USCIS today announced that it will issue employment authorization cards to H-4 spouses of workers in H-1b status who either: 1) are beneficiaries of an approved permanent residence petition but who are awaiting availability of an immigrant visa number so they can obtain a green card; or 2) are in an extended period of H-1b status while awaiting adjudication of an employer permanent residence petition.
USCIS will begin accepting applications from H-4 spouses on May 26, 2015. The 90 day adjudication period will apply, but there is no requirement that the H-4 spouse demonstrate economic necessity. Once the employment authorization card issues, the H-4 spouse may work for any U.S. employer performing any job for the duration of the approval term.
USCIS anticipates that close to 180,000 individuals will be newly eligible for employment authorization during the initial year of implementation, and 55,000 annually thereafter.
This rule has been a long time coming, so this is a good day.