It’s clear that immigration is and will continue to be one of the main focuses of the current administration’s policy. And while the H-1B visa has been in the news a lot recently, another visa directly related to the H-1B is also facing some changes that could affect your workforce: the H-4 visa.
What is an H-4 visa?
The H-4 visa is a nonimmigrant classification for dependent spouses and children of temporary workers who hold an H-1B visa, an H-1C visa, an H-2A visa, an H-2B visa or an H-3 visa. Under the current regulations, only certain H-4 visa holders can apply for employment. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, currently, people under this visa can apply for employment if they:
- Are the principle beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
- Have been granted H-1B status in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (AC21). Under AC21, certain H-1B workers seeking employment-based lawful permanent residence may be eligible to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year H-1B period of admission limitation.
And if H-4 visa holders are granted authorization for employment, the individual will be given an Employment Authorization Document or EAD.
What changes might be coming for H-4 visa holders?
Employment for H-4 visa holders was implemented in 2015, but under the new administration, this benefit is being reevaluated. In April, following a lawsuit that was filed, the Department of Justice requested an additional 180 days to review the rule that permits these individuals to work in the United States.
Right now, H-4 visa holders can continue to apply for employment, but if the rules change there is the possibility that any work permits granted may be stripped. If any of your employees are on an H-1B visa and have dependent spouses or children on the H-4 visa and they are seeking or have been granted a work permit, the outcome of the DOJ’s review can create a major impact on your employees and your organization.
To learn more about H Visas and the requirements needed, please download our complete overview guide.
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