US admin plans to end work permits for H-1B visa spouses

H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India.

The Trump administration is planning to propose to end allowing spouses of H1-B visa holders to work legally in the US, a top federal agency official has told lawmakers, a move that could have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of Indians.

The move to end the Obama-era rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visas holders, who have work permits.

H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India. They had obtained work permits under a special order issued by the previous Obama administration.

Indian-Americans were a major beneficiary of this provision. More than 100,000 H-4 visa holders have been beneficiary of this rule.

A 2015 rule issued by the Obama administration allows work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed while H-1B visa holders seek permanent resident status — a process that can take a decade or longer.

The Trump administration is planning to terminate this provision. A formal communication is expected to be made later this summer.

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