The United States government has said it will extend the eligibility for employment authorisation to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status within the country.
The extension will be effective starting May 26, 2015, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services director León Rodríguez.
Rodriguez said the Department of Homeland Security amended the regulations to allow H-4 dependent spouses to gain employment in the United States.
A H-4 visa is a visa issued by the USCIS to immediate family members of the H-1B visa holders. An H-1B, meanwhile, is a non-immigrant visa in the U.S.
Under the rule, H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders must file an Application for Employment Authorization or Form I-765 with supporting evidence and pay $380 in order to receive an Employment Authorization Document or Form I-766.
H-4 dependent spouses must be the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker or have been granted H-1B status to become eligible for EADs, the USCIS said in a statement.
Eligible individuals must submit their applications on or before May 26 of this year.
USCIS estimates that 179,600 individuals may apply for employment authorization in 2015, and 55,000 annually in subsequent years to come.
The United States announced changes in visa rules in May of 2014 to encourage highly-skilled workers to remain in the country and “support US businesses” and its economy.
Nurses with specialized skills in particular were seen to benefit the most as nurses are needed to help in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act or as some call it, Obamacare, among other health concerns in the US.
The United States Department of State estimates that there are four million Filipinos living in the US.