H4 Visas are granted to immediate family members (spouses and underage children) that have obtained an H1B with status that was extended beyond 6 years under the AC21 Act. The H4 allows family members to become gainfully employed in the US while accompanying their H1 B visa family member. It is a work permit for family members.
Like all US visa programs and work permits the H4 EAD Application is not an easy application, but with the right immigration specialist managing your case, the process can be simplified. Recently there have been long delays in processing the H4 application which has come under scrutiny.
The Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses became effective in 2015 under the Obama Administration, five short years later the program is in jeopardy of being disbanded. Thousands of people will be affected by the proposed “end of rule”.You still can apply for an H4 EAD Visa but that is for right now, no one knows how long this program is going to stay up and running. The best advice is to apply NOW. Get your H4 EAD Visa application in as soon as possible with the help of a trusted immigration attorney.
Unfortunately, under the current administration, no immigration program is safe from the chopping block, even programs that are helpful to families. The Trump administration is working hard to disassemble programs that help immigrants to the US find the success that they deserve.
The Bleak H4 EAD News – Is It All Bad?
There is a lot of misinformation regarding H4 EAD news, largely the two factions, those for the program and those against the program, fuel the misinformation that reaches concerned parties. One thing is for sure the program is under a great deal of fire and if the Trump Administration and their supporters have it their way, the program will end.
As of August 2019, the rule to end the program is still under review. There are multiple court cases that have been filed in the matter to try to stop the rule from being accepted and just as many court cases in this matter have been filed to speed up the processing of the stop rule.
The OMB decision over ending the work visas for the spouses of H-1B visa holders was supposed to be handed down in the spring but has yet to be decided. It has been several months since the Department of Homeland Security presented the proposal to end the program to the OMB and it has been under review since.
There is speculation that the ruling will be handed down soon and there is also, according to immigration law experts, enough grounds to fight back and sue the administration if the rule is stopped including violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, An intent of bias against certain nationalities and violation of due process rights.
Before the original program launched back in 2015, there were lawsuits filed to stop it. A group of IT workers banned together to file a lawsuit to stop the issuance of the visas. Save Jobs USA started their court action based on the idea that the H1-B visa program took jobs away from Americans and extending work permits to H1-B family members the damage would be exponential to American workers. That case has been going on for about 4 years.
There is active litigation with several courts that are addressing several different matters affecting the program. The next court date for the federal court is September 27. Oral arguments will be made in court regarding the legality of the stop rule and how the stop rule is being processed. A lot of experts are speculating that the language used by the Department of Homeland Security filing will NOT withstand legal review.
USCIS is currently dragging their feet in processing these applications and are now refusing expedited requests. It is difficult to really gauge what is happening with the matter because according to OMB it is DHS that is holding up the decision process by doing a new economic review statement.
DHS points the finger at the OMB. Likely, all agencies involved are not making any movements because of the ongoing litigation in the matter. It can be costly and time consuming for these agencies to end a program than must restart it when the courts overturn a decision or find it to be illegal.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed because of the delays in processing. A bill was presented in November 2018 (H.R.7150) by, California Congresswomen Eshoo with the goal of protecting H4 EAD holders from losing their work permits. The bill was not enacted.
President Trump signed “Buy American and Hire American” legislation in 2017 and has tried to reform and undo every immigration law that his predecessor President Obama put into place. However, up to this point, President Trump has not been very effective in changing some of the more positive immigration laws, like DACA, that was instituted by President Obama. The courts have stepped in and blocked his attempts on several immigration law changes.
Whether the H4 EAD news will report that there was a last-minute save thanks to the courts is unknown at this point but there is a good chance that it will happen if recent history is any indicator. Some experts are predicting that it will take 10 or more months from this point for the rule to be changed/removed if it ever happens.
What Does All This Mean to You?
If you are currently of eligible status, get your application in as quick as possible. Do not file on your own. Get the help of an experienced immigration attorney on your side that knows how to navigate the system.
Acting now can help you be “grandfathered” into the system in case the rule is stopped, and the program ends. The sooner you consult with an attorney the sooner your paperwork can be filed, the sooner you can have the right to work in the US. Contact us now we can help you with all your immigration needs!