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DHS Plans to End Employment Authorization for H-4 Spouses

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed amending its rule permitting employment authorization for H‑4 dependent spouses. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues H‑4 visas to the spouses and minor children of H‑1B visa holders. Currently, an H‑4 dependent spouse is permitted to receive an employment authorization under certain conditions, specifically if the H‑1B visa holder is the principle beneficiary of an approved, employment-based immigrant visa petition (Form I-140) with a backlogged priority date. The proposed change will rescind the regulation permitting H-4 employment authorization.

DHS believes that ending H-4 employment authorization will benefit workers in the United States, making it easier for them to obtain jobs. The agency also expects that the end of H-4 employment authorization will save money and lower labor turnover costs for employers.

DHS has not yet made public the text of its proposed regulation. On February 20, DHS sent the proposed rule change, marked “economically significant,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. After the OMB completes its review, the Federal Register will publish a notice of the proposed regulation and the public will have an opportunity to comment on the rule.

We will provide updates when more information becomes available.  If you have questions, please contact one of the immigration attorneys at Deutsch, Killea and Eapen, Immigration Law Firm

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