Working Permits for Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders in Jeopardy

Late last week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly announced plans to revoke H-4 visas. Since 2015, the H-4 visa has allowed spouses of H-1B visa holders seeking permanent residency to work in the U.S. This rule has especially benefited the tech community since many of the high-skilled H-1B visas are awarded to programmers, software engineers, and other high-skilled technology and IT professionals. 

Revoking the rule doesn't prohibit spouses from finding work under different work permits. But it does complicate staying in the U.S. if one spouse cannot find job opportunities.  

The DHS didn't provide reasoning for getting rid of the rule other than it's being examined under the "Buy American, Hire American" executive order the President signed earlier this year. It also implies that changes to the H-1B visa are in store, and something the Developers Alliance will continue to monitor as many of our members, both large and small, rely on the high-skilled visa program to find talent. 

This is not the first H-1B-related news from the Trump Administration, and likely not the last we'll see since they've made it a point to toughen the process for renewing visas. The rule is not final at this time and will need to undergo notice and comment of the proposed federal rulemaking. The Alliance will continue to monitor and alert our members of any opportunity to comment. 


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RACHEL EMEIS
DIRECTOR, US INNOVATORS POLICY COUNCIL