Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Obama looking to change work visa rules for spouses

Orange residents who are interested in employment immigration issues may want more information about an important change that may be coming to U.S. immigration rules. This change, currently on appeal, may help spouses of immigrants find employment in the U.S.

About 85,000 skilled workers get an H-1B visa every year. These visas allow an immigrant to work in the U.S. when their domestic employer can show that there are no other qualified applicants already in the country. The H-1B visa also allows a path to permanent residency. On the other hand, the employee's spouse is allowed into the country on an H-4 visa. This does not give the spouse a social security number, which means that he or she is not legally permitted to work in the U.S. This can cause financial issues for some families who require two incomes to make ends meet.

Now, the Obama administration has made a change to these H-4 visa rules. The change will allow spouses of H-1B visa immigrants to work in the US. The change will go into effect in late May, allowing 179,000 spouses to apply for the ability to work. Each subsequent year, another 55,000 spouses will be allowed to apply for work permits. However, the change is currently blocked from implementation by a federal court. The administration has entered an appeal to the judge's decision.

Understanding the immigration options available and the requirements that go along with them can be difficult without the assistance of an employment immigration attorney. The attorney may be able to help file the appropriate forms to seek work permits and other employment visas. A lawyer may also be useful in seeking a permanent visa for those who have already immigrated.

Source: ABC News, "Highly Skilled Immigrant Spouses Can Soon Work in US," Martha Mendoza and Amy Taxin, Feb. 25, 2015

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