Trump to revoke H-4 rule, Indian women in US to be worst hit

Washington: The Trump administration has reconfirmed its intent to rescind the H-4 visa rule on employment authorisation to certain spouses of H-1B visa holders, a proposal that could hit tens of thousands of Indian women in the US, reports said on Friday.

The Trump administration is currently reviewing the H-1B visa policy that it thinks is being misused by companies to replace American workers. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

The work visa is popular among Indian IT professionals. H-4 visas are issued to the spouses of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India.

“Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses From the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorisation,” said the Department of Homeland Security’s Unified Agenda in the federal register notification of its semi-annual regulatory agenda.

Meanwhile, according to reports, scores of Indian-Americans who have been waiting for years to get their Green Card met Congressman Paul Tonko in Albany, New York, to press for an early reform of the Green Card backlog and not to rescind H-4 rule on employment authorisation.

Some spouses of H-1B visa holders to be removed

  • The move will have a major impact on Indian women as they are the major beneficiary of the Obama-era rule. As per the notification published, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.
  • It was in February 2015 that it had published a final rule extending eligibility for employment authorisation to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. The federal register notification said that the notice of the proposed rule-making would be published in June itself.

‘USCIS will safeguard the immigration system’

  • However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) insisted that “No decision about H-4 visas is final until the rule-making process is completed.” The USCIS will alert the public when the Notice of Proposed Rule-making has been posted for public comment after a thorough review of the employment-based visa programmes.
  • Michael Bars, spokesperson of the USCIS, was quoted as saying, ‘An NPRM is posted for public comment and after comments have been considered the USCIS will post the final rule. The USCIS is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order.’
  • The USCIS is focused on safeguarding the integrity of our immigration system and ensuring its faithful execution so that the wages and working conditions of US workers are protected. USCIS is committed to reforming employment-based immigration programmes so they benefit the American people to the greatest extent possible,’ Bars added.

Trump’s loss is Canada’s gain

200% rise in Indian invitees for permanent residency

  • Data released by Canada’s coveted point based immigration programme, Express Entry Year-end Report 2017, shows a sudden spike in Indian immigrants to Canada, reports said on Friday.
  • Latest figures are more than double of the previous year’s figure; indicating a staggering increase of 200% plus Indian invitees to Canada. India is followed by China, while Nigeria holds the third place among countries that received the highest number of offers for Canadian residency.
  • This comes as US President Donald Trump directs the USCIS to tighten immigration laws following this ‘Buy American, Hire American’ order, dashing the hopes of many applicants for a US green card.