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H-1B visa: Rule to ban H-1B spouses from working coming in March, Homeland Security says


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Filed: O-2 Visa Country: Sweden


H-1B application documents (Meri Simon/Bay Area News Group)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will publish in March a proposed rule to strip work authorization from spouses of H-1B visa holders, the agency said Wednesday in the latest federal government rule-making agenda.

While the announcement in the Unified Agenda should be taken with a grain of salt — the agency has several times missed its own deadlines for proposing the rule — a March date fits with a Department of Justice memo that said the planned rule could be published as early as spring 2020.

However, the Justice Department, which submitted its memo in September to a federal appeals court in a lawsuit seeking an employment prohibition for H-1B spouses on the H-4 visa, called the spring timeframe “aspirational.”


In that lawsuit, IT workers argue that they were replaced by H-1B visa holders and now must compete against H-4 holders in the job market. Earlier this month, the workers scored a victory when a three-judge appeals panel in the Washington, D.C. circuit ruled the workers had proven that H-1B holders compete against them for jobs, and that letting H-4 spouses work increases competition because if they couldn’t work, some H-1B holders would leave. The judges kicked the case back down to federal district court to continue.


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