Trump administration has taken concrete steps regarding changes to the H-4 visa after months of intimation and discussion. The revocation of work permits to H-4 visa holders is subjected to changes as the US administration has told a federal court. They will come with a decision on the subject within three months.
The new rule that will be submitted, will prevent this category of people from working to the Office of Management of Budget (OMB), White House within a three month period as the US Department of Homeland Security told the US District Court in the District of Columbia.
This new rule means that H-4 visa holders, which is a visa that spouses and underage children of H-1B visa holders can obtain will become unemployed around Christmas.
This action will leave around 100,000 H-4 visa holders jobless according to the previous study carried by Christopher J.L Cunningham of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Pooja B.Vijaykumar from the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick. These categories of people that are living and working in the US are Indian-Americans and women.
About H-1B visa & H-4 visa
The H-1B program has been very popular especially among Indians and it allows skilled workers to come to the US and work for a certain company.
On the other hand, the H-4 visa can be obtained by immediate family members of H-1B visa holders. It includes the spouse and children under 21 years of age and it is issued by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Until 2015 this category of people was not allowed to work, however, the restriction was removed in the Obama era, and the administration introduced the H-4 EAD program.
The difference between H-1B and H-4 visa is that the H-4 status is not restricted to the specific employer. Moreover, the employer does not need to obtain approval from the Department of Labor.
However, in recent years Trump administration has taken some moves under the America First Policy. One of them is related to work restriction for H-4 visa holders. It also introduced new rules that tighten the H-1B visa approval gap which will make it easier for USCIS adjudicators to deny H-1B visa petitions. There has also been a suggestion that the H-1B visa is removed and the workers could be filled by Americans.
In the recent turn of events, when an Indian CEO was arrested in the US on visa fraud charges has contributed to the issue. The citizen in question, Pradyumna Kumar Samal, has been arrested for fraudulently obtaining H-1B visas as well as bringing over 200 foreign workers to the US.
In an announcement by USCIS, it was reported that over 5000 cases of H-1B visa abuse and fraud have been identified only in 2017. It happened despite USCIS efforts to combat and prevent H-1B Visa fraud and abuse.