Trump Administration Considering Removal of H-4 Work Permits

November 22, 2017 Ian Helms

Sources in a recent San Francisco Chronicle article say the Trump administration is still considering plans to stop issuing work permits to spouses of H-1B visa holders, overturning a 2015 rule issued by the Obama administration. While no new regulation has been passed or even introduced, supporters of the H-4 program believe the removal of the H-4 work permits could have a domino effect on both the economy and overall talent landscape.

Since 2015, spouses of H-1B visa holders waiting for green cards have been eligible to work in the U.S. on H-4 dependent visas, and according to stats cited in the Chronicle, “From October 2015 to September 2016, 41,526 people received authorization to work under the program.” However, if the Trump administration succeeds in revoking these work permits, thousands of immigrant spouses may lose the ability to work in the U.S., potentially halving their families’ incomes and creating issues employers hoping to bring talented workers to their organizations.

H-4 Work Permits: Why Now?

Save Jobs USA, an organization comprised of IT workers, says the government should not have the ability to grant work permits to immigrants through a rule rather than congressional approval and has filed a lawsuit against The Department of Homeland Security arguing this point. While the Trump administration used a similar argument to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and delay the International Entrepreneur Rule, they have delayed in making a decision in the case since February.

Key Factors to Note

While the lawsuit is underway, it’s important to remember that no new regulation has been introduced or proposed at this point. The deadline for the administration to take a position on the lawsuit itself is January 2, 2018. As of right now, H-1B spouses are still able to apply for work permits and, even if the work permit program was rescinded, implementation of new regulations would require a lengthy notice-and-comment period.

To read the full article, click here.

We’ll continue to keep you updated, but if you have questions about H-4 work permits or are looking to renew your H-4 EAD, please reach out to Customer Support for assistance.

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