Federal Judge Upholds H-1B Visa Holders’ Spouses Work Eligibility

On Tuesday, March 28, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan upheld an Obama administration rule wherein the Department of Homeland Security issued H-4 visas to the spouses of H-1B visa holders.

The plaintiff in the case, Save Jobs USA, contended that DHS did not have the legal authority to issue the rule in the first place. Suspension of the rule would eliminate work authorization for more than 90,000 H-4 visa holders, of whom 70% hold STEM jobs in the tech industry.
Upholding the H-4 visa program for the spouses of H-1B visa holders had support from many large tech companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In 2016, Judge Chutkan found that Save Jobs USA did not have the necessary legal requirements to file a claim in court. In 2019, a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled that a challenge to the H-4 EAD (Save Jobs USA v. DHS) does have grounds to be heard in court. When Save Jobs USA appealed in November 2019, a United States Court of Appeals found the judge had erred in her decision-making.

Erickson Insights

Judge Chutkan’s ruling is a victory for H-4 visa holders eligible to work in the United States. Still, a lawyer for Save Jobs USA said they would most likely appeal.

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to share updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.