The Trump Administration appears to be in the process of eliminating two rules: the H-4 EAD Rule and International Entrepreneur Rule.

In line with President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order and his aim for a fully “merit-based” visa scheme, a draft regulation that would end the H-4 EAD program (enacted by the Obama Administration in 2015) reportedly is being circulated. The draft regulation would need to go through the Notice-and-Comment period to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act before being adopted, likely some time in 2018.

Under the H-4 EAD Rule, spouses of H-1B beneficiaries who are in the process of getting green cards can obtain work authorization while they wait. This rule is particularly popular among the Indian and Chinese immigrant communities because their waits for green cards can be years long. Beyond allowing H-1B beneficiaries to be two-income families, the ability for spouses to obtain work authorization has been seen by some as encouraging highly skilled workers to remain in the United States. Its elimination could have a major effect on the companies that employ the approximately 100,000 individuals who are in the United States working on H-4 EADs. At this time, there are no details about how the Administration would plan to scale back the program.

Meanwhile, the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), another Obama Administration rule, was set to go into effect in July 2017. The IER allowed foreign entrepreneurs who met certain standards (and who did not qualify for conventional visas) to come to the United States in parole status to set up new companies. This was seen as a way to expand the economy and allow the United States to compete more effectively for start-ups in the global economy. The Trump Administration, however, questioned this use of the parole authority and delayed the IER’s implementation. In fact, the Administration indicated that it was considering rescinding the IER. It has now been reported that a notice to officially end the rule was sent to the Office of Management and Budget. This is the first step before publishing a draft regulation in the Federal Register for Notice and Comment.

We will continue to monitor these developments and provide updates.