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Piecemeal Immigration Fixes for Spouses of Certain H-1B Workers and More

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Piecemeal Immigration Fixes for Spouses of Certain H-1B Workers and More

May 7, 2014 | Tags: H-1B

The administration is combating Congress' inability to move forward with immigration reform and addressing business immigration needs arising from the annual quotas on Fiscal Year H-1B visas (65,000 plus 20,000 set aside for holders of U.S. advanced degrees) and the low annual limit on employment based green cards that may be given out each year (140,000). It is moving forward with two band-aids of its own that should actually be helpful for employers and employees.

On May 6, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will soon publish two proposed rules in the Federal Register dealing with easing temporary work authorization for qualified foreign nationals.

As summarized in the government's announcement yesterday:

  • The first proposed rule would provide work authorization to H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B employees whose employer (1) has obtained an approved I-140 alien worker petition on the primary H-1B worker's behalf; or, (2) has obtained permitted H-1B extensions on the primary H-1B worker's behalf beyond the normal six years because the employee is far enough along in the green card process. Many spouses of H-1B workers are eligible for H-1B visas but may not be Fiscal Year H-1B Lottery winners.
  • The second proposed rule would allow for continued work authorization for Singaporean and Chilean H-1B1 holders, professional "E-3" Australians and Commonwealth of the Northen Mariana Island only "CW-1" Transitional Workers while extensions are pending, such as is allowed for regular H-1B workers.

Normally, proposed rules have a 60 day notice and comment period before they are promulgated. We'll keep our clients updated with developments.

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