Non-Immigrant abused spouses now eligible for US work visas

Holders of H-4 US visas and those who are no longer eligible for H-4 status are now able to put in an application for work authorization within the United States, providing they are domestic violence victims, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced in a memo.

H-4 US visas are given to the spouses of immigrants with H-1B US visas as well as the spouses of a number of temporary guest workers. H-4 US visas are also available to the spouses of people with H-3 US visas, who are individuals that are in the United States in specialty training programs. Around 80 percent of those who hold H-4 US visas come from countries in South Asia, mainly India.

The majority of H-4 US visa holders actually share the same skill level as their spouses, but were not allowed to work within the United States until last May, when USCIS issued a memo to allow those whose spouses had put in green card applications to be allowed to stay in the country permanently to be able to put in applications for work authorization. Over 180,000 people, primarily women, were eligible to do so.

The new rule was actually authorized over a decade ago – back in 2005 – as part of the Violence Against Women Act. Even after the issuing of the memo from USCIS, there is still no set date for the release of the application form, known as I-765v.