There was some good news for spouses of H-1B visa holders as a US appellate court refused to strike down their right to work for now. For now is the operative part as President Trump is committed to purge their right, called H-4 visa. It was his predecessor President Obama who first allowed spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the country. Lots of Indians are beneficiaries of the rule.
The court’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA—an organisation of American IT workers who claim to have lost their jobs to H-1B immigrants.“By making H-4 visa holders eligible for lawful employment, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees immigration, sought to ameliorate certain disincentives that currently lead H-1B nonimmigrants to abandon efforts to remain in the US while seeking (lawful permanent resident) status, thereby, minimising disruptions to US businesses employing such workers,” US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said. It sent the case back to the district court.
While Obama used H-4 visa to stem immigrant brain drain, Trump saw in it the denial of job opportunity to Americans.
In May, his administration introduced a notice in this regard. Later it was reported that the new rule may not be implemented till next year.
Saves Jobs USA comprises of American workers who claim that they have been laid off due to the policy of the Obama administration to provide work permits to H-4 visa holders.
By making H-4 visa holders eligible for lawful employment, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees immigration, sought to "ameliorate certain disincentives that currently lead H-1B non-immigrants to abandon efforts to remain in the US while seeking (lawful permanent resident) status, thereby, minimising disruptions to US businesses employing such workers", the court said.
It noted that the government has explained that H-1B non-immigrants and their families often face long delays in the process of obtaining permanent residence, and H-4 visa holders' inability to work during these delays leads to "personal and economic hardships" that worsen over time, "increasing the disincentives for H-1B nonimmigrants to pursue lawful permanent resident status and thus increasing the difficulties that US employers have in retaining highly educated and highly skilled non-immigrant workers".
The judges also observed that the rule will cause more H-1B visa holders to remain in the US than otherwise would, an effect that is distinct from that of the H-1B visa holders' initial admission to the country.
(With PTI inputs)