H4 EAD Final Rule
This final rule amends Department of Homeland Security (“DHS” or “Department”) regulations by extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) status. Such H-1B nonimmigrants must be the principal beneficiaries of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140), or have been granted H-1B status in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000, as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. DHS anticipates that this regulatory change will reduce personal and economic burdens faced by H-1B nonimmigrants and eligible H-4 dependent spouses during the transition from nonimmigrant to LPR status. The final rule will also support the goals of attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers and minimizing the disruption to U.S. businesses resulting from H-1B nonimmigrants who choose not to pursue LPR status in the United States. By providing the possibility of employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses, the rule will ameliorate certain disincentives for talented H-1B nonimmigrants to permanently remain in the United States and continue contributing to the U.S. economy as LPRs. This is an important goal considering the contributions such individuals make to entrepreneurship and research and development, which are highly correlated with overall economic growth and job creation. The rule also will bring U.S. immigration policies concerning this class of highly skilled workers more in line with those of other countries that are also competing to attract and retain similar highly skilled workers.
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