Trump administration reconfirms its intent to rescind H4 rule

It was in February 2015 that it had published a final rule extending eligibility for employment authorisation to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.

By: PTI | Washington | Published: June 14, 2018 9:54:36 pm
Trump administration reconfirms its intent to rescind H4 rule “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses From the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization,” said the Department of Homeland Security’s Unified Agenda in the federal register notification of its semi-annual regulatory agenda. (Representational)

The Trump administration has reconfirmed its intent to rescind H-4 rule regarding employment authorisation to certain spouses of H-1B visas, popular among Indian IT professionals.

The move will have a major impact on Indian-American women as they are the major beneficiary of the Obama-era rule.

“Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses From the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization,” said the Department of Homeland Security’s Unified Agenda in the federal register notification of its semi-annual regulatory agenda.

As per the notification published Monday, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

It was in February 2015 that it had published a final rule extending eligibility for employment authorisation to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.

The federal register notification said that the notice of proposed rulemaking or NPRM would be published in June.

However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) insisted that “No decision about H4 visas is final until” the rulemaking process is completed.

USCIS will alert the public when the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) has been posted for public comment.

An NPRM is posted for public comment and after comments have been considered USCIS will post the final rule, a USCIS official told PTI requesting anonymity.

“The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment-based visa programmes,” Michael Bars, USCIS Spokesperson told PTI.

“USCIS is focused on safeguarding the integrity of our immigration system and ensuring its faithful execution so that the wages and working conditions of US workers are protected,” he said.

“USCIS is committed to reforming employment-based immigration programmes so they benefit the American people to the greatest extent possible,” Bars said.

Meanwhile, scores of Indian-Americans who have been waiting for years to get their Green Card met Congressman Paul Tonko in Albany, New York to press for an early reform of the Green Card backlog and not to rescind H-4 rule on employment authorisation.

Activist Renuka Rajkumar addressed the gathering about the impact of revoking employment permits for spouses who have been waiting on green cards for a long time.

In her speech, she recalled despairing for a decade before she was afforded the opportunity to work.

In spite of her higher education and prior professional experience, it took her almost a year to find a job in her chosen profession.

Hardik Chirra spoke passionately about the challenges faced by Children on H4 dependent visas.

Hardik, a 10th grader who has been studying in Albany schools for the last decade spoke about the challenges faced in college admissions, anxiety about having to self-deport, leaving his family behind when he turns 21.

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