The Trump administration’s move to end the Obama-era rule could have a huge impact on more than 70,000 H-1B visas holders, who have work permits. H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India. They had obtained work permits under a special order issued by the previous Obama administration. H1B Visa Evaluation Check UT Evaluators
This move even though it will impact only a small percentage of H-1B visa holders who were in the running for a Green Card is being deemed by the Indian industry as restrictive. In a statement issued, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it intends to do away with that rule without too many details behind the decision. It just said that the move is in accordance with the Donald Trump administration’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ policy stance.
Soon, these dependents of H-1B visa holders might not be allowed to work legally in the US. The Trump administration is planning to propose to end giving work permits to the spouses of H1-B visa holders to work legally in the US, a top federal agency official has told lawmakers, a move that could have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of Indians. A formal 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 dependents from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation, thereby reversing the 2015 final rule that granted such eligibility,”. According to a recent study by the Migration Policy Institute, the US has issued employment authorisation documents to more than 71,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders, over 90 per cent of whom are Indians.
Indian-Americans were a major beneficiary of this provision. More than 100,000 H-4 visa holders have been beneficiary of this rule. 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. H1B Visa Process Visit here
Changes to H-1B visa norms
Different bills proposed by senators have lobbied for reforms in the H-1B and L-1 visa norms. Some of the proposed changes are:
· Doubling minimum salaries of H-1B visa holders to $130,000
· Earmark 20% of H-1B visas for small and start-up employers
· Remove ‘per country’ cap for employment visas to ensure equal distribution
· Firms hiring H-1B visa holders need to make a “good faith” effort to recruit Americans first
· Give preference to students educated in the US for H-1B visas rather than computerized lottery system
· Crack down on outsourcing companies that import workers for temporary training and then send them back home to do the same job
· Prohibit spouses of H-1B visa holders from working in the US
· Prohibit companies with more than 50 employees, of which at least half are H-1B or L-1 holders, from hiring additional H-1B employees
· Strict audit and vetting by Department of Labor to clamp down on fraud or misuse