The Department of Homeland Security has extended the availability of employment for certain H-4 Spouses of H-1B immigrants. This is one of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration reform announced in late 2014. We’ll take a closer look at what this means, but if you have any more questions you should contact an immigration attorney in Greensboro, NC to get a more personal clarification.
H-1B and H-4
An H-1B visa holder is permitted to work and live in the United States of America in a wide variety of fields. The job an H-1B holder is working at must require a US bachelor’s degree and the H-1B holder must have a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. A spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 can travel and live with an H-1B visa holder in the USA under an H-4 visa, but they were not been able to work unless they applied for a work visa. With this new ruling, the work requirements for H-4 holders have been expanded, making it easier for certain H-4 holders to work in the USA.
Not every H-4 will be granted the ability to work, this is specifically focusing on spouses of H-1B holders who are looking to gain lawful permanent resident status in the United States of America. More specifically, an H-4 holder must:
- Be the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
- Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status. (Source: http://www.uscis.gov)
The reason behind this executive action is to modernize the immigration process and attract and retain skilled workers in the American workforce. Financial stress is relieved when two people in a family are bringing in income and will help make the transition to permanently living in the USA easier and smoother. The change will go into effect May 26, 2015 so if you are planning on applying, start getting your paper work in order now. Contact an immigration attorney if you need any help navigating the required paperwork and make sure you’re ready to file as soon as you can.