Work Ban on Some H-4 Visa Holders Could Arrive in 3 Months

Within the next three months, the Trump administration plans on submitting a rule banning certain spouses of H-1B visa holders from obtaining an H-4 visa to work in the United States.

In a Sept. 21 court filing, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) clarified that timeline, pending final clearances and approvals by officials from DHS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). “DHS is making solid and swift progress in proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorization,” the filing reads; in theory, the timeline may extend further if OMB needs additional time to review.

The filing is the latest in a string of legal maneuvers stemming from a lawsuit filed by advocacy group Save Jobs USA, which has argued that DHS is taking far too long in rescinding the rule regarding spouses. (Save Jobs USA is composed of former tech employees who claim to have lost their jobs as a direct result of the H-1B visa.) Throughout 2018, DHS has filed several status reports, insisting that the case shouldn’t proceed because the rule is eventually going away, anyway.

The rule, issued in 2015, extends “eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.” Reports indicate that as many as 125,000 people are authorized to work via the H-4 visa with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

News first emerged in December 2017 that the Trump administration planned to shut down H-4 EAD. At the time, DHS cited the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order that Trump had signed the previous April as the reason behind the movement.

Well before that movement began, Save Jobs USA had been asking for congressional intervention, arguing that the process of issuing the H-4 visa to spouses of H-1 visa holders should be reversed on the grounds that DHS didn’t have the authority to issue such visas in the first place. Save Jobs USA filed its first lawsuit over the issue in April 2015, and the legal battle continues to this day.

For those who feel that H-4 visas potentially take jobs from tech workers who are U.S. citizens, the latest announcement of a shutdown should come as good news. It remains to be seen whether tech companies will push back; they might save their political capital to fight against new, proposed restrictions on H-1B visas.

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30 Responses to “Work Ban on Some H-4 Visa Holders Could Arrive in 3 Months”

  1. Amit Gupta

    I think this type of NEWS should be published with responsibility. If the rule is still under consideration or someone is still planning to bring it on, then I think publisher and writter should take it seriously and re-think before putting it on web. This directly impact the market sentiments.
    Even though this is not a rule yet but employer start to stay away from H4 EAD job seekers.
    I have read news about H4 end ban since last year. The hearing was in Feb, 2018 and then it kept on postponing. This is one of those news. Can the publisher take guarantee that in 3 months the H4 ead will be completely stopped for NEW and OLD holders?
    The employers and consultants take your news seriously and they do not read the hidden meaning it.
    It directly impacted those who has EAD but are not getting a job only due to so called NEWS. Please Please STOP doing this! OR write clearly the uncertainly and background on a news.

    • True,I agree to your statement. The author should do more home work before writing such articles. These type of articles are of no use. STOP making recruiters to think that H4EAD visa is bad.

        • Yes, I completely agree with John. Even more responsible thing to do is remove any kind of immigration visa in US, stop all imports and exports to US, ban students from other countries to come to US. This will enrich, educate and get more jobs to US people. Also, all the people who came in as immigrants and non immigrants to US including doctors should return to their own countries.

    • Hey there,
      Above blog post is a legally verifiable response that’s been posted by DHS to the court, with a clear mention of 90 day window (before this they have never agreed to a window or a deadline), it is no longer a case where in it will get delayed any further, it is coming and be prepared for it in the best way you possibly can – most people are taking this lightly assuming it will get delayed one more time – NOPE not this time.

      Let me be clear – go read the lawsuit and the court hearing, there is no other side – DHS has sided with Save Jobs USA, so there is no chance now, and DHS will not be able to delay any further, let’s check back in 90 days, and it will be very clear to you.

      Have a backup plan party is over ….

      Sometimes, wolf does carry the lamb away, but people assume it might be a joke.

      • Good Riddance

        THANK God… I love how all these job-stealing, 3rd world infiltrators had NO PROBLEM coming here to exploit all the loopholes, even at the expense of a real America’s career… Anything to get out of their 3rd world hell hole (and if you’ve never been there, believe me, it is)… But now that the party is over, they’re all crying foul. I love it!

        Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way back to your hell-hole of a country where there’s barely running water, HUGE illiteracy rates, and citizens crapping on the sides of roads… Enjoy! Hope you were dumb enough to buy a house here too!

        • I double that. Send this garbage back to where it came from. They come here expecting everything to be free. They avoid paying taxes while they expect us to pay their bills. I personally witnessed their performance. It takes 16 of them to do the job of 1 American. To top it off, they get paid at least 60% more than an American worker, being a consultant or contractor. They cheat and take credit for work done by their American counterpart. The Trump administration is on right track. Keep up with the good work. Don’t allow these vampires take over this beautiful country. Confiscate their assets and send them back to where they belong. Keep AMERICA GREAT.

  2. The author is wrong in both the title and article. The original statement is DHS “anticipated” to submit initial rule to OMB within 3 months, then OMB needs to clear it, DHS will publish it in registrar and then 2 months public commenting period, revise before publishing a final rule based on those comments. I can guarantee that no work ban will be done within 3 months, also those already approved EAD may stay valid until they expire.

    This article is full of misinfo and just unbelievable.

  3. Mark Edwards

    I think that the author of the article did state the situation correctly. The administration does intend to shut down the H-4 visa, and the article didn’t say how that would affect current H-4 visa holders. It’s a fairly simple situation, exclusive of DHCS continuing to block the Save Jobs USA lawsuit under the auspice of the H-4 visa is going away anyway. This was simply stated in the article.

