In a temporary relief to Indians living in the United States, the proposed work ban on spouses and relatives of H-1B visa holders will not be implemented this year. The US Department of Justice confirmed that work permits for H4 EAD (Employment Authorisation Document) visa holders could be revoked next year in spring. A 2015 rule issued by the Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama allowed work permits for certain categories of H-4 visa holders (dependent family members - spouse and children - of the H1-B visa holders), who otherwise could not be employed while H-1B visa holders seek permanent resident status.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. As per the US Department of Justice (DoJ), the Trump administration's proposal to revoke H-4 employment authorisation document used by H-1B holders could be implemented between March and June 2020. The DoJ said this was due to 'inter-agency' process. The statement was made to the District Court of Columbia Circuit at Washington DC.
According to the latest report, Indians, largely female engineers, have reportedly been the biggest beneficiaries of the H4 EAD visa programme, taking over 90 per cent of the 1.2 lakh visas issued since 2015. The call for H-4 visa suspension first came in September 2017, in aligned with US President Donald Trump's 'Buy American and Hire American' executive order. The Trump administration delayed the proposed work ban on H-4 visa holders numerous times in the past two years.
Additionally, the US government recently changed H1-B visa filing rule, which said that priority would be given to foreign workers with advanced degrees from the US universities from this year. According to the data, over 125,528 Indian nationals were issued H1-B visas in 2018, while 129,097 Indian nationals were issued H1-B visas in 2017.
(With PTI inputs)