Key Points
  • On January 25, 2021, the Biden administration ordered the withdrawal of a regulation titled “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization”
  • The regulation was previously pending with OIRA (a division of the White House Office of Management and Budget) since 2019
  • The regulation was rescinded in accordance with a regulatory freeze memo issued by the Biden Administration on January 20, 2021
  • Although the regulation was never publicly released, it proposed reversing a previously published final rule extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant workers
  • Litigation is ongoing in federal court regarding employment authorization for certain H-4 dependents of H-1B nonimmigrants
Overview

On January 25, 2021, the Biden administration ordered the withdrawal of a regulation proposed by the Trump administration titled “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization.” The regulation was withdrawn from review at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

What are the Changes?

Prior to its recission, the regulation was pending with OIRA since it was received on February 20, 2019. The regulation was rescinded in response to a regulatory freeze memo that was issued by President Biden on January 20, 2021.

Background

The regulatory proposal was first issued in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and Regulatory Plan. It was received by OIRA in February 2019, and it has been under review since then.

Although this regulation was never publicly released, it proposed removing regulations permitting H-4 dependents of H-1B holders to seek employment under the H-4 work authorization program, which was created in February 2015 by the Obama administration.

Looking Ahead

Litigation is ongoing in federal court regarding employment authorization for certain H-4 dependents of H-1B nonimmigrants. Updates will be provided as available.


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