The eight-year-old lawsuit, filed by Save Jobs USA, a group of technology workers, claims offering employment authorization for some spouses of H-1B visa holders was created without Congressional approval, as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
As such, the group claims the H-4 visa employment authorization policy is not legal. With the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear the case, the 2015 lawsuit comes to a close.
The lawsuit was opposed by prominent tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Almost 100,000 work authorizations have been issued by the US to spouses of high skilled H-1B workers. In recent years, Indians have cornered more than 70% of 65,000 H-1B visas issued annually.
The Obama administration initiated an employment authorization process for H-4 visa holders who are spouses of H-1B visa holders with pending green card applications.
Under that policy, dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders can apply for employment-based lawful permanent residency in order to find US employment for themselves.
In March of 2023, Federal judge Tanya Chutkan agreed with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who stated the rule didn’t affect any new additions to the workforce.
The policy only opened the opportunity a bit earlier. Further, the judge noted that the dependent spouses of H-1B holders who qualify for employment authorization make up less than 0.12% of the US workforce. As such, the impact is minimal.
The judge also noted that Congress gave DHS the authority to set conditions and timeframes for visa holders’ US stay, including possible options for accompanying spouses.
Some spouses of other visa types have similar employment authorization benefits as well.
H4 visa: a primer (updated March 9, 2017)
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)
H4 visa-holders’ work authorization is under review: report (February 7, 2017)
H4 visa holders start to get EAD work permits from USCIS (June 29, 2015)
No work permits for H4 visa holders: lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA (April 27, 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)
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)
For H4 visa holders from India, the X visa is all-important (May 26, 2013)
BLOG: The H4 visa conundrum (April 21, 2013)