USCIS Begins Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Spouses Says Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 24, 2015 – Beginning May 26, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for employment authorization from qualifying H-4 spouses of H-1B visa holders.
An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa classification that allows a U.S. employer to temporarily employ a foreign worker in a specialty occupation that requires at minimum a bachelor’s degree and specialized knowledge in a field. H-4 visas are issued to immediate family members of an H-1B visa holder.
The change in policy means that an H-4 spouse may apply for employment authorization if their H-1B spouse is in the process of applying for permanent residency and has either received an extension of their H-1B status under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act (AC21) or is the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.
“Finally, there is some relief for the families whose H-1B spouses have been waiting in line for a visa number, some for years, especially from India and China,” said immigration attorney Stewart Rabinowitz, of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.
“Absent a change in immigration law, employment based visa backlogs in those countries will take years to resolve, placing H-1B families in limbo,” explained Rabinowitz. “These are a small but significant number of highly talented people who have followed the rules, waiting for their turn. Now at least their spouses can have the freedom to work in the United States.”
An organization called Save Jobs USA filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeking to stop the new regulations from taking effect, but U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan issued a memorandum opinion finding that the plaintiff organization had not shown that its members would suffer an injury under the policy.
According to DHS, nearly 180,000 new foreign workers may be added to the workforce in the first year of the rule, with as many as 55,000 new foreign workers added each year thereafter.