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Two Democratic lawmakers move Bill to protect H-1B spouse work permits

These work permits called the H-4 employment authorization documents have been in the crosshairs of the Trump administration, which believes these spouses are taking away jobs that would have otherwise gone to Americans.

india Updated: May 30, 2019 23:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
US,H-1B Visa,Spouse work permit
An estimated 100,000 spouses have received work authorization under H-4 employment authorization documents.(Representative Photo)

Two Democratic lawmakers have introduced a legislation that seeks to prevent the Trump administration from rescinding an Obama-era order that allows spouses of H-1B visa holders awaiting their Green Cards, most of whom are from India.

These work permits — called the H-4 employment authorization documents — have been in the crosshairs of the Trump administration, which believes these spouses are taking away jobs that would have otherwise gone to Americans, the same reason it has deployed to tighten the H-1B visa programme.

An estimated 100,000 spouses have received work authorization under this rule, which was introduced by the Obama administration to help families waiting in the Green Card queue, which is extremely long for those from India; the waiting period at current rate is more than 100 years. H-4 EAD allows spouses to work in the meantime and supplement family incomes.

Also read: US immigration law tweak could be ‘disastrous’ for some Indians

“H-4 visa holders deserve a chance to contribute to their local economies and provide for their families,” Representative Anna Eshoo, one of the two lawmakers who have moved the bill, said in a statement. “This is a matter of economic fairness and this legislation ensures it will continue.”

“While the Trump Administration sits on its hands and does nothing, American citizens in-waiting are stuck in line for their number to come up,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, the other lawmaker.

A separate legislation is also awaiting passage to cut the waiting period for Green Cards by removing the country cap, which has led to a the backlog. There is a limit of 7% on the number of Green Cards that can be issued every year to applicants from any one country. Indians, as mentioned, have the longest line.

First Published: May 30, 2019 23:58 IST