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Focus on Regulation

USCIS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants

On 25 February 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published its final rule, effective 26 May 2015, extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, who meet certain conditions related to that LPR process. This is a significant change, as H-4 spouses previously were not eligible to work in the United States at all. The change in the regulations seeks to attract and retain highly skilled foreign workers by alleviating personal and economic strains during the transition to LPR status. However, please note that this employment authorization does not extend to all H-4 spouses.

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