In the coming three months, immigrant workers in the US with their spouses are going to be in very critical times.
In the 2018 Unified Fall Agenda of the Department of Homeland Security (DHA), the US government will be reviewing the meaning of “specialty occupation” come January 2019. This specialty occupation is a requirement for the popular H-1B visa. DHS released this agenda on the 17th of October.
The government did not give any hints on what the new definition will be, but it is most likely to become stricter. In conducting this review and making it as effective as possible, the government is also going to update the definition of “employer-employee relationship” and “employment”
This coming review is going to affect a lot of H-1B visa holders in the US, the worst hit being the Indians, as they constitute about 75% of beneficiaries of the visa.
US firms are certainly not going to be unaffected. Most of these firms, although multinational, still thrive on the stability the US gives their workforce there.
H-4 visa holders also in the line of fire?
One other thing that has amplified the wide-spread scare among these H-1B visas holders
is that the US will also be coming for the H-4 holders, who happen to be their spouses and children.
The Trump administration by January 2019 is also going to make a final decision on the employment standing of these dependents. In one proposed rule of the DHS, some of them could fall under the category for “aliens eligible for employment.”
H-4 visa holders were initially not allowed to work. They put a lot of pressure on the government and in 2015, they succeeded. Those whose spouses were awaiting their permanent residence cards were allowed to work. The authorizing document is called the Employment Authorization Document
(EAD). Statistics show that there have been more than 100,000 EADs issued since 2015 with Indians topping the chart with the highest percentage of beneficiaries and 90% of the total number being women.
The government insists that revoking the EADs of H-4 visa holders
will create more work opportunities for qualified workers in the society. Immigration experts think that this standpoint does not take into consideration that there are only a few H-4 visa holders in the American workforce and that it totally ignored the value they bring to the country. More than 50% of H-4 visa holders have a Master's degree.
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