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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has published a final rule to modernize and improve certain employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa programs while also amending regulations to better enable U.S. employers to hire and retain foreign workers. The rule takes effect on January 17, 2017.

According to a press release about the final rule regarding the nonimmigrant and immigrant visa programs from the USCIS – the government agency that is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and oversees lawful immigration to the United States – the DHS is, among other things, amending its regulations to:

  • Clarify and improve longstanding DHS policies and practices implementing sections of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act related to certain foreign workers.
  • Better enable U.S. employers to employ and retain high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions (Form I-140 petitions) while also providing stability and job flexibility to these workers.
  • Improve job portability for certain beneficiaries of approved Form I-140 petitions by maintaining a petition’s validity under certain circumstances despite an employer’s withdrawal of the approved petition or the termination of the employer’s business.
  • Clarify and expand when individuals may keep their priority date when applying for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.
  • Allow certain high-skilled individuals in the United States with E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 or O-1 nonimmigrant status, including any applicable grace period, to apply for employment authorization for a limited period if: 1) They are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140 petition, 2) An immigrant visa is not authorized for issuance for their priority date, and 3) They can demonstrate compelling circumstances exist that justify DHS issuing an employment authorization document in its discretion.

For more information, visit the Working in the U.S. page on the USCIS website or read the final rule in the Federal Register. The press release from the USCIS about the visa programs is available at

USCIS Publishes Revised Form I-9

On November 14, 2016, the USCIS published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification with changes designed to reduce errors and enhance form completion using a computer. Read the full story at

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a global background check firm that is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). ESR is also a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent that helps employers with Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance. To learn more, visit

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