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DHS Moving Ahead with Plan to End H-4 Employment Authorization

In 2017, DHS announced its intention to remove H-1B Dependent Spouses as a class of aliens eligible for work authorization. The measure would rescind the 2015 executive order which granted the ability to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for qualified H-4 visa holders. The new rule was set for publication in February of 2018 but was suspended.

Under the original 2015 rule, Dependent Spouses of H-1B visa holders in green card proceedings may apply for an EAD, on the basis that it would lighten the emotional and financial burden of having an entire family depend on one working spouse. However, after postponing its publication twice, DHS has stated in a recent court filing that it will move forward with the new rule to end access to EADs for Dependent Spouses (H-4 visa holders).

The document in question, pertaining a reopened lawsuit (Save Jobs USA v. Department of Homeland Security) was filed by DHS before a Federal Appeals Court in Washington D.C. on September 21, and states that DHS is on track to complete the internal process of revising the original executive order and elaborating a new regulation to do away with the H-4 EADs. The new rule is set to be announced and submitted for public comments within the next three months.

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