Trump administration in final stages of revoking work visas of spouses of H-1B holders
25 May 2018
The US government is in the final stages of rescinding work authorisation to certain categories of H-4 visa holders, the Trump administration has told a US court.
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 proposed rule is currently in final clearance, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told a federal court in a status update on Thursday. Once the proposal is cleared through the DHS, it will be sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review under Executive Order for regulatory and planning review, the administration informed the court.
As previously represented to the court, the DHS intends to proceed with publication of this new rule concerning the H-4 visa rule, the DHS said in its court filing.
The final notification to rescind the work authorisation is expected to be issued in June.
The Trump administration is pushing ahead with its decision despite recommendation by a bipartisan group of 130 US lawmakers led by influential Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal to continue granting work authorisation to certain dependent spouses of non-immigrant workers holding H-1B visas.
Providing work authorisation for accompanying spouses helps US employers recruit and retain highly-qualified employees, putting US policy on par with other countries, such as Canada and Australia, competing to attract talented foreign nationals, the lawmakers had said.