US To Scrap Work Permit Authorisation Of H-1B Visa Holders' Spouses

| April 24 , 2018 , 16:52 IST

The Trump administration is planning to terminate the option that allows spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States, a top federal agency official has told lawmakers. This move would have a devastating impact on thousands of Indians. 

The move to end the Obama-era rule could have an impact on more than 1,00,000 H-4 visas holders, who have work permits. 

H-4 is issued to spouses of H-1B visa holders. Under the Obama administration, a special order was issued that led them to obtain work permits. Indian-Americans were the major beneficiary of this provision. 

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A 2015 rule issued by the Obama administration allows work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed while H-1B visa holders seek permanent resident status -- a process that can take a decade or longer.

A former communication is expected to be made later this summer, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna said in a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley. 

"Our plans include proposing regulatory changes to remove H-4 dependent spouses from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation, thereby reversing the 2015 final rule that granted such eligibility," Cissna said. 

Of the H-4 spouses with work permits, 94 percent of them are women. In fact, a vast majority were Indians at 93 percent, as of early 2017, according to a study done in by the Migration Policy Institute in the US.