As of 26th May 2015, certain spouses (H-4 dependants) of temporary skilled workers (H-1B visa holders) are able to apply for employment authorisation in the USA.
Despite this being part of an effort to simplify and attract skilled workers to the US, the new ruling only applies to spouses of H-1B holders who are in the application process for employment based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
To secure eligibility, the H-1B visa holder must either be:
• the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (this is a form the employer of any skilled or migrant worker applying for permanent residence must fill out in support of their application)
• have been granted H-1B status extension to their stay, beyond the 6 years normally permitted, because an application has been under consideration for a protracted period.
Although a fairly narrow amendment, these conditions are likely to be useful for the spouses of migrant workers in academics or higher education, managers and executives and highly skilled workers in short supply in the US.
For further information or assistance on this or any immigration issue, please contact us.