US lawmakers urge Trump to continue granting work permit to spouses of H-1B visa holders

More than 100 US lawmakers have urged the Donald Trump administration to continue granting work permits to those with H-4 visas.

In a move that could affect more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, the Trump administration in April revealed that it was planning to end the Obama-era rule allowing spouses of H1-B visa holders to work legally in the US.

H-4 visas are issued to spouses of those holding H-1B visas and a large number of them are highly skilled professionals from India.

In a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, US lawmakers said the work by H-4 visa holders have strengthened US economy. “The opportunity for H-4 visa holders to work has made our economy stronger, while providing relief and economic support to thousands of spouses, mostly women, who have resided in the United States for years,” the letter said, according to PTI.

“Many are on the path to permanent residency and would already be permanent residents if not for the decades-long employment backlogs. Rescinding the rule will hurt the competitiveness of US employers and the US economy, as well as H-4 accompanying spouses and their families. We strongly urge you to reconsider this action,” said the lawmakers.

The letter was signed by 130 lawmakers from both the Republican and the Democratic Party.

“We write to urge you to maintain the current regulation granting work authorisation to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrant workers,” the letter said, adding that a second income brought by H-4 visa holders help provide for children’s basic needs.

In April this year, heads of a number of American IT firms had opposed Trump’s decision to scrap work permits for H-4 visa holders. “Rescinding this rule and removing tens of thousands of people from the American workforce would be devastating to their families, and would hurt our economy,” Silicon Valley-based FWD.US, founded by leaders in the technology community, said in a report.