It appears that the White House is quietly gearing up to promulgate regulations that will have major effects on employment-based immigration. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) houses a separate governmental entity called the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The OIRA publishes updated lists of the rulemaking activities of federal agencies in an effort to provide the public with more transparency regarding what the government is planning to do in the upcoming months.
The OIRA’s most recently published list includes several new rules that are under consideration, which include a rule that would eliminate the H-4 EAD program, a rule that would redefine “specialty occupation” and employer-employee relationship” as these terms pertain to H-1B petitions, and a rule that would change the Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization program for foreign national students who hold F-1 status.
Proposed Elimination of the H-4 EAD Program
President Trump seems bound and determined to end this highly successful and economically advantageous program. The H-4 EAD program, which was promulgated under President Obama, allows the spouses of H-1B visa holders to obtain work authorization if their spouse has reached a certain milestone in the green card process. Thousands of H-4 visa holders have obtained work authorization, and many of them have used their new authorization to open companies that employ U.S. workers. The fact that the administration wants to end this program just further underscores its commitment to jeopardizing the U.S. workforce and economy in the name of political posturing.