White House Plans to Allow Work Authorizations for Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders, as Well as to Enhance Opportunities for Outstanding Professors and Researchers

In a press release dated April 7, 2014, the White House announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon publish proposed rules, as part of the “Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest” initiative, to allow spouses of certain H-1B visa holders to be eligible for employment authorization to work in the U.S.  This effort will be part of a series of steps to strengthen entrepreneurship in the United States and abroad, as well as attract high-skilled immigrants to the United States.   

The White House statement follows a DHS press release, where the DHS announced a series of administrative reforms to be completed in the future to strengthen the H-1B program, by allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders who have already begun the permanent residency process and have been in H-1B visa status for a minimum period of time to be eligible for employment authorization. 

Through the proposed rules, the DHS will also seek to increase the types of evidence that can be submitted for the employment-based immigrant visa category of “outstanding professors and researchers,” allowing for the admission of “comparable evidence” of academic achievement beyond that articulated in the regulations. Currently, applicants are limited to specific types of evidence enumerated in the regulations.  The current criteria can be accessed here.

Littler Mendelson, P.C. will provide an update on the content and implications of the proposed rules when they become available. 

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.