US Commences Process to Ban H-4 Work Permit

The US government has commenced the process to repeal the work permit for H-4 visa holders, the spouses of H-1B visa holders. This move will affect the families of Indian workers in the US whose numbers run in the thousands.

US Commences Process to Ban H-4 Work Permit

The notice for the rule change was issued on May 22nd by the Trump administration. The H-4 EAD (Employment Authorization Document) had been introduced by the Obama administration so skilled spouses of the H-1B visa could be absorbed into the American workforce and to close the skill gap in the technology sector. The Department of Homeland Security had defended the proposed move, saying that by taking away the jobs held by H-4 visa holders, US citizens will have a higher opportunity to secure jobs. This, according to their argument, will be to their benefit.

India will be worst hit by the proposed changes

A high number of Indians, especially female engineers, represent a staggering 90% of the entire beneficiaries of the H-4 EAD. The US government, had in February last year, declared its intention for the first time to scrap the program. Some policy watchers have said that the proposal will take some time to become effective even if it were to be passed now.

President Donald Trump has taken a hard stand in immigration since he resumed office as America's president. India received the hardest blow when he brought the hammer down hard on the H-1B visa, tightening its policy for companies that offer IT services. Applicants who have a Master's degree from a US university have an advantage over those who don't. Again, it has become increasingly difficult to extend any already-existing H-1B visas for another three years because the rejection rate has skyrocketed.

A managing attorney at, Rajiv S. Khanna, said the visa program could take up to a year to be scrapped. He revealed that the proposal was at its second to the last stage at the moment and that once it gets the required approval, it would be posted on the federal register where people will have thirty to sixty days to post their comments. After this, it will become final. The administration will finally make its comments before publishing the final rule and implementing it. This will take several months.

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