Congress Introduces Legislation To Grant H-4 Visa Holders An Automatic Right to Work

The H-4 Work Authorization Act was introduced by two congresswomen in the United States House of Representatives. This bill would give the spouses of immigrants that have H-1B visas an automatic right to work once they receive their H-4 visas. H-4 visas are issued to those children and dependent spouses who accompany H-2A, H-3, H-1B, and H-2B visa holders to the United States.

Currently, only specific categories of H-4 visa holders are permitted to apply for the employment authorization document, which is necessary in order for these spouses to work in the United States.

Congresswomen Maria Elvira Salazar and Carolyn Bourdeaux are hoping that the H-4 Work Authorization Act that they have introduced will be passed and change this to grant the spouses of H-1B holding immigrants the automatic right to work once they obtain their H-4 visa. If this bill passes, these spouses will no longer be required to apply for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Form I-765.

These congresswomen stated that with so many employers experiencing serious labor shortages, this bill could help with the problem as well as provide jobs and help immigrant families. Learn More

Bourdeaux said that it can take years of work for the spouses of highly-skilled immigrants to complete the necessary steps to obtain authorization to be eligible for employment in the United States. She also stated, “This bill removes these needless barriers to ensure families can contribute and prosper together. If we are going to continue to be competitive and attract the greatest minds and talent around the world, we must ensure that the family members of high-value immigrants are able to build a life and career in the United States, just like everyone else.”

At the current time, visa holders that wish to obtain employment in the U.S. are required to apply for authorization to work. Then, the applicants need to wait until they receive approval before they are permitted to work. Due to the current backlogs at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), applications may take six to eight months to be approved or, in some cases, over a year.

The lawmakers that introduced the bill believe that it may help to lower the current backlog of applications for an Employment Authorization Document that need to be processed by granting those individuals with an H-4 visa an automatic right to work.

Businesses that hire foreign nationals will need to complete Form I-9. This can be a confusing process, and the best way to ensure compliance is to use an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool will guide hiring personnel through the entire process and ensure documentation is stored securely.

When it comes to your work, automation makes eligibility verification quick and seamless. Get a head start today with I-9 Compliance.