On February 24th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an official statement that authorizes H-4 dependent spouses to legally accept employment. Employment Authorization for H-4 visa holders was an important element for President Obama’s 2014 Executive Action.
Requirements for H-4 Employment Authorization
As outlined in USCIS’s official communication, certain dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders will be eligible to accept legal employment in the U.S. The requirements for employment authorization are as follows:
• The individual must be the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker: OR
• Have been granted the H-1B status according to sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitivesness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. This Act allows for H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking permanent resident status to work and remain in the U.S., past the initial six year limit on their H-1B status.
Benefits of H-4 Employment Authorization
The discussion of authorizing legal employment for H-4 dependent spouses is not a new topic. This decision was reached after months of discussion. To read more about the benefits of H-4 employment authorization please read, Allowing H-1B Spouses to Work Benefits U.S. Economy. In an official communication from DHS, the organization believes that this expansion of employment authorization will carry the following benefits:
- Reduce economic stresses on H-1B dependent families.
- Reduce personal stresses felt by H-1B dependent families.
- Aid in the transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent status.
- Encourage skilled H-1B workers to remain in the U.S.
- Benefit the U.S. economy by tapping into a new pool of skilled workers.
H-4 Employment Authorization Start Date
USCIS has communicated that this new rule will not be put into effect officially until May 26, 2015. Initial projections from USCIS are that over 175,000+ applications for H-4 employment will be submitted with 50,000+ applications in following years.
Potential Applicants Should Start Preparing Now
This decision will benefits H-1B families nationwide. However, the application process contains several steps and there is ample room for error. Potential applicants should work with an immigration attorney who has extensive experience with H-1B and H-4 visas.
We are Ready to Help You!
Pride Immigration Law Firm PLLC is ready to help potential applicants reach their goal of obtaining legal employment authorization. Our firm has over a decade of experience managing H-4 visas cases. If you are interested in learning more, or are ready to start preparing for the upcoming start date give us a call or contact us online.