India Abroad

Spouses Of H-1B Visa Holders May Soon Be Barred From Working In US

| December 16 , 2017 , 15:05 IST

US President Donald Trump's administration is likely to announce another revision to their H-1B Visa policy, by revoking former President Barack Obama's rule that allowed spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the US.  Since Trump came to office, he announced a crackdown on H-1B visas, in light of the "Buy American, Hire American" executive order he signed in April.

Obama in 2015 had introduced a rule according to which spouses of H-1B visa holders were eligible to work in the US on H-4 dependent visas, however, his rule was met with opposition in 2015 itself, when a group called Save Jobs USA filed a lawsuit in April 2015 arguing that the rule threatened American jobs.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said in the past that the H-4 rule "hurts American workers".

A statement made by the Department of Homeland Security said that it intended to do away with the rule, although the formal process would be initiated at a later date.

Although changing the rule would not prevent spouses of H-1B holders from seeking other forms of work authorisation, it would possibly deter high-skilled immigrants from staying in the US if their respective spouses cannot easily find work.

The Department of Homeland Security statement added that other revisions to the H-1B programme are also likely, including a revision of the definition of which occupations are eligible for the visa programme "to increase focus on truly obtaining the best and brightest foreign nationals".

A major employer of the H-1B visas is the tech sector, and Indians account for nearly 70 percent of all the H-1B visa holders.