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New work opportunities for H-4 visa holders

Spouses of immigrants who reside in South Carolina with H1-B visas may soon be able to work under a new plan that has been crafted by the Obama administration. The United States issues around 85,000 H1-B visas per year to highly skilled workers when a company cannot find someone within the country who has the skills to fill a certain position, but if those workers have spouses, those spouses usually only receive H-4 visas that do not allow them to seek employment. The new immigration reforms, however, will now let spouses apply to work starting on May 26.

The situation has created financial problems for families that are reduced to a single income when they come to work in the United States, and in some cases, businesses lose those workers when they return to their home countries as a result. The new immigration rule will help retain talented foreign workers.

It is estimated that nearly 180,000 individuals will apply in the first year and around 55,000 will apply in subsequent years. The new initiative is part of an overall immigration reform policy that is meant to make millions of immigrants eligible to remain in the United States with work permits.

Business professionals and other skilled immigrants who have accompanied their spouses to the United States may wish to consult an attorney regarding these changes in immigration law and the process of application. When the new plan takes effect, both spouses may be eligible to seek employment in the U.S.

Source: ABC News, "Highly skilled immigrant spouses can soon work in US," Martha Mendoza and Amy Taxin, Feb. 24, 2015

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