December 11, 2023

Immigration Green Card

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H-4 Work Authorization Act: Priority Bill Spotlight

1 min read

Allowing H-4 spouses to work would unlock new potential for our workforce and economy

Passing the H-4 Work Authorization Act would remove a significant barrier that prevents tens of thousands of women from entering the workforce.

In all, more than 175,000 H-4 spouses live in the U.S., according to analysis.1 Some 87% of H-4 spouses are women, and most are in their late twenties or their thirties. Like their spouses, H-4 visa holders tend to be highly educated, skilled individuals. Nearly all (89%) of H-4 spouses hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and roughly half (48%) have earned an advanced degree.

The success of the existing yet limited H-4 EAD regulation makes clear how extending work authorization to more people would also greatly benefit the U.S. workforce and economy. H-4 spouses who have received EADs work in diverse and underserved professions, including as doctors, teachers, and entrepreneurs creating new jobs for Americans. H-4 EAD holders live in communities across the country, with more than half of H-4 EAD recipients living in states that are losing their prime working-age population.

H-4 EAD Approvals (Initial and Renewal) FY 2015-2021

Source: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

FY Initial Approvals Renewal Approvals
2021 19,075 40,153
2020 21,067 31,071
2019 20,837 26,605
2018 24,403 29,041
2017 27,449 18,913
2016 31,627 9,628
2015 26,659 169


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