Biden admin withdraws Trump-era move to rescind work permits for H1-B spouses
The US department of homeland security (DHS) has formally withdrawn a move by the Trump administration to rescind the employment authorisation program for certain categories of spouses of H1-B visa holders. The spouses of H1-B visa holders receive H4 visas and only in certain cases, those spouses could apply for an employment authorisation document.
The work permit was generally given to H4 visa holders when their H1-B spouses were on track to receive a permanent resident card, also known as a green card. But the decades of green card-backlog left thousands of families struggling to survive on a single income. The Obama administration introduced the H4 Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) rule in 2015 to resolve such issues.
After the Trump administration started taking concrete steps to rescind the program, US vice president Kamala Harris, then a California senator, objected to the “outrageous” move. Calling on the DHS to withdraw the proposal, Harris had said that the decision will force immigrant doctors, scientists and academics to abandon their professional careers.
“This is outrageous & will force immigrant women who are doctors, nurses, scientists & academics, among others, to abandon their professional careers. I called on DHS last year to withdraw this proposal & will continue to fight this,” she had tweeted in February 2019.
The proposed rule “Removing H-4 dependent spouses from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorization” was being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). It has been marked as economically significant and the completed action shows “withdrawn” on OIRA website.
The latest action by the Biden administration has come up as a huge relief for Indian workers who receive a substantial share of H1-B visas. A group named SaveH4EAD tweeted, “After years of advocacy, meeting congress members, DHS/OMB & collecting irrefutable data on value add of H4EAD not only to economy but also to provide life of dignity to thousands of immigrants, we are pleased to announce that new admin has withdrawn regulation to help #SaveH4EAD.”
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