OMB review meeting on May 1; What will be the fate of H4 EAD?

Dhara Puvar
Dhara Puvar

USCIS may require further justification before clearing the rule, says Dhara Puvar of SAAPRI.

The uncertainty over the fate of H4 EAD, which is under attack from the Trump administration and anti-immigrant groups, has thousands of H4 work permit holders, as well as their spouses, on tenterhooks.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is scheduled to review a draft of the rules proposed by the Department of Homeland Security on May 1. The DHS submitted the draft on February 20 to scale back work permit for limited number of H4 visa holders, which was allowed by the Obama administration.

A review by the OMB, a White House that is tasked with reviewing proposed legislation, is one of the first steps in rule-making process, and it is a clear signal that the administration wants to eliminate the H-4 EAD.

“It is our understanding that meetings that various groups have held with OMB seem to have worked, and OMB’s, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) wants more justification from DHS in their proposal before they can clear it,” Dhara Puvar, Executive Director of the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI), told the American Bazaar.

ALSO READ: End of the road for H-4 EAD program? (April 24, 2018)

This may seem like good news for many who are working on H4 EAD, Puvar further explains, “We suspect that a lot of what held up USCIS from submitting to OIRA in the first place was the weakness of the economic argument to rescind the EAD. It appears that OIRA has seen this gap as well, and would require USCIS to provide further justification before clearing the rule for publication to the Federal Register.”

Now with the OMB expected to announce its opinion just in a day, what are the options available for the existing H4 EAD holders? “Once the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) is published, there will be a 30-60 days comment period where the public can submit comments to USCIS to oppose the rule change,” Puvar said. “This provides an opportunity for EAD holders and advocates to take concrete action on this issue. These comments and responses are likely to provide the basis for a court challenge to the rescission of the rule, so it is important that people take time to get involved. SAAPRI and other organizations will have links to submit these comments to USCIS with sample language and data advocates can utilize.”

ALSO READ: H4 visa-holders’ work authorization is under review: report (February 7, 2017)

Puvar said, in the meantime, H4 visa holders who are eligible to apply for the EAD (their spouse has an approved I-140) should do so as soon as possible. “Current EAD holders should renew their applications as soon as they enter their renewal period,” she said.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by the group Save Jobs USA is being litigated in a federal court, with DHS and all parties involved submitting briefs and counter arguments.


H4 work authorization may be next on Trump’s hit list, says Sheela Murthy (March 9, 2017)

H4 visa: a primer (updated March 9, 2017)

H-4 and H-1: Time for Indian immigrants to speak up on immigration policy, says author Amy Bhatt (January 5, 2019)

New bill proposes to let H-1B workers switch jobs, H4 visa holders to work, F-1 holders to apply for green card (September 14, 2018)

End of the road for H-4 EAD program? (April 24, 2018)

Trump administration may soon end H-4 Visa Rule: report (February 1, 2018)

Tech industry urges USCIS not to cancel H-4 spouses’ work permits (January 19, 2018)

Trump to end H-4 EAD program for spouses of H-1B workers (December 15, 2017)

Trump administration asks for more time on H4 work authorization (April 4, 2017)

Regulations on H-4 EAD program on cards; may even be terminated, says Murthy Law Firm (November 24, 2017)

H4 visa-holders’ work authorization is under review: report (February 7, 2017)

H-1B visa exhibition at the Smithsonian: of goddess who gives visa, to women on H4 status in shackles (November 24, 2015)

H4 visa holders start to get EAD work permits from USCIS (June 29, 2015)

Save Jobs USA petition to not issue work permits to H4 visa holders dismissed (May 27, 2015)

DHS starts to accept employment authorization applications from H4 visa holders(May 26, 2015)

COLUMN: Save Jobs USA’s civil complaint against DHS to stop H4 visa holders from getting EAD cards is discriminatory (May 22, 2015)

No work permits for H4 visa holders: lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA (April 27, 2015)

