The Trump administration is planning to end allowing spouses of H1-B visa holders to work legally in the US. Top federal agency official has told lawmakers, a move that could have an impact on tens of thousands of Indians.
The move to end the Obama-era rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visas holders, who have work permits.
H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India. They had obtained work permits under a special order issued by the previous Obama administration. Indian-Americans were a major beneficiary of this rule.
More than 100,000 H-4 visa holders have been beneficiary of this rule. A 2015 rule issued by the Obama administration allows work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed while H-1B visa holders seek permanent resident status a process that can take a decade or more than that.
The Trump administration is planning to terminate this rule. Formal communication is expected to be made later this summer, US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Francis Cissna said in a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley.”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,” Cissna said.
According to a recent study by the Migration Policy Institute, the US has issued employment authorization documents to more than 71,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders, over 90 percent of whom are Indians.”As of June 2017, USCIS had granted 71,287 initial (versus renewal) employment authorization documents to H-4 spouses,” the study which was released last week said.
H-4 spouses with work authorization as of early 2017, a total of 94 percent were women, and the vast majority, 93 percent, were from India, while four percent were from China, the study said.