ALTANTA, Georgia. Trump’s new restrictions on H1-B visa holders and applicants could significantly impact families currently holding H1-B visas. Currently, it isn’t clear whether spouses of H1-B visa holders will be permitted to work under the changing laws. According to the Guardian, many of the workers who may be affected are women. As it stands, spouses of workers who hold an H1-B visa and who have applied for permanent residence can work under an H-4 visa.
Why was the H-4 visa put in place? H1-B visa holders are permitted to apply for permanent residence if they meet certain requirements. Green cards are issued based on country of origin, and some countries have more workers applying for status. Every year, there is a limit per country on the number of green cards that can be issued. Individuals from India or China, for instance, may face long waiting periods, while people from Europe or other countries with fewer immigrants may get their green cards sooner. For instance, a person of Indian descent can wait as long as ten years for a green card to be issued due to the immense backlog. The H-4 visa was designed to permit spouses of workers waiting long periods for a green card the right to work.
If the laws are changes, the group that will be hurt the most is likely to be women. Many of women who hold an H1-B are highly educated, holding master’s and graduate degrees. The H-4 employment authorization was designed to serve as an incentive to retain skilled talent in the U.S. The green card application process for H1-B visa holders can take a decade to complete in some cases. Granting work authorization to a spouse gives immigrant families a better chance to get ahead. Yet, the employment of these spouses hangs in the balance as a result of a lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA. The lawsuit claims that only Congress can authorize work and that the Obama-era law overreached.
Taking away the work authorization will affect many workers. In fact, many H-4 visa holders have gone on to start businesses and create jobs.
As it stands, H-4 visa holder’s rights remain in limbo. According to CNN, the Department of Homeland Security stated that it needs another 180 days to review the rules. Currently, workers who qualify can still apply for H-4 visas. However, it isn’t clear whether the visa will be valid after the 180 day review period.
If you are seeking a visa to work in the U.S., it may be wise to speak to the Atlanta, Georgia, work visa attorneys at Kuck Immigration Partners. Our firm can review your unique situation and determine whether there may be other avenues for immigration or work visa available. If you are considering applying to an H1-B, it may also be wise to speak to an immigration lawyer as well. Changes to the H1-B program may affect worker’s applications or the applications of employers seeking to hire H1-B workers.
If you have questions, our immigration law firm has answers. Visit www.immigration.net to learn more about what options you may have.