H-4 Visa Decision not Final Until Rulemaking is Over, Says USCIS Official

The USCIS anticipates that any proposed rule would not be published until June 2018, according to official Philip Smith.


The decision regarding the termination of work authorization of H-4 visa holders will not be sealed until the process of rulemaking has been completed, a senior American official said, PTI reported.

“No decision about H-4 visas is final until the rulemaking process is completed,” Philip Smith, a senior U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official, was quoted as saying by PTI.

The USCIS is mulling over many policy and regulatory changes in order to carry out President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, according to Smith. This will also include a detailed evaluation of visa programs that are employment based.

“USCIS continues reviewing the employment-based visa programs which includes a new economic analysis. USCIS anticipates any proposed rule would be published in June 2018,” Smith said, the report added.

The USCIS is focused on ensuring the integrity of the immigration system, Smith added. The agency also aims to protect the interests of the workers of the United States and will continue to be committed to improve the employment-based immigration programs so that they help benefit the American people to the full extent, he said.

The statement by Smith comes following a letter written by Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and 129 other U.S lawmakers, to Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security, urging the Trump administration to not rescind the rule that grants work authorization to certain dependent spouses of workers with H-1B visas.

“The opportunity for H-4 visa holders to work has made our economy stronger, while providing relief and economic support to thousands of spouses, mostly women, who have resided in the United States for years,” the letter, dated May 16, said. It was signed by lawmakers from Republican as well as Democratic Party. “We write to urge you to maintain the current regulation granting work authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrant workers,” the letter added.

According to a communication between USCIS Director Francis Cissna and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee earlier, the Trump administration has plans to scrap the employment authorization document (EAD) for H-4 visa holders, the spouses of H-1 B visa holders.

In the letter written to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles E.Grassley, Cissna gave an update on USCIS’ effort to ensure the integrity of the immigration system.

“Our plans include proposing regulatory changes to remove H-4 dependent spouses from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorization, thereby reversing the 2015 final rule that granted such eligibility,” Cissna stated in the letter.

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