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Skilled U.S. Residents Should Be Allowed To Work

627 signatures toward our 30,000 Goal

2.09% Complete

Sponsor: The Hunger Site

H-1B visa holders and their spouses want to put their talents to work in the U.S. economy. Take action and for their right to work!


Foreign nationals who come to the United States may become eligible for a nonimmigrant work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire them for specialty jobs that require a bachelor's degree or equivalent1.

Approval for the H-1B visa requires an interview at the embassy or consulate, followed by a visa stamp that permits them to enter the U.S2.

H-1B visa holders represent a significant pool of untapped talent who could work in the United States. Almost 90% of the spouses of H-1B visa holders have at least a bachelor’s degree, and over half have a graduate degree3.

However, restrictive immigration policies are turning many talented people away to Canada, which grants work authorization to spouses of all skilled foreign workers, according to a study by the National Foundation for American Policy, authored by Madeline Zavodny, Professor of Economics at University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida4.

Dependents, including the H-1B holder’s spouse and unmarried minor children, require additional individual approval in the U.S. Children over 21 are not eligible for dependent status. Spouses and children are also not extended the same rights as an H-1B visa. They have a separate designation, usually an H-4 status, that determines their employment and school opportunities5.

The U.S. government has sidelined many highly educated professionals, primarily women, who could contribute to the American economy6, potentially as much as $15 billion to the American economy annually7.

A 2015 change to the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses8 allows H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States if the H-1B visa holder has an approved immigrant petition (I-140), and is working toward obtaining an employment-based green card9.

The H-1B employment authorization has allowed workers to launch businesses that employ tens of thousands of Americans whose jobs are at risk but it restricts work authorization to only a select group of spouses of H-1B visa holders, and fails to grant spouses the ability to work “incident to status”10.

The talented spouses and dependents of these individuals cannot be expected to stay out of work forever. They will move to other countries where regulations are less restrictive. And many are.

We cannot let overly restrictive immigration policies create a drought of talent and lengthen economic recession.

Granting employment authorization to all spouses of H-1B visa holders would encourage more skilled migrants, to choose the US to start their careers, grow families, and contribute to the economy11.

Sign the petition and ask the government to ease the process for H-1B visa holders and their H-4 visa dependents to find employment in the United States and help our country thrive!

More on this issue:

  1. Travel.State.Gov, U.S. Department of State, "Temporary Worker Visas."
  2. Boundless Immigration Inc. (2022), "The H-1B Visa, Explained."
  3. United States Census Bureau (17 March 2022), "American Community Survey 5-Year Data (2009-2020)."
  4. Madeline Zavodny, National Foundation for American Policy (2022), "New NFAP Policy Brief: H-4 Visa Holders An Underutilized Source of Skilled Workers."
  5. Kyle Knapp, Nolo (2022), "H-4 Visas for Family of H-1B Visa Holder."
  6. American Immigration Council (15 July 2022), "The H-1B Visa Program and Its Impact on the U.S. Economy."
  7. David J. Bier, CATO Institute (16 June 2020), "The Facts About H‑4 Visas for Spouses of H‑1B Workers."
  8. VisaNation (19 May 2015), "H-4 EAD Rule Update 2015."
  9. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses."
  10. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security., Federal Register (25 February 2015)"Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses."
  11. Mint (4 November 2022), "US faces pressure to review to H-1B policy on fears of losing talented workers to Canada."
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The Petition:

To the Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,

H-1B visa holders represent a significant pool of untapped talent who could work in the United States. Almost 90% of the spouses of H-1B visa holders have at least a bachelor’s degree, and over half have a graduate degree.

Granting employment authorization to all spouses of H-1B visa holders will encourage more skilled migrants, to choose the US to start their careers, grow families, and contribute to the economy.

A 2015 change to the immigration law has allowed workers to launch businesses that employ tens of thousands of Americans whose jobs are at risk, but restricts work authorization to only a select group of spouses of H-1B visa holders, and fails to grant spouses the ability to work “incident to status."

The U.S. government has sidelined many highly educated professionals, primarily women, who could contribute to the American economy, potentially as much as $15 billion to the American economy annually.

The talented spouses and dependents of H-1B visa holders cannot be expected to stay out of work forever. They will move to other countries where regulations are less restrictive. And many are.

We cannot let overly restrictive immigration policies create a drought of talent and lengthen economic recession.

I implore you to ease the process for H-1B visa holders and their H-4 visa dependents to find employment in the United States and help our country thrive!

Sincerely,

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Signatures: