A Department of Homeland Security rule takes effect today to improve programs for Australian nationals in the E-3 category and Chilean and Singaporean nationals in the H-1B1 category.

The rule is designed to remove obstacles for highly skilled workers and help provide for continued employment of H-1B1 and E-3 professionals seeking extensions of status. The changes are in line with the rules for other nonimmigrant visa categories, including the H-1B category.

Specifically, the rule allows H-1B1 and principal E-3 nonimmigrants to work for a sponsoring employer without having to apply for separate employment authorization. It also authorizes continued employment with the same employer for up to 240 days for H-1B1 and principal E-3 nonimmigrants whose status has expired, provided their employer has filed to extend their status.

The rule similarly permits continued employment if an extension request is pending for nonimmigrant workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) classification.

Finally, the rule also benefits outstanding professors and researchers in the employment-based first preference category (EB-1) by allowing them to submit expanded types of evidence to prove they are internationally recognized as outstanding in their academic fields. Previously, applicants were limited to an enumerated list of initial evidence to prove their qualifications. Under the new rule, applicants will be able to submit evidence that is comparable to the delineated types of evidence.

DHS proposed the rule in May of 2014. The final rule was published in the Federal Register Jan. 15 and takes effect today.

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