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H-4 Visa Rules Provide Opportunity to Attract and Retain H-1B High Potentials

H-4 Visa Rules Provide Opportunity to Attract and Retain H-1B High Potentials Early in 2015, we reported on upcoming changes to H-4 visa rules. Here is an update on what the revised guidelines mean for your employees and clients. 

H-4 EAD rules were modified to allow some H-4 visa holders to work while in the United States if their spouse is in the process of obtaining a green card.* The changes also mean that relocating spouses/partners with an H-1B visa could potentially change status to H-4 with EAD, removing the need to find employers to sponsor H-1B transfers. These spouses of the highly sought after H-1B visa holders—largely representing hard to get STEM experts—were often left out of spousal support in the past.

Consider this: roughly 179,000 spouses are possibly eligible to join the U.S. workforce under these changes. It is important to provide the job search assistance they need to land a great position and relaunch their careers in the U.S. Here are 3 tips to show you’re invested in the happiness of H-1B employees and their families

1. Don’t assume. Just because they’re not currently working, doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in a career. The H-1B spouse had no option to work before. Reach out to the spouses and let them know of their career possibilities in the U.S. Whether they need assistance securing an EAD or are now eligible to seek employment without an H-1B transfer, let them know how you can help.

2. Offer Career Coaching services. Career coaches understand the nuances that come with searching for a job in a foreign country. They have knowledge of employers who are open to working with visa holders. Talk with spouses to inform them that job search services exist. Companies like IMPACT Group are experts at coaching individuals to achieve a successful job search in a new country.

3. Start the process early. Offering Job Search Assistance early in the relocation process ensures the H-4 visa holder has proper time to prepare for landing a job. While the individual must wait until their EAD is secured to apply for positions, a career coach can prepare them for the cultural nuances they will experience during interviews, create or enhance their LinkedIn profile, develop a résumé /CV for the U.S. job market, and coach them on effective networking techniques to expand their network in the new area. The EAD approval process takes 90 days, and if the spouse starts preparing early, they’ll be ready to go when approval arrives.

Special Tip for our Relocation Management Company Partners: Spousal Job Search Assistance is likely in our clients’ policy already. Look through past files to discover the individuals you can help.

If keeping H-1B high potentials on your team is critical, open the door to their spouses’ career potential. Contact Ed Marshall, the expert in spousal job search assistance, today.

*FAQs: Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses, USCIS

Contribution by Lynn Wagner, CRP, GMS.

Lynn is a Client Relationship Executive with more than 10 years of experience in the employee relocation industry. Lynn possesses extensive knowledge in global assignment management and employee, spouse/partner, and family transition support. Connect with Lynn today on LinkedIn.

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