Trump May Scrap Rule Allowing H-1B Visa Holders’ Spouses to Work 

The move will impact a large number of Indians who constitute more than two-thirds of the recipients of the visas.

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The Department of Homeland Security said they will review the rule in light of Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.

In another step to “Make America Great,” the Trump administration may scrap a rule that allows spouses of H-1B visa holders to stay and work in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security said, on Saturday, 17 December, that it is reviewing the Obama administration’s rule that permits spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States, The Independent reported.

H-1B visas provide foreign workers a chance at employment in the United States in specialised fields including engineering, finance, and analytics. H-4 visas are issued to spouses of H-1B visa holders waiting for a permanent residence permit.

The provision for employment under the H-4 visa was introduced by the Obama administration in 2015, in an effort to attract more foreign talent and retain existing talent.

After the rule was implemented, a group called Save Jobs USA, formed by IT workers who claimed they’d lost their jobs to H-1B visa holders, staged protests against the provision, filing a lawsuit against the rule stating that H-4 visa holders were taking even more jobs away from US workers.

The Department of Homeland Security said the review of the rule comes as part of Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.

The move is also likely to impact a large number of Indians, who constitute more than two-thirds of the 85,000 recipients of the temporary H-1B visas issued every year.

Apart from holders of H-1B visas, the move will also impact Indian workers holding H-4 visas, a number as high as 80 percent of all H-4 visas every year. Ninety percent of H-4 visa-holders who will be affected are women, The Independent reported.

Arun Jaitley had said to the US administration, in October 2017, that Indians in the US on H-1B visas aren’t “illegal economic immigrants” and that their positions must be considered “appropriately” in future policy-making decisions. However, the US Citizenship & Immigration Services has reiterated that it will be making changes in the policy to fall in line with Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” order, which formed an important part of his campaign manifesto.

We are focused on ensuring the integrity of the immigration system and protecting the interests of US workers. We are committed to reforming employment based immigration programmes so they benefit the American people to the greatest extent possible. No decision about H-4 visas is final until the rule-making process is completed.
R Carter Langston of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services

(With inputs from Hindustan Times and The Independent)

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