H1B Visa Holders
Spouses in the U.S. under H4 status
Announced Last Week: Good News for Spouses of H1B Visa Holders
At Ranchod Law, many of our clients are H1B Visa Holders with spouses in the U.S. under H4 status. Currently, these H4 spouses are not allowed to work legally in the U.S. We at Ranchod Law see this as such a travesty because the spouses of our highly skilled H1B clients often have great skills and excellent educational backgrounds too but their inability to work not only causes their careers to suffer, but it is also such a waste for the U.S. which could be utilizing the H4’s skills and knowledge. Thankfully, this should no longer be the case at the end of this year for some H4 spouses.
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that new rules will grant work authorization to H4 spouses of H1B visa holders if the H1B visa holder has started the process to apply for lawful permanent resident status (a greencard). Homeland Security officials said they hoped to issue final regulations by the end of this year.
The proposed rule change to allow H4 spouses to work if the H1B holder has started the process to obtain a greencard recognizes the huge backlogs that have developed for employment based greencards. The current wait for most immigrants from India is at least eleven years, with Filipinos waiting as long as seven years, and Chinese immigrants up to six years. It makes a big different to the H4 spouses and also for the H1B visa holders to have the H4 spouses able to work while they wait for their greencards as oppose to waiting idly.
While we are happy and we welcome work authorization for H4 holders whose H1B spouses have begun the greencard process, this still leaves an entire group of H4 spouses whose spouses have yet to begin the greencard process without the ability to work. A broad immigration bill that passed the Senate last year included major changes to the H-1B program, namely a provision that would grant work authorization to the spouses of all H-1B visa holders. Unfortunately, the House has not taken up that bill, and it remains unclear if it will move on any major immigration measures this year.
If you have any question or concerns about the immigration status or yourself or your family or your ability to work legally in the U.S. please contact our main office at (916) 613-3553, we have offices conveniently located in Sacramento and San Francisco. We help clients locally and throughout the U.S. and abroad.