The Department of Homeland Security has submitted a proposal to rescind the H-4 spousal work authorization regulation to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The rule was originally implemented in 2015 under the Obama Administration, permitted certain H-4 spouses to secure work authorization if the H-1B nonimmigrant spouse was the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker or had been granted H-1B status under sections 1069a) and (b) of AC21. The Trump Administration has been working towards ending the program as a part of the Buy American, Hire American program.
There is no update at this time on when the draft proposal will be published. OMB has 90 days to preview the proposal. After review it will be published in the Federal Register, at which time organizations and individuals are expected to have an opportunity to provide feedback during a public comment period, which is typically 30-60 days long. After the public comment period closes, DHS will review the feedback it receives and prepare to issue a final rule to rescind the program. DHS does take the feedback it receives seriously and have been known to reverse decisions based on the information they received.
This update does not have an immediate impact on H-4 visa holders at this time. USCIS will continue to accept and adjudicate new H-4 EAD applications and renewal under the current laws until the new regulation if finalized and implemented, a process that can take several months. To learn more about H-1B visa requirements, please click here, to learn more about other options for working in the United States, please click here.
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