Relief for spouses of H-1B holders as US keeps curbs on hold
Relief for spouses of H-1B holders as US keeps curbs on hold

 Washington: The Trump administration has delayed its decision on termination of work authorisation for spouses of the H1B visa holders, in a big relief to a significantly large number of Indian workers and their families.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a court submission this week said that it would not take a decision on terminating the work authorisation of H4 visa users, spouses of H1B visa holders, till June as it needs time to review the economic impact of such a decision.

Since 2015, the spouses of H1B, or high-skilled, visa holders waiting for green cards have been eligible to work in the US on H-4 dependent visas, under a rule introduced by the previous Obama administration.

"Consistent with the government's prior representations, DHS was working to issue an NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) in February 2018.  "However, in January 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the component of DHS responsible for oversight of the H-4 visa programme at issue in this litigation, re-evaluated the rule and determined that significant revisions to the draft proposal were necessary,” DHS said in its fresh court submission. It said the revisions required a new economic analysis which required additional several weeks to perform.

"The changes to the rule and the revised economic analysis require revisions to the projected time-line for the NPRMs publication, and therefore cannot be issued in February,” it said. "Under the revised timeline, DHS anticipates submitting to the office of management and budget for review and clearance the proposed rule in time for publication in June 2018," it said.

The extension of the decision-making process by four months comes as a temporary relief to the spouses of H1B visas holders, a significantly large number of whom are Indian workers.

The H1B programme attracts foreign specialised workers to come to the United States for employment, many of them from India and China. "We are very hopeful. We want to believe that DHS is re-looking at this because of our efforts,” Jansi Kumar, co-founder of the group Save H-4 EADs, told India-West, a local ethnic Indian newspaper from California.