H4 visa holders can start a business after getting EAD: Sheela Murthy (March 9, 2015)

458,177 H4 visas issued in 6 years between 2008-2013 (February 26, 2015)

COLUMN: EAD cards for H4 visa holders: USCIS needs to give it to all of them(February 24, 2015)

EAD cards for H4 visa holders: green cards better solution, says IEEE-USA (February 24, 2015)

H4 visa holders can apply for EAD cards beginning May 26, 2015 (February 24, 2015)

EAD cards to H4 visa holders: Immigration Voice lauds Barack Obama February 24, 2015

H4 visa: a primer (December 9, 2014)

Final rule on work permits for H4 visa holders by December 2014-January 2015(November 23, 2014)

COLUMN: Obama’s speech has not made anything clear for immigrants waiting for Green Cards, H4 visa holders hoping for work permit (November 21, 2014)

COLUMN: Agony for H4 visa holders, as Obama’s executive action delays work permits (November 21, 2014)

COLUMN: As Republicans take control of the Senate, dream of H4 visa holders to get work permits, expedited Green Cards, is over (November 5, 2014)

Work permits for H4 visa holders will end mental anguish for almost 100,000 spouses in the US (June 10, 2014)

Indian women on H4 visas eager to get back to work (May 8, 2014)

Many H4 visa holders will get work permits this year (May 7, 2014)

DHS proposes to allow limited number of H4 visa holders work permits (April 8, 2014)

For H4 visa holders from India, the X visa all-important (May 26, 2013)

BLOG: The H4 visa conundrum (April 21, 2013)



  1. I read some of the comments on this blog and I am surprised no female replied to this ‘amazing’ commentary , so I decided to share my 2 cents – afterall 90 percent of H4 EAD holders are women, right :P ?… only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches :) … So finally a comment from someone on H4 EAD … yes people fake their resumes and like all hard working professional I don’t appreciate or favor such people.. but it’s wrong to suggest that all H4 EAD visa holders fake their resumes… i didn’t and will never do ….I am experienced professional with masters degree and I had to work hard to get my job like everyone else …no favors , no shorcuts , no faking resume – just hard work .

    Like most of you , I work hard and contribute towards economy .For tech jobs, companies want to recruit people with certain skillset and all candidates should have a fair shot at these jobs.. In my opinion if you are good, no one can replace you…. and for people saying H1/H4 EAD is cheaper.. its not!.. LOL…. sorry to say but probably you need to brush up your skills too like most of the H4-EAD people did… :)

    • I disagree H1/EAD are cheap labor. I am a project manager and yes I am instructed to take H1/EAD over citizen when we are budgeting for a project. They are much cheaper and also for the company its a benefit as they are not liable if anything happens, since they are not Citizens.

      My feeling is if they want to work here I agree with Vikas that they should be taxed additional. That will take care of those who lost their job and keep the environment competitive. If a place has a pool of talented employees. The cost and pool remain the same. If the pool of workers increases now the cost will decrease. Supply and Demand. So if a company really feels that EAD/H1 is really talented over a citizen they should be fine with paying the additional tax. The same as when we buy a car, electronic, bags. We pay extra for the brand even in some states an extra tax. As well as the EAD/H1 should also pay an extra tax for working here similar to how when a person works in 1 state and lives in another he pays both states.

      I understand woman feel depressed as they are educated and sitting at home while their husband are working. What I don’t understand is when they are working they are still depressed as they feel to much pressure from work and additional responsibilities. In either case a woman can never be happy. They keep thinking how good india is as they don’t have to work and have maids etc. I am not against female working I just find it confusing as it points me to the direction everyone is here for money and they know they would never make that much money back home.

      • anonymous

        Kunal, I am surprised by your lack of knowledge of H4-EAD visa and pity your view about working women. Quoting you “In either case a woman can never be happy”, you are in no position to comment on working women in general or how they feel at work. The working women I know are very happy with what they do. Please keep your deplorable views to yourself and spare us the self-serving bias.

