Indians to be hit if Trump ends work permits for spouses of H-1B Visa Holders

Tens of thousands of Indians will be affected if the Donald Trump administration proceeds with its plan to put an end to work permits for spouses of H-1B visa holders.

According to a PTI report, this will affect more than 70,000 H-4 visas holders who have work permits.  H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders, and quite a significant number are professionals from India.

It was in 2015 that the Barack Obama administration allowed work permits for spouses of H-1B visa holders seeking permanent resident status, a process that could last anywhere from nine to 11 years.

“Our plans include proposing regulatory changes to remove H-4 dependent spouses from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation, thereby reversing the 2015 final rule that granted such eligibility,” US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna said in a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley, reported PTI.

Because highly-skilled professionals from India are the largest beneficiaries of the H-1B programme, they are alsothe largest affected due to delay in issuing green cards, according to a report by Migration Policy Institute.

“A total of 345,262 H-1B petitions were approved in fiscal 2016, including 230,759 for continuing workers—the highest level yet,” according to the report. “Rising demand for uncapped visas is driven in large measure by the delays employers face in getting a green card for their H-1B workers. Indian H-1B workers, who face average waits of nine to 11 years depending on the green-card category, are particularly affected.”

According to the current rules, a high-skilled foreign worker can live in the United States of America for six years. Some workers are allowed visa renewals even after their six-year stay. In 2016, more than 80 percent of the total petitions approved for renewals was of Indian nationals.  “The number of Indian nationals approved for continuing employment has increased 190 percent since 2000,” according to the analysis. “This suggests that Indian nationals are staying in the country in H-1B status for longer periods than other nationals.”