US plans to remove H-4 visa work permits, move may impact over 70,000 Indians

WION Web Team United States Oct 19, 2018, 10.15 PM(IST)

File photo of US president Donald Trump. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

A significant number of H-1B visa holders in the US hail from India and therefore any revision in the rule is expected to leave a major impact on Indians present in the US.

The Trump government is planning to "revise" a rule that may impact thousands of immigrant workers from India.

The rule that was introduced by the Obama administration grants work permits to H-4 visa holders who are the spouse of professionals holding H-1B visas.

A significant number of H-1B visa holders in the US hail from India and therefore any revision in the rule is expected to leave a major impact on Indians present in the US.

The visas were issued to the immigrants in 2015 under a special order issued by the previous Obama administration.

While the move is expected to impact over 70,000 Indians, the Department of Homeland Security believes that it will benefit US workers. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in its Unified Fall Agenda released on Wednesday said it believed that abandoning the current practice of granting employment authorisation to H-4 dependent spouses would benefit some US workers.

The DHS said the proposed rule would no longer allow H-4 workers to enter the labour market early.

The DHS, which has already delayed three times this year issuing of the necessary notification, said in its agenda that it was on its way to remove H-4 dependent spouses from getting work authorisation.

"Some US workers would benefit from this proposed rule by having a better chance at obtaining jobs that some of the population of the H-4 workers currently hold, as the proposed rule would no longer allow H-4 workers to enter the labour market early," it said.

As of December 25, 2017, US Citizenship and Immigration Services had approved 126,853 applications for employment authorisation for H-4 visa holders.

These counts all approvals since May 2015 when the rule was implemented. This number includes 90,946 initial approvals, 35,219 renewals, and 688 replacements for lost cards.

(With inputs from PTI)