New Immigration Regulation Allow Work Permits For Certain H-1B Spouses
MH&B immigration attorney Ester Greenfield was interviewed on KUOW public radio on February 25, 2015, to explain the new federal regulation allowing certain spouses of H-1B workers to apply for work permits. Under the new rule, spouses of H-1B employees may apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) if the employer has taken significant steps to sponsor the H-1B employee for a green card. The H-1B employee must be the beneficiary of an approved I-140 immigrant visa petition. Spouses will also be eligible to apply for an EAD if the H-1B employee received an “AC-21” extension of H-1B status beyond the normal six-year time limit. This extension is only available if the employer filed a PERM labor certification application before the end of the fifth year of H-1B status. The new rule goes into effect in late May, 2015 and will help many in Washington State. H-1B visas are available to a limited number of specialty occupation workers, often in tech industries, and their spouses were not previously allowed to work.