In the coming weeks, the US Department of Homeland Security — DHS for short — may release a proposed regulation to revoke the Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) for spouses of H-1B visa holders. By implication, this is going to happen before the earlier scheduled deadline of March 28 by which time, the DHS is expected to make its submission in court in the lawsuit made against it by ‘Save Jobs USA’. Revoking the EAD will affect many families particularly lakh Indian spouses many of whom are women who have the H-4 visa. These Indian women take up to 94% of the total EADs that have been granted from the time the programme began, up till December 2017.
During the Obama administration, there was a huge backlog of green card applications for H-1B visa holders particularly those of Indian and Chinese nationality. To solve the problem, the Obama administration introduced a new rule — the H-4 EAD — in May 2015. With it, spouses of H-1B visa holders could work while their spouses who have the H-1B visas, waited for their green cards. Before the H-4 EAD rule was introduced, spouses of H-1B visa holders were given H-4 visas which allowed them to come into the US, but then they were not allowed to work.
But with the EAD, H-4 visa holders could obtain a social security number, obtain a driving license and even open a bank account.
When will the proposed rule be introduced?
Fragomen, a global company that is specialized in immigration laws, is to indicate the possible timeline for which the proposed rule to revoke the EAD will be introduced.
The proposed rule in question will prescribe when the DHS would stop accepting new applications for the H-4 visa. It will also specify when already-issued H-4 EADs would lose their validity.
Fragomen remarked that foreigners can apply for their EAD renewal up to six months ahead of the expiration date of their current permit.
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