- H4EAD introduced in May 2015
- Rescinding this permit may affect as many as 1 lakh Indians
- March 18th is the deadline for the US Department of Homeland Security to announce changes
The US Department of Homeland Security may soon repeal the H4EAD program that has allowed a number of H1B spouses to work in the USA. This could affect 1 lakh, Indian immigrants. Read on to find out more.
The H1B visa has been designed as a dual intent visa that allows immigrants and their families to live in the USA and makes the immigrant eligible for a Green Card in due time.
While only the main visa holder can work in the USA with this visa, the visa holder’s spouse may take up a job with an H4EAD. However, this may be about to change.
What Is H4EAD?
H1B visa holders are eligible for a Green Card after a certain time but the wait to get a Green Card can extend to many years. Given this backlog, the Obama administration introduced the H4EAD rule in May 2015.
This rule allowed the spouse of an H1B visa holder to seek employment in the USA while the principal visa holder waited for a Green Card.
When an immigrant obtained the H4EAD, he/she also became eligible for a social security number and could apply for a driving license, bank account etc.
The Upcoming Change In H4EAD
In 2015 a group of Americans, ‘Save Jobs USA’, who had been replaced by H1B visa holders filed a lawsuit against the government. The lawsuit has been kept in a state of temporary suspension by the Trump administration pending the cancelation of the EAD program.
However, over the last few months, the group has submitted appeals to the US Court that the US Department of Homeland Security has taken too long to repeal the program.
In 2018, the US Court of Appeals gave permission for the lawsuit to go ahead and also gave permission for intervention by a nonprofit known as ‘Immigration Voice’.
Details of the proposed changes to the program have been kept confidential till now.
Currently, the US Department of Homeland Security has a deadline of March 18th, 2019 to rescind the H4EAD program. The proposed changes are expected to mention when new H4EAD applications will cease to be accepted and how long the current H4EAD permits will be held valid.
The Effect Of H4EAD Repeal
Since the inception of the EAD program to December 2017, 94% of the total EADs issued were obtained by Indians. Most of these immigrants were women. Today, rescinding this rule will affect around 1 lakh Indian spouses of H1B visa holders.
All they can do is wait and once the ruling is changed, solicit the support of employer organizations to file public comments on the benefits of the EAD program.
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