In a move that could come as a major blow to thousands of Indians in United States, the Trump administration is reportedly planning to disallow spouses of H-1B visa holders to work legally in the US.
As per a PTI report, this move could impact over 70,000 H-4 visa holders with work permits. The visa issued to spouses of H-1B visa holders is H-4. The holders of this visa were given a work permit under a special order issued by the Obama administration, largely benefitting Indians working in the US.
Prior to that, spouses couldn’t be employed in the US while H-1B visa holders sought permanent resident status, which could take over a decade. PTI reports that so far, more than 100,000 H-4 visa holders have been beneficiaries of this rule.
Over 71,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders were issued employment authorisation documents, of which 90% were Indian, according to a study by Migration Policy Institute.
Overall, of the H-4 holders, 94% were women as of 2017 and of this, 93% were Indians while 4% were from China.
However, the current administration under Trump is planning to stop this provision and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna said in a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley that a formal communication may be made later this summer.
In the letter, Cissna writes that a move such as this is being made to comply with an executive order requirement to propose new rules and guidance to replace the previous ones to protect the interests of workers of United States.
"Our plans include proposing regulatory changes to remove H-4 dependent spouses from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation, thereby reversing the 2015 final rule that granted such eligibility," PTI quotes Cissna as saying.
Ever since Donald Trump took over as the president of the United States of America, there has been a crackdown on H-1B visa holders in a bid to ensure jobs of US citizens weren’t taken away.
In February as well, the Trump administration announced a new policy that tightened the procedure of issuing H-1B visas where the company of the visa holder would have to go an extra length to prove that its H-1B employee at a third-party worksite has specific and non-qualifying speculative assignments in a speciality occupation.