June 8th, 2018
Despite warnings by Trump administration that the US immigration system will be revamped, sticker rules for others to be forced and few programs scrapped. The US Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Mary Kay L Carlson, told reporters in New Delhi that “no big changes” in the H-1B visa program.
She also added that no changes have been made to the H-4 visa policy. This visa can be obtained by the spouses of H-1B visa holders as it authorizes them to work.
During the Student Visa Day celebration in New Delhi, Carlson and other US officials participated from the embassy in Delhi. It was an event organized to honor the ties between India and the United States in higher education.
“There have been no big changes in the H-1B program and nothing new on H-4…,” the US Deputy Chief of Mission said in front of the media. During the event, she also highlighted that “certainly the granting of work visas and permits is the sovereign decision of a country.”
Brief History of H-1B & H-4 Visas
Foreign skilled workers that come to the US in order to work at some company can obtain an H-1B Visa. Once they possess this type of visa, it will allow them to fill available jobs in the United States. This visa type is one of the most popular visas among foreigners, especially Indians, who have obtained more than 70% of all H-1B visas.
The validity of this type of visa is no more than three years and can be extended for up to six years. Having a job offer from a company is the first step before you can be eligible to apply for it.
On the other hand, the H-4 visa can be obtained by immediate family members of the H-1B visa holders, such as spouse and children under 21 years of age. This visa is issued by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Back in 2015, H-4 visa holders were not allowed to work, however, these rules changed and now they are permitted to work based on conditions specified by the H-4 EAD program. The H-4 EAD is only permitted if your spouse or parent is on an H-1B visa, and not for other types of visas such as H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3 visa.
Tightening of H-1B Visa Rules by Trump Admin
The new memo was issued by the USCIS in February 2018, explaining new rules on the requirements that the visa applicant and their employer need to fulfill in order to apply for this type of visa. The document introduced some changes such as the employer must provide proof to the USCIS when they submit an application for an H-1B visa applicant. Among others, proof from the employer will be needed that they will maintain work relationship with the employee throughout the whole duration of the H-1B visa. This requires the employer to submit some kind of documents such as a signed contract with the employee that guarantees his/her stay in the company as well as the dates of work and places.
Additionally, Trump’s administration is also looking to reverse the rules that allow spouses of H-1B holders to get a job and work legally in the US with the H-4 visa program.