A US district judge on Thursday, March 30, ruled that spouses of H1-B visa (non-immigrant work visa that allows workplaces to hire foreign employees) holders can work in the country. Judge Tanya Chutkan passed the judgement while dismissing a lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA, which had sought the court to dismiss a regulation that gave employment authorisation cards to spouses of certain categories of H-1B visa holders. The lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA was opposed by tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft.
The US has reportedly issued approximately one lakh work authorisations to spouses of H1-B workers, of whom a large number are Indians. In her judgement, Judge Tanya Chuktan said that Congress has “expressly and knowingly” empowered the USA government to authorise the employment of an H-4 visa holder’s (for dependent spouses and children who accompany H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders to the USA) stay in the country. The judge also mentioned that the Department of Homeland Security has authorised employment not just for students from other countries, but also for their spouses and dependents.
The H1-B visa programme was designed to permit workers from other countries to go to the USA and work for American organisations. Until recently, spouses of those having the H1-B visa were not allowed to work. According to The Hindu, Save Jobs USA said that it plans to file an appeal against the district court’s ruling.