Plans to Revoke H-4 Work Authorization Postponed


Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer September 18, 2019
Plans to Revoke H-4 Work Authorization Postponed

​Eligible spouses of H-1B visa holders can continue to seek and renew work authorization until at least 2020, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statement.

A 2015 rule provides work authorization to the spouses of H-1B workers who have been approved to seek employment-based lawful permanent resident status or whose H-1B status has been extended beyond the six-year limit. Roughly 120,000 spouses—H-4 visa holders—have been granted work authorization through the program since it began.

We've rounded up articles and resources from SHRM Online and other outlets on the news.

Temporary Reprieve

DHS told the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 16 that it doesn't expect to publish a proposed rule rescinding work authorization for H-4 visa holders any sooner than spring of next year, and likely even later than that. The department said that it is, however, moving ahead with the rulemaking process to rescind the 2015 rule.

(San Francisco Chronicle)

Plans to Rescind Work Permits Delayed

Several previous pledges to publish the rule rescinding H-4 employment authorization have come and gone. DHS first signaled in late 2017 that the proposed rule terminating employment authorization for H-4 workers was scheduled for February 2018. The proposal finally made its way to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review in 2019, where it has languished.

(SHRM Online)

H-4 Controversy

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has urged DHS to keep the 2015 rule, arguing that ending work authorization would hinder efforts to attract high-skilled foreign talent and would prevent spouses, most of whom are women, from continuing their careers. The typical H-4 beneficiary is a 30-year-old Indian woman.

Critics of the Obama-era rule say that IT outsourcing companies—predominant users of the H-1B (and its ancillary, the H-4)—supplant U.S. workers and drive down wages.

(Denver Post)

How to Apply for H-4 Employment Authorization

Applicants will need to submit an I-765 employment authorization application with supporting evidence and the required fee.

(SHRM Online)


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