UPDATE: OMB Has Reviewed Proposal to Rescind H4 EAD

May is an important month in the journey deciding the future of H4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) holders. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) just reviewed the draft of the proposal to rescind the right to work for H4 EAD visa holders within the US. This however, has not resulted in anything concrete, which may be a blessing in disguise for the said visa holders. Even though a final decision is far away, the fact that the OMB is yet to find a concrete reason to rescind this rule is positive.

H4 EAD – Current State

  • As OMB undertakes the first step of the rule-making process, it has reviewed the proposal.
  • The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) seems dissatisfied with the so called negative effects of the right to work for certain qualified H4 dependent visa holders.
  • They are asking for further justifications from the Department of Homeland Security to understand the economic harm to the US workforce because of H4 EAD.
  • Additionally, a recent study concluded that the number of this visa holders is so small that it does not really affect the American working force.
  • Before the proposal is published in the Federal Register as an official rule, a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) is published. This allows vested members to oppose the rule change through commenting and displaying concrete action against the rule. This period lasts up to 30 days since this proposal is categorized under the ‘Economical Impact & Significant’ Rule.
  • Based on the degree of opposition, the proponents of the right to work for dependents will have gathered enough data to fight this rescission in the federal court. Currently a group called Save Jobs USA is litigating it in the federal court.
  • This is a critical phase for everyone vested in this right to work to actively participate and voice their opposition.
  • For now, hope continues that since the OMB also sees a lack of threat with the H4EAD, the urgency to rescind it may be relegated for another time. Eligible applicants should continue applying for EAD and seek extensions when due for renewals.

H-4 EAD: Positive Impact on US Economy

H-4, dependent visa holders and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that they are eligible to receive since 2015 has been in the news lately and this time it is for a good reason. A recent survey of over 10,000 respondents concluded that they have had nothing but a positive influence over the US economy.

The last couple of months have seen a lot of upheaval among the H-4 EAD holders when the DHS sent out an initial ruling to the Office of the Management and Budget rescinding the right to work for these H4 visa holders. In retaliation to that, a petition was floated on the White House website requesting the US government not to revoke the H4 EAD. This is one among the many immigration based law firms that are appealing and fighting this proposed ruling. Also among these was a recent survey that determined the actual advantages that H-4 EAD holders have had on the US economy instead of hurting it. Some of the highlights are below:

  • Entrepreneurship & Development: Thanks to the right to work, H-4 EAD holders have been able to start businesses that employ American workers thereby creating more jobs within the US market.
  • Young Talent: The average age bracket for these EAD holders is 20 to 39 years which is the working age group driving economic growth in the US today.
  • Highly skilled: More than half of the H-4 EAD population holds a Master’s degree in a STEM program. This means it’s a highly educated and talented crowd that can only have a positive impact on the US making it competitive in the global arena.
  • Economic Support: They not only provide economic support for their H1-B spouses but also encourage other foreign talent to come into the country with their families and not abandon their efforts to acquire lawful permanent residency and continue to support the US economy in high-skilled talent.
  • Open bigger pool of Talent: By offering dependent spouses another avenue to work in the US through EAD, the H1-B option is kept available for a larger outside group to apply and bring in more skilled labor to the US shores, thus making it much more competitive.
  • Untouched US Workers: Given that the median US household income is $61, 822 and H-4 EAD holders earn more than that, the category of jobs they are in suggests that it is not displacing US workers at all.

While yet to go on the floors of the Congress for a vote, these statistics do bring in a ray of hope for the H-4 EAD holders who are waiting with bated breath about a decision about their professional futures. Proven time and time again that they are not a competition to others in the US labor market, they have only made a positive impact towards the entrepreneurship, research and development exercises in the US. So go ahead and apply for the H-4 EAD if your primary H-1B beneficiary has an approved Form I-140 and on his way for a green card. If you are looking to do so, follow the steps for the EAD application process and fill out the Form I-765 today.