        All good companies pay H1 and H4-EAD same as their other employees unlike the so called “consulting companies” which exist as layers between H1 visa holders and actual clients. Instead of removing H4-EAD, first these companies should be dealt with.

    • Dear,

      Since you offered 2 cents, here is my analysis. First of all thanks for confirming that H4 EAD holders fake their resumes & experience and also thanks taking stance against it. Unfortunately most of the H4 EAD holders are not honest like you. Also stop calling they possess specialized skill as ONlY special skill they have how to fake their resume. If they have so called special skills. they would have been on H1B Visa long time back. Now don’t say H1B Visa has lottery and not everyone gets selected, as they got at least 6 – 7 chance to convert and to prove their specialized skills.

      • anonymous

        Hi SV,
        Read my first comment again . I said I hate people who fake their resumes. That includes all people and not just the H4 EAD holders and that is what I have been trying to convey. Now, I have seen ladies who had to stay on H1 and away from their family most of the time because husband -wife didnt get project in the same state. H4-EAD came as a relief to such families. You think they want to move back to H1 and get exploited by the consulting companies who move them to any state they want for short duration projects and get a cut from their per hour salary? They have to, to maintain their individual H1 status. How many product based companies are keeping H1 these days first tell me that. If both husband and wife have to travel to different states what is the point of getting married and having a home and family dont you think? Anyways, this is a never ending discussion I got things to do, you are free to think and say whatever you want just don’t twist my words to convey something else..

  2. Sashidhar

    We will misuse the system no matter what. Look at the ‘professionals’ coming in. Bengaluru is the IT capital of India, but how many of them do you find coming here? Almost none. 50% of visas are for Telugu people and 30% Tamils. Rest for the whole country. Does this not show a bias in that very selection? How can talent be limited to a geographical region?! Unless real talent comes in, there should be a summary ban on all visas – forget H4. Also look at the people coming here… Even Mexican menial workers speak better English than most ‘engineers’. And since when are Java engineers considered ‘specialty’? Anyway, coming back to H4, how it works is this: my wife is sitting home and so is yours… You ‘create’ a job for my wife and I will create one for your wife! Most jobs are fake and don’t really exist. I have a colleague who says her husband prefers to drink only ‘distilled water’. I have another who speaks with such a heavy accent that I have to use a Malayalee English to English translator! I have an ‘expert’ team comprising of ‘Engineers’ in India – our offshore team. Just 3 problems – they can’t speak, they can’t read and they can’t write. Yet they are ‘and will someday get a visa to come here or worse, stay here long term.

    • Tanay Mishra

      Good argument but I don’t buy the “scrap all telegus/Tamils and substitute them with other S. indians”. What would that do? Still the same problems would persist. Only reason more of those chum are here is they FAKE RESUMES by the millions, they apply for more US jobs than anyone else, they go to Balaju visa temple by the millions, they have a massive dowry market where US jobs and/or US degrees fetch you a cool MILLION BUCKS cash, jewelry, cars, bungalows, etc. AND they got absolutely no morals or ethics whatsoever. I think all of south India should be banned from entering USA. I wish Trump, Miller, Bannon et al would enact a South Indian travel ban into law. Sigh….

    • Chinese people along with Indians abuse the H4 EAD Visa. Chinese people are very nosy and rude to work with.

  3. Indians steal jobs from hard working Americans and President Trump will end that.

    • It not only Indians. It all countries. I agree Indians are known due to Indian IT companies. In reality it all community from various countries being granted EAD/h1 without law that citizen first then come others. Just like UK, Dubai etc.

  4. I am against H4 EAD Visa. I am a US Indian citizen. I lost my job because the company felt it was cheaper to hire EAD/H1.

    Tell me which country except America who treats their citizens as second class.

