The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently notified a federal court of appeals that it will delay issuing a formal notice to rescind the rule allowing H-4 visa holders to obtain work permits.
Previously, DHS, which oversees U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), indicated it would issue a formal notice to rescind the rule in February. Now, DHS anticipates submitting a revised proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review by June 2018.
The update stems from a lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA after the H-4 rule went into effect in 2015. The spouses of H-1B visa holders receive H-4 visas. H-4 visa holders can receive a work permit—or Employment Authorization Document (EAD)—if their H-1B holder spouse is obtaining a green card. Save Jobs USA, whose members are former tech workers displaced by H-1B professionals, seeks to block DHS from issuing the work permits.
DHS indicated it will update the court regarding the H-4 EAD process in May 2018. Once OMB approves the DHS proposal to end the H-4 EAD rule, DHS will publish it in the Federal Register. Once published, the public will have at least 30 days to comment. Following that public comment period, DHS could make changes to the rule based on public input. DHS would publish the final rule in the Federal Register along with the effective date.
H-4 EAD Holders Act Now
Although H-4 visa holders have another four months or so to file for a work permit, the Alcorn Immigration Law team is advising clients—both H-4 visa holders and the companies that employ them—to explore alternatives now.
DHS reiterated to the court of appeals it still plans to rescind the H-4 work permit rule despite the delay.
We Can Help
The Alcorn Immigration Law team continues to closely monitor this and all other immigration policy developments. Contact us for a consultation to determine the best path forward for you, your company, your employees, or your family.