A Relief For Spouses Of H-1B Visa Holders, US Govt Postpones Curbs On Work Permit

| March 3 , 2018 , 14:28 IST

The decision to revoke the right of work given to the spouses of H-1B visa holders has been postponed by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The deadline for rolling out the order to bar employment seeking individuals falling in the category has been extended to June.

The earlier date to issue the draft proposal was decided as February 2018. The plan of allowing the spouses of H-1B visa holders, waiting for green cards, to work in the United States on H-4 dependent visas was introduced in 2015 by Barack Obama-led government.

The procedure of rescinding the rule had already started last year but the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services had determined in January that "significant revisions to the draft proposal were necessary." The new economic analysis might take several weeks, which is why the target date was deferred.

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Reportedly, more than a lakh employment authorisations have been given to eligible spouses since the rule's introduction and over 30,000 such applications, in addition to renewal requests, are handled by DHS every year. The issue of draft proposal will only be the first step towards revoking the mechanism.

While no date has yet been finalised for the publication of the new rule, the process is likely to stretch until year's end or 2019. The new rule will not allow the spouses of H-1B visa holders with the H4 visa to work or carry out any business without obtaining an 'employment authorisation document' (EAD).

Notably, one cannot be granted the H4 visa unless their spouses are on the way of acquiring a green card or their H-1B status has been extended beyond six years due to pending approval. DHS is still accepting the EAD applications, which takes up to 90 days for processing.