132 Members of Congress Urge DHS to Continue Allowing H-4

Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants to Work One hundred and thirty-two

members of Congress sent a letter on May 16, 2018, to Kirstjen

Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, urging maintenance of the

current regulation granting work authorization to certain H-4

dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant workers. The letter states

that the opportunity for H-4 visa holders to work “has made

our economy stronger, while providing relief and economic support

to thousands of spouses—mostly women—who have resided

in the United States for years.” The letter notes that many

are on the path to permanent residence and would already be

permanent residents if not for decades-long employment backlogs.

“Rescinding the rule will hurt the competitiveness of U.S.

employers and the U.S. economy, as well as H-4 accompanying spouses

and their families,” the letter states.

The letter notes that providing work authorization for

accompanying spouses helps U.S. employers recruit and retain highly

qualified employees, “putting U.S. policy on par with other

countries—such as Canada and Australia—competing to

attract foreign nationals.” The letter notes additional

reasons for allowing H-4 spouses to continue to work in the United

States.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis

Cissna responded on May 24, 2018, on Secretary Nielsen's

behalf.

He stated that the Department of Homeland Security is committed to

growing the U.S. economy and creating jobs for U.S. workers, and

that the public will be given the opportunity to provide feedback

during a notice-and-comment period “on any revisions to

regulations that DHS determines appropriate, including revisions

relating to the rule providing employment authorization to certain

H-4 nonimmigrants.”

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