On November 18, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security published new regulations that will benefit certain categories of employment-based nonimmigrants. The new rules are intended to provide high-skilled foreign workers with added flexibility with their employment options. The regulations will go into effect on January 17, 2017.
Highlights of the new rules include:
New Grace Periods
The new rules will establish 10-day grace periods for individuals holding E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1, and TN classification. The rules allow for an initial grace period of up to 10 days prior to the start of the authorized validity period and for a second grace period of up to 10 days after the end of the authorized period of stay in the United States.
The rules also establish a grace period of up to 60 consecutive days whenever employment ends for certain nonimmigrant workers. This rule applies to individuals (and their family) holding E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1, and TN classification. During the grace period the nonimmigrant worker may apply for an extension of stay or change of status. Though the nonimmigrant is not authorized to work during this grace period, the rule provides flexibility to pursue new employment or a change of status in case of sudden termination.
Automatic Extension of Employment Authorization
Individuals applying for renewal of Optional Practical Training (OPT) and adjustment of status applicants who have a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) may be granted automatic extensions of their EAD for up to 180 days, as long as they renew their EAD prior to its expiration date.
These only a few highlights of the changes taking place starting on January 17, 2017.
Please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.