On February 20, 2019 the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget their rule proposing “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization”. After many months of waiting and threats, the administration is moving forward with elimination of employment authorization for H-4 dependent spouses.
H-4 Employment Authorization
H-4 dependent spouse of certain H-1B spouses are eligible for employment authorization since May 26, 2015. The H-1B spouse must have an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker and must have been granted H-1B status to work beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.
H-4 dependent spouses are often women with advanced degrees whose H-1B spouse is waiting in the long green card backlog. Indian nationals, for instance, must wait more than 10 years for a green card. Their spouses with advanced degrees and work experience are forced to sit on the sidelines of the American economy during the long wait. Now nearly 100,000 H-4 visa holders, including 60,000 Indians, will be left jobless under the elimination of H-4 employment authorization.
The Office of Management and Budget is reviewing the DHS rule. Once reviewed expect the rule to be published in the Federal Register for public comment. Scarborough Law will keep you posted as the rule moves through the system.
This article is a service of Stephanie Scarborough and the team at Scarborough Law L.L.C. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions through strategic immigration planning. You can receive advice by calling or emailing our office today to schedule a consultation.