H4 visa holders heaved a sigh of relief as the Department of Homeland Security postponed making a decision on terminating their work authorization. In this article, we discuss the impact of the decision and the changes that are being introduced.
This document is given to dependent family members of H1B visa holders. The holder’s spouses and children under the age of 21 years are eligible for this visa. Under the rules laid down by the Obama administration, certain visa holders can get a driver’s license; pursue education, open bank accounts and work in the United States of America. This rule came into effect in 2015.
To work in the USA, H4 visa holders need to apply for Employment Authorization. This route is open to the spouses of H1B visa holders who are on track for a Green Card. This means that their Green Card petition has either been approved or that their H1B visa status has been extended pending this decision.
Changes Being Introduced for H4 Visa Holders
In an effort to tighten immigration and create more jobs for Americans, the current US government led by Donald Trump has been considering terminating work authorization for the visa holders. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was to make a decision regarding this change on February 28, 2018.
However, it has said that this decision will be postponed for the time being. In a court submission, the DHS said that it would need time to review the economic impact of this decision. This would need a new economic analysis which could take several weeks to complete.
According to the new timeline proposed by the DHS, a decision on the work authorization of the document holders can now be made only in June 2018 at the earliest.
Response to Delay
Since 2015, over 100,000 document holders have been granted work authorization. For them and many others, the delay in taking this decision has come as a welcome breather. An online petition urging the government not to cancel H4 visa work authorization has been launched.
The online petition speaks of how these document holders contribute to the US economy and why they should not be discriminated against.
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