H-4 and H-1B Visa Holders Remain in Limbo


Under an Obama administration-era rule, spouses of H-1B visa holders who are applying for legal permanent residence, or a green card, gained work authorization that generally was renewable from one year to the next. This rule allowed these spouses, present on H-4 visas, to get a job and further their own careers while in the United States. The ability to obtain work authorization also has been a selling point to recruit workers to come to the U.S. on H-1B visas; not only can H-1B visa holders bring their spouses and minor children with them to the U.S., but the spouses also can work. As a testament to the success of the program, there have been over 91,000 approved applications for work authorizations for H-4 visa holders.

Green card
H-4 and H-1B Visa Holders Remain in Limbo

The Trump administration announced its intention to revoke the work authorization for spouses of H-1B visa holders long ago. In February, however, as promised, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted a proposed regulation to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that would remove work authorization from H-1B visa holder spouses. Until the rulemaking process is complete, the work authorizations for these spouses remain in place, but both H-1B visa holders and their spouses remain in limbo indefinitely, waiting to find out whether a final rule will go into place.

For some couples, the inability of the H-1B visa holder’s spouse to work is a deal breaker. In other words, some couple state that they would not have come to the U.S. if they knew that one of them would not be able to work. Many individuals also feel like the U.S. government has unfairly changed the rules in the middle of the game. These couples are awaiting their green cards and doing everything that they are supposed to, and now, one of the spouses suddenly cannot work to support the family or pursue a career. For the many couples that live in large cities that are known for the high number of tech jobs, the cost of living is high, and may be unreasonable if both spouses cannot work and contribute to household expenses. Our Texas immigration lawyers are here to offer you the experienced legal representation and advice that you need in order to resolve your immigration law matter. We can act as your guide through the complicated immigration process to obtain the relief that you are seeking. Call our office today and learn about the type of assistance we can offer you.

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