Bloomberg Law
Sept. 21, 2018, 5:50 PMUpdated: Sept. 21, 2018, 7:13 PM

Proposal to Undo Guestworker Spouse Work Permits Coming Soon (1)

Laura D. Francis
Laura D. Francis

A proposed rule to undo an Obama administration regulation giving work permits to the spouses of certain skilled guestworkers is expected to clear the Homeland Security Department within the next three months.

“DHS’s senior leadership reviewed the proposed rule” and returned it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services this month to make certain changes, the agency said in a Sept. 21 court filing. This type of review is “standard practice” at the agency, it said.

“When the necessary revisions are incorporated, USCIS will return the proposed rule to DHS for final clearance” and submission to the White House Office of Management and Budget within the next three months, the DHS said. Regulations generally must be reviewed by the OMB before being published for public comment.

A group of displaced U.S. technology workers has been pursuing a lawsuit against the 2015 regulation, which they say is outside the DHS’ authority to issue and creates added job competition.

But their appeal from a federal judge’s ruling against them has been on hold for months, as the DHS continues to promise that it will do away with the regulation on its own. The workers recently asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reopen the case, arguing that there’s been too much of a delay already.

“Delay, delay, delay,” John Miano, the attorney representing the U.S. workers, said in a Sept. 21 email to Bloomberg Law.

The regulation provides work permits to the spouses of H-1B guestworkers who’ve been approved for green cards but are waiting for them to become available. More than 90,000 permits have been issued, most of them going to women from India.

The case is Save Jobs USA v. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., D.C. Cir., No. 16-5287, opposition to motion to reschedule filed 9/21/18.

(Story updated to include comments from attorney John Miano.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura D. Francis in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Terence Hyland at