U.S. proposes work authorization for spouses of highly skilled foreign workers

US ImmigrationIn an attempt to attract top talent, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing changes to immigration policy that would allow the spouses of certain highly skilled foreign workers to work while waiting for green card approval. Under the current laws, the spouse of an H-1B foreign worker obtains H-4 status which does not authorize employment in the U.S., and there are no exceptions. It is an outdated policy that repels prospective immigrants looking to relocate with their spouse while limiting economic growth.

The proposed regulation is more in line with the progressive immigration policy in Canada and Australia. In Canada, for over a decade, spouses and common-law partners of skilled foreign workers have been allowed to work while they are in the country. As well, in Australia, under the country’s Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 program, eligible dependents, spouses, and partners are offered work authorization.

If the regulation passes and the restriction on spousal employment is removed, the United States would benefit from the economic growth that occurs with increased immigration.


About Fadi Minawi

Fadi primarily practices in US Immigration Law. He assists with matters relating to business immigration (including: relocation, expansion, investments, and work visas), litigation, admissibility issues, customs forfeitures and other cross-border issues. Fadi is also a criminal defense attorney and can assist with criminal matters in the US. Read more

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