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Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in H4 visas

IL immigration lawyerIn any given year, the U.S. grants approximately 85,000 H1B visas, given to foreign workers with special skills or highly specialized knowledge. For a long time, their spouses were denied permission to work in the U.S., but in 2014, employment authorization documents (EAD) were granted to H4 visa holders, which is the visa given to the spouses of H1B holders. Now, in 2019, the current administration has published a notice of intent to roll back the program granting the EADs, arguing that too much competition with U.S. workers is created.

Program in Limbo Since 2015

The Obama administration granted the right to seek an EAD to H4 holders in 2014, but in 2015, a group called SaveJobs, comprised of ‘displaced’ U.S. tech workers, sued the administration, alleging that it had overstepped its bounds and that granting EADs to this group of nonimmigrants would make it harder for U.S. citizens to find work in technology. The group lost, appealed, and the case was continued multiple times, allegedly while the rule was being rewritten and refined.

Now, in 2019, a draft rule has been authored, rendering the lawsuit moot, as the proposed rule changes would eliminate the work permits (the issue that SaveJobs initially brought suit over). However, critics point out that only those who are already on the path to lawful permanent resident (green card holder) status are eligible for the EADs, and it would be economically inadvisable to “pull the rug out” from under families and people who are contributing to the economy.

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DuPage County immigration attorneys, U.S. immigration, family immigrationTo many people, family is absolutely everything. However, sometimes people have to leave family behind when immigrating to the United States due to legal obstacles, timing, or simply because they are unaware of the methods they could use to bring their families over. If you are in a similar position, it is generally a good idea to research all of your potential options.

Spouses and Children

Spouses and children are by far the most common family members that accompany immigrants into the United States. Most non-immigrant visas, such as H1B and L classifications, allow a person to bring his or her spouse and children with him or her on derivative visas. Most derivative statuses allow a spouse and children to remain for the duration of the primary visa, but do not grant any benefits such as the ability to apply for work authorization. There are, however, a few select visas under which derivative holders are entitled to benefits—H1B visas are an example of this, with H4 visa holders only recently being permitted to apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) as of early 2015.

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h2b visa applicants, Chicago Immigration AttorneysIn the U.S., there are visa categories offered to cover almost any possible situation, from permanent residence to visiting for a short time. Somewhere in the middle is the H2B visa, which is used for temporary non-agricultural workers. Illinois plays host to a fair number of H2B holders, boasting one of the highest populations of day and short-term laborers in the country. However, a recent court ruling puts the availability of H2B visas for the near future into flux.

H2B Visa Jobs Matter

H2B visas are granted to those who meet requirements and can fill temporary, non-agricultural, unskilled jobs. Examples of these include chefs, landscapers, seasonal workers on fishing boats, and other hospitality workers. While these jobs may seem inconsequential, they are in fact the backbone of several industries. Problems in the flow of these visas can significantly cripple commerce.

Employers apply for H2B visas to provide to applicants. To succeed, they must show:

    • That there are not enough U.S. workers willing to take on the job, and that employing foreign nationals will not adversely affect U.S. workers’ job prospects;

    • That the need for the services of foreign nationals is temporary (even if the actual job is not temporary). There are several different situations where a need will be classified as ‘temporary.’

        • A one-time occurrence: For example, a hotel may need the services of a chef, and their usual chef has family related business that mandates a leave of absence. The employer may hire an H2B worker to fill that void;

        • Seasonal need;

        • Peakload need: In other words, extra people to help in a business during a busy season or in a time of unusually high volume; or

        • Intermittent need: When an employer does not require constant extra help, but will do so at unpredictable times.

While an H2B visa offers few perks, it does allow for the holder’s spouse and unmarried minor children to accompany them, granting them H4 visas. The H2B visa holder’s family may remain in the U.S. for the duration that the H2B is valid.

The Florida Ruling

In March 2015, a Florida federal judge ruled that the 2008 Final Rule, which governed the way in which employers obtained the necessary certifications to employ temporary workers, was invalid, because the Department of Labor had overreached its bounds. (A Final Rule is a Department of Labor release that is published in the Federal Register, which provides insight into the rationale for the rule and guidelines for how to implement it. Without a Final Rule, there is effectively no consensus as to how visas should be granted or denied.) They enjoined the enforcement of all regulations involving the granting of H2B visas, citing the need for new regulations. In other words, all processing of H2B visas was stopped.

Two weeks after the initial ruling, an injunction was handed down, which allowed H2B visas to continue processing until April 15, 2015. However, after that date, no more visas will be processed until a Final Rule is reached. This can cause significant problems both for U.S. employers and for foreign nationals who had planned on having their visas within a certain time period.

Contact an Experienced Professional

If you are in a difficult situation due to the temporary stoppage of H2B processing, having an experienced attorney may help. The dedicated Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will work hard to ensure that your interests are protected. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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