Immigration

Withdrawal of H-4 Visa Work Permit in Final Stages, Says Trump Administration

The Department of Homeland Security told a federal court in a status update that the proposed rule is in the final stages of clearance.

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The Trump administration has told a U.S. court that the move to roll back work authorization for certain categories of H-4 visa holders is in final stages, PTI reported. The decision that could hit tens of thousands of Indians, as 93 per cent of total H-4 visa holders with work permits in the United States are from India, according to a recent Congressional report.

The Department of Homeland Security told a federal court in a status update on May 24 that the proposed rule is in the final stages of clearance, the report said.

The court was told that 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 DHS reiterated in its court filing that it intends to proceed with the publication of this new rule concerning the H-4 visa rule. The final notification on the work authorization rollback is expected in June.

The H-4 visa is popular among the spouses of H-1B visa-holding Indian IT professionals. The move to end the Obama-era program is likely to have an adverse impact on about 70,000 H-4 visa holders who have work permits.

It was in 2015 that the Barack Obama administration came out with an executive order to give work authorization permits to certain categories of H-4 visa holders.

Last week, a group of 130 U.S lawmakers led by Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal wrote a letter to the administration, urging it to continue to grant work permits to certain dependent spouses of workers with H-1B visas. The letter, dated May 16, was signed by Republican as well as Democrat lawmakers.

The leaders pointed out in the letter to DHS Secretary Kirsten Nielsen that providing work authorization for accompanying spouses helps American employers recruit and retain highly qualified employees from other countries, putting it on par with Canada and Australia, which are competing to attract talented foreign nationals.

They wrote: “Many are on the path to permanent residency and would already be permanent residents if not for the decades-long employment backlogs. Rescinding the rule will hurt the competitiveness of U.S employers and the U.S economy, as well as H-4 accompanying spouses and their families. We strongly urge you to reconsider this action.”

From May 2015, when the Obama-era rule was implemented, to December last year, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services approved 126,853 applications for employment authorization for H-4 visa holders. This number includes 90,946 initial approvals, 35,219 renewals, and 688 replacements for lost cards. Over 100,000 H-4 visa holders have been beneficiary of this rule.

1 Comment

  1. Freedom1958

    May 26, 2018 at 4:53 am

    “The move to end the Obama-era program is likely to have an adverse impact on about 70,000 H-4 visa holders who have work permits.”

    On the other hand, it is likely to have a positive impact on 70,000 Americans who are unemployed or underemployed.

    Happy Times!!!

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