

Note: The revised regulations also make changes affecting the immigrant classification for employment-based first preference (EB-1) outstanding professors and researchers. However, these changes do not affect completion of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, so they are not discussed on this page. For details, refer to the final rule published in the Federal Register.

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