If you are an H4 visa holder, you may have experienced the frustration of not being able to work in the United States. H4 visas are issued to the spouses and minor children of H1B visa holders, who are foreign workers in specialty occupations. However, until recently, H4 visa holders were not allowed to work in the US, unless they applied for and obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
This process was cumbersome, costly, and uncertain, as the EAD was subject to the discretion of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Moreover, the EAD was under constant threat of being revoked by the previous administration, which argued that it would create more jobs for US citizens. This created a lot of anxiety and hardship for thousands of H4 visa holders, especially those from India, who faced long backlogs and delays in obtaining their green cards.
Fortunately, things are changing for the better. In a landmark move, a bipartisan agreement backed by the White House has announced a plan to grant automatic work authorization to around 100,000 H4 visa holders, who are the spouses and children of certain H1B visa holders. This means that H4 visa holders will no longer need to apply for an EAD, and will be able to work in the US as soon as they receive their H4 visa.
This is a huge relief for many immigrant families, who have been waiting for years to secure their future in the US. It will also benefit the US economy, as it will allow more skilled and talented workers to contribute to various sectors and industries. The agreement also includes other provisions, such as:
- Increasing the number of employment-based green cards by 18,000 annually for the next five years, to reduce the backlog and adhere to country caps.
- Providing aging-out protections for children who have maintained H4 status for at least eight years, to prevent them from losing their status and facing deportation when they turn 21.
- Expanding work authorization to other visa holders, such as F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors, to enhance their opportunities and experiences in the US.
The bipartisan agreement is a welcome step towards reforming the US immigration system, which has been plagued by inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and injustices for a long time. It is also a recognition of the value and potential of H4 visa holders, who have been unfairly denied the right to work and pursue their dreams in the US. By granting them work authorization, the US is not only empowering them, but also enriching itself. 🇺🇸