by Chris Musillo

As expected the Department of Homeland Security has just issued a press release announcing that some H-4 nonimmigrants will be allowed to apply for EAD (Employment Authorization Documents) cards. H-4 nonimmigrants are spouses of H-1B workers. The EAD cards will allow H-4 spouses to work in any occupation. This is a major change that has been considered for several years.

In order to qualify for the EAD card the principal H-1B worker must have either:

1. An approved I-140; or

2. A PERM Application (Labor Certification) that has been pending for at least one year.

This proposed rule will help many H-4 spouses who are prohibited from working because of retrogression. At a press conference this morning, the DHS indicated that 97,000 H-4 spouses would be immediately eligible for the EAD. It is an enormous step in the right direction and DHS and Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas deserves praise for their effort to produce a meaningful, well-thought out rule aimed at treating fairly the people who are playing by the rules.

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