Concerns regarding the rescission of the H-4 EAD Rule have heightened in the wake of the publication of the Department of Homeland Security’s Spring 2019 Regulatory Agenda. In response, two California congresswomen, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-Cal.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Cal.), reintroduced a bill to protect those work authorizations – The H-4 Employment Protection Act. Both Eshoo and Lofgren represent the Bay Area of California, a region that would be particularly hard hit by the elimination of H-4 EADs.

The proposed DHS rule rescinding H-4 EADs is still under review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The deadline for completing this review is June 20, 2019. If OMB approves the proposed rule, it will be published in the Federal Register and the public Notice-and-Comment Period will begin. The comment period generally lasts 30 to 60 days. This time frame, however, could be shorter, or even eliminated, in certain situations.

L. Francis Cissna, former Director of USCIS, had previously stated, “[T]he public will be given an opportunity to provide feedback during a notice and comment period on any revisions to the regulations that DHS determines are appropriate, including revisions relating to the H-4 Rule.” But Cissna, at the request of President Donald Trump, tendered his resignation as of June 1, 2019. Cissna instituted many changes regarding legal immigration in pursuit of the President’s stated goal of protecting U.S. workers. Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia, may be in line to be the next Director of USCIS. Cuccinelli has been described as an immigration hardliner. How he, or whoever succeeds Cissna, will handle the upcoming Notice-and-Comment Period is yet to be seen.

Jackson Lewis attorneys will continue to provide updates regarding the new rule that could affect approximately 100,000 spouses, their families, and their employers.

Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.