On Thursday, two American congresswomen filed a bill in the House of Representatives that would automatically allow H-4 visa holders the ability to work in the US.
The two congressmen who presented the bill claimed that its goals were to help immigrant families succeed collectively and to address the nation’s labor deficit, which is impacting American businesses.
Dependent spouses and children traveling to the United States with holders of H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visas are granted H-4 visas.
Many people with H-4 visas are highly skilled individuals in their own right who have previously held jobs of their own or supported their families via labor.
The H-4 Work Authorization Act, introduced by Congresswomen Carolyn Bourdeaux and Maria Elvira Salazar, aims to amend the law so that spouses of immigrants with H-1B visas will have an automatic right to work once they receive their H-4 visa.
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According to them, this would do away with the need for visa holders to submit Form I-765 for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Currently, in order to be permitted to work in the United States, the wives of highly talented immigrants must battle through years of bureaucratic red tape, according to Bourdeaux.
“This bill eliminates these unnecessary obstacles to ensure that families can participate and thrive together. We must make sure that the family members of high-value immigrants are able to develop a life and career in the United States, just like everyone else, if we want to remain competitive and draw the best minds and talent from across the world, she said.
By addressing pressing labor market demands, Ms. Salazar said that this policy will enable the United States to maximize its entrepreneurial spirit and continue to be a global leader in job creation, innovation, research and development, and economic growth.
Even if they are already in the country and their spouse is already here, H-4 visa holders currently have to apply for work authorization and wait for it to be completed before they can begin working.
cases for work authorization can take anywhere from six to eight months to be processed due to backlogs at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), with some cases lasting over a year.
The National Immigration Forum and UnidosUs support the legislation, which seeks to fill the labor shortage in America by enabling those with visas to start working and supporting their families right away.
By giving H-4 visa holders instant work authorization and lowering the number of work authorizations USCIS must process, it might also contribute to reducing the backlog of work authorization applications at USCIS, according to a media release.