US firm on revoking work permits for spouses of H-1B visa holders
16 June 2018
The US government has reconfirmed its resolve to rescind the H-4 visa rule that allows certain spouses of H-1B visa holders get employment in the United States, a move that could hit thousands of Indian women working in the US.
The Trump administration is currently reviewing the H-1B visa policy as it thinks it is being misused by companies to replace American workers. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations. The work visa is popular among Indian IT professionals.
A PTI report quoting sources at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said any decision on revoking the H-4 visa rule will be final only when the rule making process is completed.
However, USCIS sources are reported to have said that the focus is on safeguarding the integrity of US immigration system and ensuring its faithful execution so that the wages and working conditions of US workers are protected.
The H-4 visas are issued to the spouses of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are highly-skilled professionals from India. The US move could have a devastating impact on over 70,000 H-4 visa holders who have work permits.
The previous Obama administration under an executive order in 2015 had started giving work authorisation permits to certain categories of H-4 visa holders and, according to a recent Congressional report, 93 per cent of the total H-4 visa holders in the US having work authorisation are from India.
The federal register notification said that the notice of the proposed rulemaking would be published this month.
However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) insisted that no decision about H-4 visas is final until the rulemaking process is completed. USCIS said, it would alert the public when the notice of proposed rulemaking has been posted for public comment.
It was in February 2015 that it had published a final rule extending eligibility for employment authorisation to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.