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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Work Cards for Some H-4s May be Coming Soon

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From my friend Chris Musillo's blog:


An Executive
Order Review Search
reveals that the USCIS may be finalizing a rule that
will allow work authorization for H-4 spouses if they have begun the process of
seeking lawful permanent resident (LPR) status through employment and have
extended their authorized period of admission or "stay" in the U.S.
under section 104(c) or 106(a) of Public Law 106-313 (American Competitiveness
in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 or AC21).


This proposal was first prominently suggested
in May 2012
in the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations - Progress
Report.  Most people, MU Law
included, did not think that action would come quickly, if ever, in spite of an
official White
House Response
to a petition for such authorization earlier this year.  Nonetheless, this authorization is long
overdue and it is encouraging that President Obama's administration is following
through on its promises to produce favorable uncontroversial immigration legislation
and regulation.

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  1. Aron's Avatar

    I haven't read the details and this question is more out of my laziness - H4s can already get EADs around 90 days after the main beneficiary files 485.

    Will this rule allow H4s to get EADs before 485 is filed??

    If the answer is yes, then this will definitely be tremendously beneficial. But if the answer is no, because the ""process of seeking lawful permanent resident (LPR) status"" is defined by filing 485, then I'm not sure how this really helps anything other than speed up getting the EAD for H4s that are already eligible for EADs under current rules.
  2. Greg's Avatar
    The rule will mainly benefit people in the EB-3 category as well as Indians and Chinese in the EB-2 category. The problem for many is that they are not eligible to file an I-485 because a visa number is not available. The applicant whose spouse has filed the green card can extend the H-1B under current rules, but the other spouse can't get an extension because they are not the principal green card applicant. So they must either file their own green card application or just switch to H-4 status. This will allow those who don't file independent green card applications or who have tried to get a green card on their own and can't the opportunity to get a work card based on the other spouse.
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