by Chris Musillo

The Department of Homeland Security has formally proposed the H-4 EAD rule. The rule, if passed as drafted, will allow H-4 spouses of H-1B holders to obtain EAD employment authorization. Several major news publications, including Bloomberg BNA, have picked up on the news. MU Law attorney Chris Musillo was interviewed for the Bloomberg article.

NOTE – the Bloomberg article is reproduced with permission from Daily Labor Report, 87 DLRA-3 (May 6, 2014). Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com>

DHS estimates that this rule will allow about 100,000 H-4 spouses to obtain work authorization, representing a tiny proportion of the overall workforce (0.0647%), and that figure assumes that every single possible H-4 spouse immediately files for the work authorization.

On the other hand the enactment of the regulation will provide tangible benefits for the H-4 spouses who will be able to enter the labor market earlier than they would have otherwise been able to due to lack of visa availability. The DHS continues,

While there would be obvious financial benefits to the H-4 spouse and the H-1B nonimmigrant's family, there is also evidence that participating in the U.S. workforce and making gains in socio-economic attainment has a high correlation with smoothing an immigrant's integration into American culture and communities.

The comment period will remain open until July 11, 2014. After that the DHS must review the comments and issue a final published law.

Read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com or www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.