  4. GOOD,… IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED LONG TIME BACK..; ALREADY WORK PERMIT ISSUED TO H-1B VISA HOLDER.. WHY WORK PERMIT FOR H4 VISA ??. THESE REDUNDANT H4 VISA TAKE AWAY JOBS OF US CITIZENS.. NEED TO STOP THIS NOW, AND APPLIED WITH FORCEFUL EFFECT.

  5. Buy Americans, Hire Americans and kick the H4 applicants out from USA. Millions are without job. Hire them first. All this companies are crying because of thier greed. Screw them

  6. Sebastian Christian

    While the total H1-B visas is only 80,000 per year, the number of L1 visas is UNLIMITED per year. Indian software body shops bring as many L1 visa workers as they are permitted to the USA. Even more abuse is this limitless visa allows a spouse to automatically work in the USA and even get green card. I knew so many college kids from India with just 4 or 5 years experience working on L1 visas in the USA. Most L1 visa holders tend to marry computer qualified graduates. So with one L1 getting job in the USA, the spouse also gets permission to work. There is no numerical limit on L1 visas.
    The L1 visa has two subcategories: L1A for executives and managers, and L1B for workers with specialized knowledge. An L1A status is valid for up to seven years; L1B status is good for up to five years.
    As long as you were employed in managerial or executive position for one continuous year in the preceding three years (in U.S. or outside the U.S.), you can apply for green card in EB1C category immediately. … Otherwise, you will have to be on L1A visa status for one year before applying for green card in EB1C category.
    Spouse and minor unmarried children under the age of 21 years can accompany L1 visa holder and L2 spouse can get EAD and work in the U.S. … Dependents may be able to accompany them on a B2 visa (tourist visa) but there is no dependent visa. B2 visa holders are not allowed to work in the U.S.

    • I agree…. ” EB1C category.” is abused the most. If you do a statistics, then I am of the firm belief that 80% of the cases of EB1C green-cards are fraud and misfit. uscis has been fooled by companies on this category.

  7. Think Wise

    9 out of 10 people that I know, applied for H4 EAD only to be eligible for Social Security Number so that their spouses can get State ID, Drivers License, etc because some states like Illinios does not issue state ID without SSN. So if Social Security Administration issues SSN to H4 candidates, several people will refrain from EAD.

    • Looks like you are not aware of documentation required to get State ID / Driving License; You don’t need SS number and you don’t need EAD or work permit for H4 to get Drv Lic;

      Here is the typical list of documents needed; these correspond to H4 visa holder.
      Passport along with Visa
      I-94 card.
      H4 Approval notice ( I797 form H4)
      H1B approval notice of the spouse (I797 form H1B)
      Letter from SSN office that you are not eligible for SSN.
      Utility Bill ( You can get electricity bill or phone bill on your name).
      Rental Lease papers (If you have name on it.
      Bank account Statements of US Banks.
      Medical Insurance Papers
      ITIN of H4 visa holder (Individual tax identification Number)
      International Driving license ( if you have one from home country)

      Depending on state sometimes they ask for H1B visa holders Passport, SSN and I-94.
      So, it is a good idea for your spouse to come along with you with documents.
      Date of Birth certificate from Home country (in English)

      So, … No excuses for H4 visa holders to getting work permit or telling lies to get work permit; One H-1B Visa with work permit is more than enough for Spouse on H4 Visa to get Drv Lic; If H-1B visa cannot afford family or spouse.. let them not come… Same as in Saudi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman & UAE… ; No more of this sham and fraud… enough is enough;

  8. Laudeshwar venkat

    Author has not done research and does not understand visa system for sure. Why? Story starts with incorrect lines ” ban on h4 visa ” ots not correct…ban will be on h4 ead and not h4 visa

  9. Im from India and I think its damn fair enough to take out the H4 out of the states..before 2015 there was no concept of H4 EAD .Well if both Husband and wife wants to work they can go back to India..you cant have the whole family eating the American job market..

    Im also sure that we indians dont welcome anyone in our country to eat our jobs unreasonably

    • ABSOLUTELY…; No work permits for H4 visa spouses…. ; If one cannot afford to have family here.. so be it… ; These H-1B visa holders are being cheated by their hiring companies and these companies steal more than half of the paid salaries; Indians stealing money from their own kind..; It is absolutely not going to be permitted to steal jobs from US Citizens;

  10. There was Never any justification for allowing H4 visa holders the right to work in the US. There is no labor need for this large number of workers to appear on the scene. The comments about the rule on the government website were appalling. They actually claimed it would be good to present the H1b worker as a ‘two for one’ deal. There were a huge number of copy/paste statements about how they were truly talented and were wasting their education – not my problem, it was not a secret. There is No Reason for the US government to act against the interests of the American citizen in the job arena, and this is what Obama did. Remember this at the polls: the Democrats have not walked back the ‘staple a green card to the diploma of every foreign student’ promise that Hilary Clinton made. We cannot let the Democrats take away our ability to work in our own country without discrimination based on national origin and race.

  11. I think H1B rules need to be tightened and made sure people with the right abilities remain here. Companies and people trying to game the system must be removed and stronger conditions need to be imposed on new H1B candidates. It makes sense to have H4 spouses also working as they will contribute to their families and to the economy in general. Very few American kids enter the field of technology and you will be stunned to see the composition of under graduate and graduate tech programs. Most are from Asia which include Indians, Chinese etc. American parents must encourage kids to take up science and math and it’s the only real way to stop future H1Bs from coming in. Most kids prefer careers in sales, finance and nursing. It’s easy to get influenced by talks of throwing people out and difficult to think about the underlying problems.