Worker Visas: Work Authorization for Spouses Nears

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By Rick Vollmar

Feb. 19—Spouses of certain H-1B (Specialty Occupations) visa holders will soon be eligible for work authorization themselves under final rules being examined by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Berry Appleman & Leiden reminded clients in a Feb. 18 alert. Qualified applicants would be those holding H-4 (Dependent) visas whose H-1B spouses have applied for permanent residency in the U.S. (i.e., an employment-based green card) and had an I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, approved.

Forms and procedures have yet to be finalized, BAL said, although OIRA has finished drafting a revised I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to be filed by eligible H-1B spouses.

“The rule is a very positive development for H-1B workers and their families that will also help employers attract and retain H-1B workers,” BAL said in its alert.

The new rule was proposed in May 2014 by the Department of Homeland Security, which estimates that over 100,000 H-4 visa holders will be eligible.

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The BAL alert is available at

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