Breaking: Biden administration withdraws Trump’s move to rescind H4 EAD regulation

The new administration’s move to keep the H4 EAD regulation will save jobs of tens of thousands of H4 EAD holders, a majority of them Indian nationals.

The Biden administration has withdrawn its predecessor’s proposal to rescind an Obama-era regulation that allowed spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States.

The move is expected to save the jobs of tens of thousands of H4 visa holders who are working in the United States after receiving the Employment Authorization Document from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. A majority of H4 EAD holders are Indian nationals.

The proposed rule titled, “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization,” was being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

OIRA, which completed its review on January 25, 2021, said it was withdrawing the proposed rule.

ALSO READ: H4 visa: a primer

Immigration lawyers and supporters of H4 EAD hailed the new administration’s decision.

“Welcome news for the H-4 EAD community, former President Trump’s long-pending attempt to rescind the H-4 EAD regulation has been withdrawn,” Houston-based immigration attorney Emily Newman tweeted.

The granting of work permits to H4 holders was first proposed in February 2012. The White House proposed guidelines for the EAD more than two years later, in April 2014 and President Obama took the Executive Action in November of that year. The USCIS submitted the final rule for the White House approval in February 2015, and it began receiving the applications from eligible H4 visa holders in May 2015.

However not all H4 holders were allowed to apply for work permit. Only those that are the beneficiaries of an approved Immigration Petition for Immigrant Worker (Form 1-140), or those who are the spouses of H-1B visa holders who have got an extension of their authorized period of admission in the US, beyond the permitted six years were eligible.

The Trump administration’s DHS signaled its intention to end the H4 EAD and submitted the proposed regulation to terminate the work permit for H4 visa holders in February 2019.

“Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” then USCIS Director León Rodríguezsaid said, announcing the agency’s decision to give work permits. “It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.”

The granting of work permit to H4 holders was first proposed in February 2012. The White House proposed guidelines for the EAD more than two years later, in April 2014 and President Obama took the Executive Action in November of that year. The USCIS submitted the final rule for the White House approval in February 2015, and it began receiving the applications from eligible H4 visa holders in May 2015.

However not all H4 holders were allowed to apply for work permit. Only those that are the beneficiaries of an approved Immigration Petition for Immigrant Worker (Form 1-140), or those who are the spouses of H-1B visa holders who have got an extension of their authorized period of admission in the US, beyond the permitted six years were eligible.

The H4 EAD decision was fiercely opposed by critics of the H-1B visa program. Save Jobs USA, an advocacy group filed a lawsuit opposing the work permit in April 2015.

The Trump administration had signaled its intention to end the work permit right from the beginning.

The Department of Homeland Security submitted its proposal to terminate H4 EAD to the Office of Management and Budget for review in March 2019. It argued that H4 EAD puts US workers at a disadvantage.

READ MORE ON H4 EAD:

From aging out of H4 visa to AWS Summit panel, Dolica Gopisetty’s extraordinary journey (June 24, 2019)

USCIS says rule-making process to terminate H4 EAD not complete yet: report (June 18, 2019)

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

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