By Elton Gomes
The Donald Trump administration is moving forward with a proposal to end work permits for H4 visa holders, a federal court had been told, the Hindu reported.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues H4 visas to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa – which is the most sought-after visa among IT professionals.
What is the DHS planning?
The Department of Home land Security (DHS) is on track to finish an internal procedure within the next three months and announce the new regulation, the DHS said in a submission before a federal appeals court on Friday.
Once the regulation is released, there will be some time allotted for public comments and revisions before the new regulation comes into effect. However, the uncertainty over the legal status of H4 visa holders has largely affected their job prospects.†More than 90% of the 1.26 lakh Employment Authorisation Documents (EAD) issued for H4 visa beneficiaries since 2015 have been allotted to Indians.
Trump confirms plan to revoke H4 work visas
In August, the Trump administration confirmed that the proposed rule to revoke work permits of H1B spouses – popularly known as H4 EAD – was currently in “final clearance and review” process. Top officers from the DHS were working out the fine print of the terms of approval.
“Final DHS clearance review of the proposed rule is ongoing, and senior levels of the Departmentís leadership are actively considering the terms of the NPRM for approval,” the status report filed by the DHS said, Firstpost reported.
What is the H4 work visa, and why it can be revoked easily
The H4 EAD programme is a regulation that was started when Barack Obama was president. In the 27 years that it has existed, H4 visa holders were not allowed to pursue paid work until the H4 EAD programme was introduced in the summer of 2015.
Writing for Firstpost, Nikhila Natarajan noted that the H4 EAD was the result of a rule-making process, and the programme is not ďhard coded via legislation, unlike the H1B.Ē In terms of the H4 EAD, Natarajan argues that it is far easier for the Trump administration to come up with a radical strategy that doesnít require congressional approval. In other words, if the administrationís rule is published, the public has a 60-day period to weigh in with their suggestions before next steps are taken.
Trumpís policies will gravely affect immigrants
Trumpís immigration policies have always been in the news for the wrong reasons, and the H4 EAD programme is no different. CEOs of top US companies, including Apple and PepsiCo, have warned that Trump’s policies on the H1-B visa can inflict ‘substantial harm’ to the competitiveness of the US companies. The CEOs called Trump’s immigration policies as ‘inconsistent’.
In another article for Firstpost, Nikhila Natarajan recounted the ordeal of Vinod and his wife, who have been residing in the US since 2008. Vinod reached the US in 2008 on an H1B visa, while his wife joined him in 2009 on an H4 dependent visa. Natarajan noted that Vinodís wife “came to grips slowly with the reality” that spouses with H4 visas gave up well-paying jobs in India to join their partners in the US, and had “no option but to stay home.”
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius