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Employment Authorization Will Be Extended To Certain H-4 Dependents

| Feb 8, 2024 | Firm News

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that, effective May 26, 2015, it will extend employment authorization to H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders who are seeking lawful permanent residence based on their employment.  The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa for employees working in a “specialty occupation” that requires a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and a certain level or theoretical and practical knowledge.  It is a dual intent visa that allows for employers to file immigrant visa petitions after going through a labor certification process.  Accompanying spouses are accorded H-4 visas and are not given employment

Eligible individuals include H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B workers who:

  • Have an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Have been granted H-1B status in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B workers seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit.

Extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants is one of several initiatives underway to modernize, improve and clarify visa programs to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs.

Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” Rodríguez said. “It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.”

It is a step in the right direction.  Ideally, H-4 dependents should be granted employment authorization in general.

By Grace Alano.  Grace Alano is an immigration attorney at Alano Immigration in San Francisco, CA. Find Grace Alano on Google+

Photo by Kompania Piwowarska.