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Executive Summary: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") has proposed to amend its regulations by extending the availability of employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants.
The proposed group of H-4 spouses who would be eligible for work authorization are those whose H-1B spouses are in the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment and have extended their H-1B status beyond six years on that basis. Thus, under the proposed terms, an H-4 spouse whose H-1B spouse has not extended his/her H-1B status beyond 6 years based on an employment-based green card process will not be eligible to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD).
The Obama administration has stated that allowing the eligible class of H-4 dependent spouses to work will help employers retain valuable professionals. This proposed rule is currently pending with the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB"), but it could be several months before the rule is finalized and becomes effective.
If you have any questions regarding the employment authorization process for H-4 spouses or other business immigration questions, please contact Charlie Roach, email@example.com, Geetha Adinata, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Brian Cunningham, email@example.com, all of whom are members of FordHarrison's Business Immigration Practice Group, or the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.
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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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