Since 2015, the spouses of H-1B, or high-skilled, visa holders waiting for green cards have been eligible to work in the U.S. under a rule introduced by the Obama administration. These H4 visa holders were granted EADs, or employment authorization documents, to work legally in the US, which is now in jeopardy as a result of the Trump administration’s immigration reforms.
A new rule could prevent H4 visa holders from pursuing other avenues for work authorization. If their spouses can’t easily find work, a number of high-skilled immigrants may be deterred from staying in the U.S.
The proposed regulation is a result of fears that the H-4 EAD program is taking jobs, and therefore wages, from American workers. Though no changes have been made yet, the changes could be made in a matter of months. It is currently unknown how the changes will affect people with existing H4 EADs or pending applications.
In addition to making these changes, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is also considering making significant changes to the H-1B visa program as part of the key agendas of Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order. DHS will be revisiting the job categories eligible for obtaining H-1B visa; which will increase the focus on getting the best and brightest foreign workforce to work in the US.
The process for renewing a visa was already toughening beginning in October. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services instructed its officers to review requests for renewal as thoroughly as they would during initial visa applications.
Stay tuned for more updates. Learn more about H4 EAD Application Process.