A bill has been introduced in the US to give automatic grant to H4 visa holders H-4 visas are issued to dependent spouses and children accompanying H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders to the United States.
Two US congresswomen introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Thursday that aims to give H-4 visa holders the automatic right to work in the US.
The two lawmakers introduced the legislation, saying it aims to address domestic labor shortages affecting American businesses and help immigrant families thrive together.
H-4 visas are issued to dependent spouses and children accompanying H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders to the United States.
Many H-4 visa holders are highly skilled in their own right and have previously had their own careers or worked to support their families.
Introduced by Congresswomen Carolyn Bourdeaux and Maria Elvira Salazar, the H-4 Work Authorization Act seeks to amend current law and give H-1B visa spouses of immigrant holders an automatic right to work after obtaining an H-4 visa.
It would eliminate the requirement for visa holders to apply for Form I-765, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), they said.
“Right now, spouses of highly skilled immigrants have to fight through years of bureaucratic red tape before they are allowed to work in the United States,” Bourdeau said.
“This bill removes these unnecessary barriers to ensure that families can contribute and thrive together. If we are to continue to be competitive and attract the greatest minds and talent around the world, we must ensure that valuable immigrant family members are able to to build a life and a career in the United States, just like everyone else,” he said.
Salazar said this policy will help the United States maximize its entrepreneurial spirit and continue to be a leader in job creation, innovation, research and development and economic growth and meet critical labor market needs.
Currently, H-4 visa holders must apply for a work permit and wait for it to be processed before they can work, even if they are already in the United States and their spouse is working here.
Due to delays at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), work permit applications can take six to eight months, and some applications can take over a year to be approved.
The bill, which has been endorsed by the National Immigration Forum and UnidosUs, hopes to close America’s labor gap and allow these visa holders to quickly work and support their families.
It can also help reduce the backlog of work authorization applications at USCIS by providing immediate work authorization to H-4 visa holders and reducing the number of work authorizations that USCIS must process, a media release said.