Soon, H-1B visa holders’ spouse would lose one of their biggest privileges, i.e., working in the United States legally. An indication to this effect was there when an official from the federal agency told lawmakers about the Trump administration’s planning. There is no doubt this will have a devastating effect on thousands of Indians, who have gone there. This is also a further blow to Indian IT companies as the administration is keen to add more jobs to the Americans.
End of Obama-Era Rule
The planned visa rule meant the end of the Barrack Obama-era rule. As a result, this would impact more than 70,000 holders of H-4 visas who have permits for work. This type of visa is given to H-1B visa holders only. Interestingly, most of the spouses are highly skilled professionals from the sub-continent. The Obama administration has given permission to work for spouses under a particular order. This order has undoubtedly benefited a major portion of Indian – Americans. Aside from that, over 0.1 million H-4 visa holders have gained from this rule, BloombergQuint reported.
In the absence of an order issued in 2015, spouses for H-1B holders are not allowed to work. For getting permanent residential status, H-1B visa holders would have to wait for a long time, probably a decade or even more. The current administration is not keen to continue this provision and eager to put an end. Formal communication is likely to come later this summer. This was disclosed by the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Francis Cissna to Chuck Grassley, a senator.
According to the report, Cissna said, “Our plans include proposing regulatory changes to remove H-4 dependent spouses from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorization, thereby reversing the 2015 final rule that granted such eligibility.” He pointed out that the action is in line with the executive order requirement. This is needed to plan new rules and also issue fresh guidance. He added that the action needed, “To supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system.”
Cissna also indicated that the public would be provided with an opportunity to offer their feedback during a notice and comment period. This is also in line with any other revisions to regulations. The Trump administration has been very particular in the matter of issuing visas to any foreigners. This also raised alarm bells among the big multinational companies.
Less Impact for China
A recent study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute indicated that the American government had given authorization documents to over 71,000 spouses of holders of H-1B visa. Significantly, 90 percent of them are Indians only. The study pointed out that USCIS has granted 71,287 initial employment authorizations to H-4 spouses as of June 2017. The findings of the study came to light last week.
Another key factor is that a total of 94 percent were women in respect of H-4 spouses with authorizations for work. Significantly, 93 percent of them were from India whereas only four percent were from China. That clearly demonstrated why Indians would get hurt.