We have fielded lots of calls and emails in recent weeks from clients panicked that the Trump administration will take away H-4 EADs. It is entirely possible that this would happen, but if it does, it will not happen overnight. The H-4 EADs came into being through a change in the regulations. This means that to change (or eliminate) those regulations, there must be a notice and comment period. The comment period is usually between 30 and 60 days, but it can be longer. During the comment period, interested parties can express their opinions or concerns about the proposed rule. The final rule is not issued until after the comment period has concluded. More information about this process is available here. Because a proposed rule has not been published yet, we’re not able to answer specific questions like whether H-4 EADs will be phased out gradually, or if they will end immediately. We also are not able to predict when (if at all) the final rule will become effective. We will have a better idea of those details if/when the proposed rule is published. Keep in mind that right now this is just a rumor (though it could happen), and it is possible that H-4 EADs will not be eliminated. However, as with so many things in immigration, preparation is key. If you or your spouse currently holds an H-4 EAD and uses that work, you may want to consider filing for an H-1B so that he or she can keep working in case the H-4 EADs are eliminated. If the H-4 visa holder has never held H-1B status before, the H-1B petition will be subject to the H-1B cap (unless the person works for a cap-exempt employer), so this is the perfect time to start preparing for that filing on April 1!
Do you need help with an H-1B cap petition for the 2018 H-1B visa filings, or other assistance with an employment-based or family-based immigration matter? If so, please contact us today via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling our office at 804-396-3412. We are immigration lawyers based in Richmond, VA, but serve clients across the country. We look forward to hearing from you!