A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

DHS 'Aspires' to Scrap H-4 EAD by 2020

Many that enter the U.S. for temporary employment under the H-1B specialty occupation visa bring their dependent spouse with them in H-4 status. Currently, H-4 visa holders are eligible for an EAD under the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses rule. These dependents can file form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization under the (c)(26) category and obtain authorization to work in the U.S.

However, the DHS has indicated for a while that it will scrap this immigration benefit. It has already submitted a rule titled Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization to the Office of Budget Management and Office for Information and Regulatory Affairs for review in February 2019.

DHS is the defendant in a case (Save Jobs USA v. Dep’t of Homeland Sec) challenging the H-4 EAD rule. DHS requested to indefinitely postpone the oral argument, arguing that the anticipated proposal to remove this rule altogether would render the case moot.

According to DHS, the notice of proposed rulemaking for eliminating the H-4 EAD category is expected to come forward in the Spring of 2020. If the rule moves forward toward implementation, H-4 dependents will not be able to legally work in the U.S. 

For those H-4 spouses who are eligible for H-4 EAD, they should file or extend their EADs immediately. 

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