Potential Expansion of Employment Authorization

May 15 2014 - Hiring - Brad Sterling

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced two proposals designed to attract and retain highly skilled immigrants as part of the U.S. workforce.

The first proposal relates to “H-4 dependents” (spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21) of H-1B nonimmigrant workers. Under current regulations, the DHS does not list H–4 dependents among the classes of people eligible to work in the United States.

The DHS is proposing to extend employment authorization to certain H–4 dependent spouses of certain H–1B workers. According to the DHS, the proposal would further encourage H–1B skilled workers to remain in the United States and not give up on becoming permanent residents because their H–4 nonimmigrant spouses can’t obtain authorization to legally work in the United States.

The second proposed regulatory change would enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled and transitional workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States.

On May 12, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published the two notices of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, which opens up a 60-day public comment period:

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content


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