New benefits for Singaporeans working in the United States under H1b1 visa status

If you are Singaporean who is working in the United States on H-1b1 status or if you are thinking about applying for H-1b1 visa to work in the United States, you should read below as new policies from Department of Homeland Security are helping workers in H-1b1 status receive more protection.

Singaporeans enjoy an exclusive set of quota for H-1b1 work visa because Singapore has a treaty with the United States government. This means that whereas applicants for H-1b1 work visa from other countries have to fight over a limited quota of 65000, Singaporeans are able to apply for H-1b1 work visa almost all year round. As far as I have been in practice, I do not believe that the Singaporean H-1b1 quota has ever been exhausted in any given year.

Singaporean H-1b1 work visa holder now has the same protection as the regular H-1b visa holder because Department of Homeland Security finally caught up with its regulatory policy.

H-1b work visa comes with several protections for transitioning to another employer, for example, or extension beyond the statutory limit after a green card application has been filed. Immigration lawyers around the country has been campaigning for the government to extend such protection to other similar work visa status such as H-1b1 (Singaporean/Chilean) and E-3 (specialty occupation work visa for Australian). Now the time has come for USCIS to extend the same protection to similar work visas. Please see below for the newest policy update from USCIS on January 15, 2016.

  • DHS is including H-1B1 and principal E-3 classifications in the list of classes of foreign nationals authorized for employment incident to status with a specific employer. This means that H-1B1 and principal E-3 nonimmigrants are allowed to work for the sponsoring employer without having to separately apply for employment authorization.
  • DHS is authorizing continued employment 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 extension of stay request remains pending.
  • Existing regulations on the filing procedures for extensions of stay and change of status requests now include principal E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrant classifications.
  • Employers petitioning for EB-1 outstanding professors and researchers may now submit initial evidence comparable to the other forms of evidence already listed in 8 CFR 204.5(i)(3)(i), much like certain employment-based immigrant categories that already allow for submission of comparable evidence.

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