Respite for H1B visa holders as US court refuses to revoke work permit of spouses
11 November 2019
A US court has refused to revoke an Obama-era rule which allows H4 visa holders to work legally in the country while waiting for their green card to be approved, bringing some respite for thousands of spouses of Indian IT professionals currently working in the US.
The H1B visa allows US companies to hire foreign workers in certain occupations. The spouse of an H1B holder receives an H4 visa.
During his term as US President, Barack Obama introduced a new rule which allowed those with an H4 visa and waiting for their green card, to be able to legally work.
The Donald Trump administration that followed announced plans to strike down the provision in late 2017 in a bid to save jobs for Americans. However, now after much speculation, a three-judge bench of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday sent the case back to a lower court, saying that the district court will get a chance to assess and analyse the case in the interim.
"Accordingly, we reverse the district court's grant of summary judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion," reads the court order.
President Trump had threatened to revoke the provision of the H4 visa. Earlier the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the US government said that it would incorporate a work ban on spouses of individuals with the H1B visa. However making H4 visa holders legally allowed to work, encouraged H1B holders to stay on the legal path to obtain permanent residency in the country, several people pointed out.
Since 2015, Indians, mostly women, have been the beneficiaries of the H4 visa programme, accounting for over 93 per cent of the one lakh visas issued. As per reports, Indians are among the biggest beneficiaries of the H1B visa with 76 per cent of the total visas issued going to professionals from India last year.