Explained: Move that could kill the US dream for many Indians


The US government is putting a squeeze on foreign workers by tightening its work visa regime. The latest threat to foreign workers in the US, most of whom are Indians, is the Donald Trump administration’s plan to revoke H-4 Employment Authorization Document, which allows family members of workers on H1-B visa to work in the US.

However, the decision has been delayed several times. Recently, the Trump administration has assured lawmakers and the American corporate sector that the public would get an opportunity to respond to its proposal of revoking work authorisation to H-4 spouse visas after they raised their concerns over the move.

What are H-4 visas?
H-4 visas are issued to the immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of H-1B foreign workers. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa through which many Indians workers are employed in US companies. It allows the US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

The lawsuit
A US court is to give its decision on a lawsuit filed by ‘Save Jobs USA’ which represents a group of US workers who claim that their jobs have been hit by this policy of the government which was promulgated during the previous Obama administration. The Trump administration had told a federal court in September that its decision to revoke work permits to H-4 visa users was expected within the next three months. The government urged the court to keep in abeyance its decision till then. This was for the third time that the government had informed the court about the delay in revocation.

If the government revokes H-4 visas, Indians, most of them women, will be the worst-hit. A large majority of H-4 visa holders is Indian. As of December 25, 2017, the US had approved 1,26,853 applications for employment authorisation for H-4 visa holders. These count all approvals since May 2015 when the rule was implemented. Ninety-three per cent of approved applications for H-4 employment authorisation were issued to individuals born in India, and five per cent were issued to individuals born in China. Individuals born in all other countries combined make up the remaining two per cent of approved applications.

Source: Economic Times