DHS to Issue U.S. Work Permits for Some H-4 Spouses
On May 6, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially announced that the United States will offer employment authorization to H-4 spouses of H-1B specialty occupation workers under certain conditions.
Historically, H-4 spouses of H-1B workers have not had the right to work in the United States, although they have been able to legally reside here and enroll in U.S. schools during the period of H-1B approval. Many spouses in H-4 status become eligible to apply for U.S. employment authorization when the H-1B principal is sponsored for Lawful Permanent Resident status by a U.S. employer. However, due to quotas restricting the number of employment-based green cards issued each year, many H-4 spouses (especially from India and China) must wait for many years after such sponsorship before they can apply for employment authorization. The new H-4 provisions appear targeted to benefit these individuals.
For more information, please contact the Immigration Practice Group at Lane Powell: