Indian H-1B holders’ spouses’ fate bleak

US President Donald Trump arrives on stage to speak at a rally at JQH Arena in Springfield, Missouri on September 21, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE CROPTrump Cutout

The Trump administration has told a federal court that its decision to revoke work permits to H-4 visa users, a significant majority of whom are Indian-Americans, is expected within the next three months, a move which will have a major impact on Indian women as they are the major beneficiary of the Obama-era rule.

H-4 visas are issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa, the most sought-after among Indian IT professionals.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in its latest court filing on Friday told the US District Court in District of Columbia that it was “making a solid and swift progress in proposing to remove from its regulations on certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation”.

The DHS said the new rule would be submitted to the Office of Management of Budget (OMB), White House, within three months.

Till then, the department urged the court to keep in abeyance its decision on a lawsuit filed by ‘Save Jobs USA’, representing a group of US workers who claim that their jobs have been hit by such a policy of the government that was promulgated during the previous Obama administration.

The Trump administration is currently reviewing the H-1B visa policy that it thinks is being misused by companies to replace American workers.

The administration has said publicly and also in its court filing that it wants to revoke work permits to H4 visa holders, a significant majority of whom are Indian-Americans and women.

This is for the third time that the Department of Homeland has informed the court about the delay in issue of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

The DHS has filed three status reports — on February 28, May 22 and August 20. The next status report is due on November 19. Explaining the reasons for the delay, the US attorney said since the filing of the most recent status report, the DHS’s senior leadership reviewed the proposed rule and returned it to the USCIS this month for revisions.

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Indian H-1B holders’ spouses’ fate bleak

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