On February 20, 2019 , the Trump administration submitted a new proposed regulation for final review by the Office of Management and Budget. This regulation would abolish the so-called “H-4 EAD.” The H-4 EAD is an open work permit that is available to spouses of H-1B specialty workers who have advanced to a specific stage in the drawn out U.S. Green Card process. The H-4 EAD is an important benefit to H-1B workers and spouses who are citizens of India or China. These workers typically wait ten years or more for their immigrant visas to become available due to the U.S. quota system. Without the H-4 EAD, the spouses of these workers cannot work themselves. Often these spouses are highly educated, highly skilled workers such as engineers, physicians, and software developers. The new regulation is not yet in effect, but will likely take effect by the end of 2019.
Now more than ever, H-1B workers in the United States should consider Canadian alternatives. Unlike the U.S., all spouses of temporary foreign professional workers in Canada are entitled to open work permits. Spouses of foreign university students are also entitled to work permits. Canada will also issue work permits to the common law partners of temporary foreign workers and foreign students.
Most importantly, qualified skilled workers can apply for and achieve permanent residence in Canada in as little as six months under Canada’s Express Entry system, regardless of nationality. Many H-1B workers will qualify under this system. After three years living in Canada as permanent residents, persons can apply for Canadian citizenship. As a Canadian citizen you will be eligible to work in the US in the TN category in sixty occupations.
As experienced U.S. and Canadian immigration lawyers, we have a unique perspective on Canadian solutions available to U.S. H-1B workers mired in the endless U.S. Green Card process. Contact us now to find the solution that is best for you.