Trump administration’s plan to revoke the Obama-era rule that makes spouses of immigrant workers eligible to work in the US could impact over 70,000 Indians living in the United States. The rule grants work permits to H-4 visa holders- who are spouses of professionals holding H-1B visas.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes that the move will benefit US workers. DHS, in its Unified Fall Agenda released on Wednesday, said it believed that abandoning the current practice of granting employment authorisation to H-4 dependent spouses would benefit some US workers. The DHS said the proposed rule would no longer allow H-4 workers to enter the labour market early.
The H-4 visa is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India. The H-4 visa type grants the visa holder a permit to work. The decision to grant work permits to spouses was issued under the Obama administration in 2015.
The DHS, which has already delayed three times this year issuing of the necessary notification, said in its agenda that it was on its way to remove H-4 dependent spouses from getting work authorisation.
“Some US workers would benefit from this proposed rule by having a better chance at obtaining jobs that some of the population of the H-4 workers currently hold, as the proposed rule would no longer allow H-4 workers to enter the labour market early,” the agenda said.
As of December 25, 2017, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services had approved 1,26,853 applications granting employment authorisation for H-4 visa holders.
Earlier, two Democratic women senators– Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand urged the Trump administration not to go ahead with its decision to revoke work permits for H-4 visa holders, as such a move would have an impact on about 1,00,000 women, PTI reported.
“Preventing women from engaging in employment can lead to isolation, depression, anxiety, feelings of guilt, and a loss of self-worth. Revoking a wife’s ability to work leaves her and her children entirely dependent on her spouse.
“Increased isolation – coupled with complete financial dependence — can make leaving an abusive relationship dangerous and, in some cases, impossible,” they wrote.
(With PTI Inputs)