    If an H1 or EAD wants to work here. I am fine but then they should be required to work in the Midwest, where jobs are ample and less crowded and pay an extra tax. This extra tax will help the us citizen who lost their job because of them.

    The reason India, China and other countries are rich today is because all there workers came here made their money and invested it in their country not here.

    • Well, no genuine company would disclose compensation of other candidates and also tell them that H1-B are cheaper. I have been in this country for 15 years and still waiting for my GC. If you are an Indian US Citizen, you would have been in the same position. I am MSEE and MBA from top US university and still waiting for my GC. My wife has exactly the same credentials, why should not she able to work while waiting for GC. I don’t see any logic in your explanation. Don’t try to hide behind your in-competencies and blame it on H1/H4-EAD

      • Roy having an MBA is the same as every person coming out these days from college.
        The day you become citizen and lose your job to someone from abroad let see how u feel. Especially when you pay heavy taxes and have to meet expenses.

        A person who in HR, project manager etc come to know compensation. It not hidden. It part of budgeting.

        A way to realize how effects happen is an example in NYC. Minimum wage is now 15$ and expected to raise to 20$ an hour. Business would hire many people and products were cheaper before the minimum wage was increase. After increase aside from product cost going up, jobs has been reduce and many business are closing.

        H1/EAD are much cheaper to hire. A us citizen hired for Hardoop would normally be paid 125k to 150k depending on experience and knowledge. An H1/EAD will work at 30-45 an hour. Some even below. So just think why hire a us citizen. An H1/EAD will tighten the belt and either way sending there money back home where it will multiple vs a us citizen will leave here and have to bear the expenses. It currently 1 USD to 70 INR. So if you make less you can bear it. We cannot.

      • I was born here. My parents worked for 30 years and had multiple interviews to prove why they should be given citizenship.

        Why is everyone against America for being strict but no one says anything about immigration policy for Dubai and other countries, where they treat immigrants as slaves.

      • Sashidhar

        Wrong. H1 workers are not any cheaper really… If a worker gets $40/h, his vendor makes a cool $10/h and the real tier1 employer makes another $10 at a very minimum. So the client pays $60 for a crappy programmer worth nothing because his experience is only in his resume. And there is no American that applies for the job because of the job description… It is a bloated description… No single person can ever have all of the skills needed. So the job ultimately goes to whoever lied the best…. 25+ years expert level artificial intelligence programmer plus 25+ years of solid big data experience plus 25+ years of fortran 77 experience. You find such resources only in one country – India!! All for $60/h!! But Ofcourse readers like you think it is $40/h

    • You lost your job just the way someone lost when you came here. Your turn now.

      • I am a born us citizen. My parents worked hard and came to this country. They struggle for 30 years till they became citizens. Those days you had to be skilled to come in.

        Just like you mention it now “your turn to lose” if the same thing applied in India let see how you would feel.

        • Tanay Mishra

          This is the ‘correct argument’ , Raj but you won’t find any supporters here. Because they’re all H1B, L1, F1, OPT chum. Most of them FAKED their resumes, lied on their visa forms and to US consular officials, lied to hiring managers (who were probably H1B desis like them) and then somehow got on to that plane bound for US. If it was truly SKILLS based as it shoulda been all along, then NONE of these rickshaw-drivers and tea-stall owners from Hydrabad, Talangana, Anhdra Pradesh and other south india crap would have been allowed in. Just like in the mid east they flood the system to detrimental consequences until the receiving country has no choice but kick them all out and shut down the program. It really was skills-based and proven-need once upon a time, but that got over real quick. Indians know how to abuse something to the hilt. that is why their own country will never progress.

  5. Sure awaiting for the comment period. Also author forgot to mention but I will as this goes both ways

    Folks who have witnessed/experienced shortcuts some H4EAD folks are using to get jobs via fake resumes, job experience and fake degrees this is your time to speak up. Please use same forum to hash out your observations.

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