Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses
Spouses and children who qualify for dependent nonimmigrant classification of H-1B are eligible for H-4 nonimmigrant visa status. However, unlike the spouses of E and L nonimmigrant visa status holders, H-1B dependent spouses are ineligible to apply for employment authorization. Being ineligible for employment authorization causes huge impact on lives of H-1B spouses as they are unable to pursue their careers when they accompany their spouse to the US and essentially put a significant part of their lives on hold.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to amend its regulations by extending the availability of employment authorization to H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants who have begun the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment and have extended their authorized period of admission or “stay” in the U.S. Allowing the eligible class of H-4 dependent spouses to work encourages professionals with high demand skills to remain in the country and help spur the innovation and growth of U.S. companies.
These measures build on continuing DHS efforts to streamline, eliminate inefficiency, and increase the transparency of the existing immigration system, such as by the launch of Entrepreneur Pathways, an online resource center that gives immigrant entrepreneurs an intuitive way to navigate opportunities to start and grow a business in the United States.
The proposed amendment is encouraging and highlights the growing importance of business immigration in the US. Our nation has always attracted individuals with great drive and entrepreneurial spirit. As the world’s greatest economy and a global leader in innovation, the United States must continue to welcome and retain the next generation of foreign entrepreneurs who will start new businesses and create new jobs here in America.