According to a proposed rule change the Department of Homeland Sec, spouses of H-1B visa holders may be able to receive work authorization in the U.S. This would remove obstacles for some high-skilled workers to staying in the U.S.
DHS Deputy Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, stated "these steps will help the U.S. maintain competitiveness with other countries in our efforts to attract the best and the brightest high-skilled workers from around the world to support companies here at home. Businesses continue to need these high-skilled workers, and these rules ensure we do not cede the upper hand to other countries competing for the same talent."
The current regulations do not allow employment authorization to dependents of H-1B highly-skilled non-immigration workers, or H-4 non-immigrants. This has "long caused difficulties for the spouses of skilled immigrants, mainly from China, India and the Philippines, who are working here on temporary visas known as H-1B. The spouses, mainly wives, often have skills and education too, but are not authorized to work in the United States, causing their careers to languish" according to the New York Times.
The proposed rule would allow H-4 non-immigrants to request employment authorization as long as the H-1B visa holder has already started the process of seeking lawful permanent residence through employment.
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