Work Permits for H-1B Spouses in Jeopardy
The H-1B visa has already been proven difficult to get approved for. The nonimmigrant visa program allows companies within the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelors or higher degree in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. The immediate family members of the H-1B visa holders are therefore issued an H-4 visa which in turn allows them to lawfully come and stay in the United States. The spouses of those who are granted an H-1B visa are also permitted to work in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently begun the steps in eliminating the work authorization or also known as employment authorization documents (EADs) for the spouses of H-1B visa holders. If the proposed regulation was approved this would mean that over 90,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders will no longer be permitted to lawfully work in the United States.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) spokeswoman, Jessica Collins, “USCIS continues reviewing all employment-based visa programs, including H-4 EADs…No decision about the regulation concerning the employment eligibility of certain H-4 spouses is final until the rulemaking process is complete.” It is still unclear on whether existing H-4 EADs or pending I-765 applications for H-4 EADs will be cancelled once the final rule is approved. H-4 EAD visa holders are also unsure if once the final rule is approved and passed if their visa will be automatically revoked or they simply will not be allowed to renew their visa. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic please feel free to contact an immigration attorney.