Indian Americans overwhelmingly use H1-B or the work visa. Most recently, under Obama administration their spouses, who are on H-4 visa were allowed to work. However, things are changing with the new Trump administration at the healm and Republicans and some Democratic lawmakers consider that high-tech Indian workers are stealing away American jobs.
The Trump administration, media reports suggest, has launched a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration policies, especially on the H-4 visa holders — spouses of H-1B visa-holders. According to a report, the Trump administration is reviewing a 2014 Obama ruling that allowed those in the country on H4 visas to work beginning mid-2015.
President Donald Trump said to be considering an executive order that would rescind employment authorization for H-4 visa holders, leaving 180,000 women, mostly from India, frantic about their ability to continue to work in the U.S.
H-4 visas are given to the spouses of H-1B visa holders, highly-skilled foreign workers, the majority of whom are from India. Until 2015, H-4 visa holders – who often had skill levels comparable to their spouses – were not allowed to work. In 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that some H-4 visa holders, whose spouses were on track for permanent residency in the U.S., would be able to work.
“Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” USCIS Director León Rodríguez said in February 2015. “It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.”
At a press briefing on February 8th organized by New America Media, Sally Kinoshita, deputy director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, told reporters that a leaked memo from the Trump administration proposes to end work authorization for H-4 visa holders. “H-4s are vulnerable because the Department of Homeland Security extended work permits to them under the regulations in 2015 and this draft memo seeks to rescind those regulations,” she said.
A leaked draft of an executive order titled “Protecting American jobs and workers by strengthening the integrity of foreign worker visa programs” appeared on the New York Times Web site Jan. 27. In the draft, Trump proposes sweeping changes to several highly-skilled foreign worker visa programs, including H-1B workers.