Obama-Era Rule Upheld: H-4 Visa Holders, Mostly Indian, Can Work Says Judge
WASHINGTON, DC (IANS) – In an immigration-friendly move, a judge has ruled that spouses of highly-skilled H-1B visa holders in tech sector can now work in the US, thus upholding an Obama-era rule under which partners were issued H-4 visas.
US Judge for the District of Columbia, Tanya Chutkan on March 30 dismissed arguments by Save Jobs USA, who claimed that Congress never granted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authority to allow foreign nationals, like H-4 visa-holders, to work during their stay in the US.
“That contention runs headlong into the text of the (Immigration and Nationality Act), decades of executive-branch practice, and both explicit and implicit congressional ratification of that practice,” Chutkan wrote in her ruling.
She further said that the DHS has authorized employment not just for students, but also for their spouses and dependents.
The lawsuit was also opposed by big tech firms like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
H4 visas are issued to dependent spouses and children who accompany H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders to the US.
In 2021, Google filed a legal brief with over 40 companies to protect the work authorization program that allows the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the US.
As part of his anti-immigration policy, former President Donald Trump had proposed to end the issuing of work authorization (H-4 EAD) for certain spouses of high-skilled talent who came to the US on H-1B visas.
According to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis, 90 percent of the spouses of H-1B visa holders are female, two-thirds are from India, and 6 percent are from China.
“The US can reap significant economic benefits, ease labor shortages, and attract more workers in the global competition for talent if it expanded current rules on work eligibility for the spouses of H-1B visa holders,” the 2022 study by NFAP said.