Biden Ends Plan to Ban H-4 Visa Spouses from Work

According to a regulatory agenda from the White House, the Biden Administration has terminated a federal government plan to ban tens of thousands of employed spouses of H-1B visa holders from employment in the United States. Since 2015, the H-4 visa has included the right to work in any field, if the holder’s spouse is on track to obtain permanent legal residency (a green card). 

The plan to strip the right to work from these spouses was initially proposed under President Trump’s first year in office, but he continuously delayed finalizing the rule. Yet, the former administration had abated the H-1B program by significantly increasing denial rates for mainly outsourcing firms. 

If the rule were implemented, approximately 100,000 immigrants – predominantly Indian women –would have been impacted. Many of these workers felt that their lives were in limbo for years after the proposal was announced in 2017. 

In an e-mail on February 10, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) that the proposed regulation was withdrawn in favor of the Biden administration’s immigration priorities. In January, the agency also announced to replace the H-1B lottery system with a wage-based system

However, H-4 spouses remain subject to a federal lawsuit filed by a group of technological workers (collectively known as “Save Jobs USA”), who claim they were fired from their jobs after training their own H-1B replacements and allege that H-4 holders should be prohibited from working the U.S. because they unfairly compete for jobs against American workers. Because of Trump’s proposed H-4 ban, the case experienced long delays. But now that the H-4 ban has been terminated, the judge presiding over the case has ordered both sides to produce status reports early next month. 

If you are the spouse of an H-1B holder and are interested in working in Arizona, contact our experienced immigration attorney at Kanu & Associates, P.C. today at (602) 353-7795 for a consultation. 

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