Trump will stop spouses of H-1B visa holders from working


Trump will stop spouses of H-1B visa holders from working

Cheryl Sanders
December 16, 2017

In February 2015, the Obama administration decreed that such spouses could legally find work while in the U.S.in an effort to "reduce the economic burdens and personal stresses" of immigrants.

Save Jobs USA, a group of US citizens who were replaced by H-1B workers at a Southern California utility, filed a lawsuit in April 2015 challenging the H-4 work authorization, arguing that it exceeded DHS's statutory authority.

If the Trump administration does repeal the rule, it will disproportionately affect Indian immigrants, who made up almost 80% of all H-4 visas issued in 2015.

It has continued to press the case following Trump's election, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said in the past that the H-4 rule "hurts American workers".


The Obama-era rule allowing spouses to work already faces a legal challenge. They rejoiced, felt they finally "belonged" in America; were not second-class citizens, who could become a wife and mother at their free will, but were prohibited by the government to work, unless to do voluntary service for no pay in their local community.

3,200 H1-B visas were issued to Irish citizens between 2010 and 2015.

. Women account for 90% of all H-4 visas. Over 41,000 H-4 work authorizations were approved in 2016. She battled severe depression during this time, a manifestation of the pressure that many H-4 spouses feel after years of remaining unemployed just to be able to live with their partners, noted the report.

While changing the rule wouldn't prevent spouses of H-1B holders from pursuing other avenues for work authorization, it could deter a number of high-skilled immigrants from staying in the USA if their spouses can't easily find work.

The DHS dropped another bombshell, on December 14, apart from their statement on the H-4 EAD, which is sure to make the entire H-1B community panic and agonize, as well as make Indian outsourcing companies in particular jittery about future hires: it mentioned plans for changes to the H-1B visa program.


About 85,000 H-1B visas are available annually, and about 70 percent of those who receive one are from India.

In addition to the potential removal of the H-4 regulation, DHS also announced plans to "revise the definition of specialty occupation" so only the "brightest" applicants can be focused on, according to a DHS notice.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 26,858 employment authorization documents were approved for H-4 visa holders in fiscal year 2015, 41,526 in fiscal year 2016, and 36,366 from October 1, 2016 to June 29, 2017.

R Chandrashekhar, president of Indian IT industry body Nasscom, said that this is part of the recent steps which are tightening the regulatory framework, making the H-1B visa route stricter for the skilled workers.


Other reports by iNewsToday

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER