The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this week that it will be publishing two proposed rules—one to extend employment authorization to spouses of certain H-1B workers, and another to enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled workers by removing obstacles to remaining in the U.S.
The first proposed rule will amend existing regulations to allow H-4 dependent spouses of certain principal H-1B workers to request employment authorization. Under existing regulations, DHS does not extend employment authorization to H-4 nonimmigrants.
The second proposed rule would update the regulations to (1) include nonimmigrant high-skilled specialty occupation professionals from Chile and Singapore (H-1B1) and from Australia (E-3) in the list of classes of aliens authorized for employment incident to status with a specific employer, (2) clarify that H-1B1 and principal E-3 nonimmigrants are allowed to work without having to separately apply to DHS for employment authorization, (3) allow E-3, H-1B1 and CW-1 nonimmigrant workers up to 240 days of continued work authorization beyond the expiration date noted on their Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, while an extension request is pending, and (4) expand the current list of evidentiary criteria for employment-based first preference (EB-1) outstanding professors and researchers to allow the submission of evidence comparable to the other forms of evidence already listed in the regulations.
Both Notices of Proposed Rulemaking will soon be published in the Federal Register. The public may comment on the proposed rules through www.regulations.gov. All public comments will be considered by DHS before the final rules are published and go into effect.