Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Protect Work Authorization of H-1B SpousesImmigration

November 17, 2018 14:34
Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Protect Work Authorization of H-1B Spouses

(Image source from: World Atlas)

The H-4 Employment Protection Act, a legislation seeking to stop Trump administration from revoking the work authorization of spouses of H1-B visa holders, which include Indians, has been introduced in the United States Congress by two lawmakers.

The lawmakers said eliminating this benefit would force many foreign workers to use their talent to compete against American businesses.

H-4 visas are given to the spouses of H-1B foreign workers. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa through which many Indians workers are employed in the U.S. companies. It allows the U.S. firms to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that need theoretical or technical expertise and is the most sought-after visa among Indian tech professionals.

H-4 visas are issued solely to very close or immediate family members of the H-1B visa holders.

Related content: U.S. Says Will Take Public Opinion On H-4 Visa Revocation Proposal

The move by lawmakers Anna G Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren to introduce the legislation come amid resolution by the Trump administration to revoke an Obama-era rule that lasts work authorization to the partners of H-1B visa holders.

Since the rule was implemented, more than one lakh workers, chiefly women from India, have received employment authorization, improving the American competitiveness and lessening the economic burden on thousands of H-1B workers and their families, the two lawmakers said after presenting the bill in the house.

The H-4 Employment Protection Act prohibits the Trump administration from revoking this important rule, which it is expected to do by the end of the year, they said. "Protecting work authorization for these H-4 visa holders is a matter of both economic fairness and family unity," Eshoo said.

"Eliminating this benefit would create a painful choice for many immigrants to either split up their families or return to their home countries and use their talents to compete against American businesses," Eshoo said. "These are American citizens-in-waiting, stuck in line for their number to come up," Congressman Lofgren said.

"Prohibiting H-1B dependent spouses from working is of no benefit to our country, and if allowed to move forward, many of these families that can contribute so much to our workforce will simply move to countries with a more sensible approach to immigration. This much-needed bill will block the Trump administration from needlessly harming our economy and the lives of skilled immigrant families," Lofgren said.

-Sowmya Sangam

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