The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule that will effect skilled foreign workers in the United States. The final rule provides benefits to certain employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant visa programs. These benefits include: improved processes and increased certainty for U.S. employers seeking to sponsor and retain immigrant and non-immigrant workers; greater stability and job flexibility for those workers; and increased transparency and consistency in the application of DHS policy related to affected classifications. DHS states that the rule will “improv[e] the ability of U.S. employers to hire and retain high-skilled workers.” Many improvements have been made to the H-1B visa status, which is the most commonly used status by U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations temporarily. The rule provides for longer H-1B status extensions, and allows non-immigrants to change jobs or employers – with grace periods given for certain visa classifications. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on November 18, 2016 and will take effect on January 17, 2017 – just before President Obama will leave office. WATCH THIS BLOG FOR MORE DETAIL TO COME ON THIS NEW RULE.