DHS Pushes Forward with H-4 Employment Rule Rescission

On February 22, 2018, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) released an advisory calling attention to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and Regulatory Plan, which was released in October 2018 and gives an overview of anticipated regulations. These regulations do not always come to pass, and many times are revised even if they are eventually written into law.  The advisory noted a proposed DHS regulation entitled “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization.”

In February 2015, DHS published a final rule that permitted certain H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status to also receive employment authorization. The rule has been criticized heavily by the Trump Administration, and the Unified Agenda states a November 2018 time frame for the release of a rule reversing the 2015 DHS regulation. Despite that stated goal, the text of the H-4 EAD Rescission Regulation has not yet been released.  It is currently pending review with the Office of Management and Budget, after which time it will be published for public comment before possibly taking affect.

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