The H-4 visa, or the visa that named the spouses of H-1B visa holders as a "class of aliens eligible for employment authorization", may be in jeopardy, according to a Department of Homeland Security notice.
The Obama-administration in 2015 made spouses of H-1B applicants, waiting for their green card approval, eligible to work in the USA, giving a sigh of relief to thousands of talented spouses who couldn't legally work. The Department of Homeland Security, which announced the review of the rule, did not specify why. It just said that the move is in accordance with the Donald Trump administration's "Buy American, Hire American" policy stance.
H-4 visa is a dependent visa that is issued by the USCIS to immediate family members, which include spouse and children less than 21 years of age of the H-1B visa holders. In it, the administration plans to propose an official rule in the Federal Register by February, 2018, and thereafter all existing EADs given to H-4 visa holders will be trashed, and no new ones will be issued.
"We've been looking at different ways to ensure the VWP has the appropriate security requirements in place to make sure terrorists, criminals and other actors can't exploit the program", a senior administration official said in briefing reporters.
Supporters argue that the program brings in overseas talent to fill a job gap, but critics say it promotes outsourcing and gives away American positions to lower-paid workers.
It has continued to press the case following Trump's election, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said in the past that the H-4 rule "hurts American workers".
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Stock said it's clear the administration is taking concrete steps to move forward with revoking H-4 employment authorization. To no longer feel this guilt, this wastefulness.
The DHS also stated its intentions for other changes to the H-1B visa programme and said it may revise the definition of which professions will be eligible for the visa programme.
It's a program that's particularly popular in the tech community, with many engineers vying for one of the programme's 85,000 visas each year.
Since Trump administration came to power, talks about overhauling H1B visa program had intensified causing panic among Indians who account for 70 percent of total H-1B recipients.
According to CNN, while changing the rule wouldn't prevent spouses of H-1B holders from pursuing other avenues for work authorisation, it could deter a number of high- skilled immigrants from staying in the U.S. if their spouses can't easily find work.
The H-1B visa has been roiled in controversy since the Trump Administration took over.