DHS to publish new rules regarding employment authorization for H-4 visa holders

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is set to publish new rules regarding employment authorization for spouses of some H-1B workers.

Although DHS has not revealed full details of its proposed rulemaking, it is expected to grant eligibility for employment authorization to H-4 visa holders who are spouses of H-1B workers who have filed for lawful permanent residence through employment under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21).  It is expected that the H-4 spouses of H-1B workers who have not begun the process of applying for permanent residency through employment under AC21 will remain ineligible to apply for employment authorization.

The Obama administration has indicated that this change will encourage professionals with in-demand skills to remain in the country while helping to spur innovation and economic growth.  Furthermore, this change will bring U.S. immigration policy more in line with other developed countries seeking to attract global talent.

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