The US Department of Homeland security has completed a proposed regulation to bring to an end the H-4 EAD program, which gives to the right to work the H-4 visa holders. A notice on the proposal has been published by the Office of Management and Budget, which suggests the removal of certain H-4 visa holders from its regulation as aliens eligible for employment.
“On February 25, 2015, DHS published a final rule extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS is publishing this notice of proposed rulemaking to amend that 2015 final rule. DHS is proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorization,” the notice reads.
The DHS estimates that US workers would benefit from this rule by having a better chance of obtaining jobs that the H-4 employees currently hold.
Now the OMB can take from a few to 90 days to review the rule. Upon the review, the rule will be published and available for public comments.
The H-4 visa is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members of the H-1B workers. Before 2015, H-4 visa holders were not permitted to work, but the rules changed during the Obama presidency, with the introduction of the H-4 EAD program.
Dissimilar to the H-1B, the H-4 status is not restricted to a specific employer and the employer does not need to obtain approval from the Department of Labor.
According to a previous study carried by Christopher J.L Cunningham of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Pooja B.Vijaykumar from the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick, there are around 100,000 H-4 visa holders to be left jobless as a result. Most of those living and working in the US under this visa are Indian-Americans and women.