US lawmakers, IT industry against ending work-permit to H-4 visa-holders
Influential lawmakers and representatives of the American IT industry, including Facebook, have opposed the Trump administration's proposed plan to withdraw work permits to H-4 visa holders, who are spouses of H-1B visa holders. "Rescinding this rule and removing tens of thousands of people from American workforce would be devastating to their families and would hurt our economy," Silicon Valley-based FWD.US said. Here's more.
It comes a day after the American media reported a letter from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services about its decision to terminate the Obama-era regulation that granted work permits to H-4 visa holders, a majority of whom are Indian professionals and are women.
"This policy is important because it allows certain individuals to secure gainful employment without having to wait for their spouses to receive permanent residency, many of whom are experiencing a processing backlog of more than a decade," FWD.US argued. Roughly 80% of H-4 visa holders are women and many had successful jobs and held advanced degrees in their native countries, it said.
Without the H-4 work authorization rule, the spouses of H-1B high-skilled employees would be unable to work legally and contribute financially to their households, as well as pay taxes on their wages, unless they had alternate immigration avenues for work authorization, FWD.US added. "H-4 work authorization has allowed an estimated 100,000 people to begin working and further integrate into their communities," the report said.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M Nielson, the lawmakers argued that Obama-era H-4 rule lessened the burden on thousands of H-1B recipients and their families while they transition from non-immigrants to lawful permanent residents by allowing their families to earn dual incomes.
Many entrepreneurs used their employment authorization document (EAD) to start businesses that now employ the US citizens. "Eliminating this benefit removes an important incentive for highly skilled immigrants to remain here to invest in and grow our economy to the benefit of all Americans," the letter signed by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi among others, said.
"H-4 rule is a matter of both economic competitiveness and maintaining family unity. United States has already invested in these workers with years of expertise...we should not be sending them abroad to innovate and use their experience and talents against US businesses," the letter said.