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Trump-era rule for H4 visa holders repeals by US President Joe Biden

Washington: A week following his inauguration, US President Joe Biden has reversed a Trump-era law abolishing work support for H4 visa holders, who are wives of those holding H-1B work visas, with the majority staying highly-skilled Indian women. An H-4 visa is circulated by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to direct family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa owners, most of whom are Indian IT professionals. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits US companies to hire immigrant workers in specialty jobs that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to let tens of thousands of workers each year from countries like India and China.

The H4 visa is usually announced to those who have now begun the process of exploring employment-based legal permanent resident status in the US. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on Monday declared the intended rule titled, “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorisation,” was being revoked.

Wives of Indian specialists on H-1B visas, essentially women, are the largest recipient of the Obama-era law that provided work authorization cards. Shortly after reaching control, the Trump administration in 2017 declared that it would repeal that law. But, the Republican Party-led Trump government was not able to finish the process in the four years of its regime. Throughout the presidential election, the Biden campaign had vowed to remove the Trump administration”s movement.

Shortly after his success, a group of 60 members of the US House of Representatives in a letter prompted Biden, a Democrat, to “unilaterally extend” the termination job support documents for holders of H4 visas.”We respectfully request that the Department of Homeland Security published a Federal Register notice on day one of your administration that would extend the validity period of all expired H4 EADs (Employment Authorisation Document),” the members of Congress inscribed to Biden in a letter on December 16.

In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared a law granting specific H4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa owners to lawfully explore work in the US, the letter said. This law gave an essential action towards correcting gender differences in our immigration policy, as around 95 percent of H4 visa holders who have ensured work permissions are women. As of December 2017, USCIS had passed 1,26,853 applications for work authorization for H-4 visa holders. According to a 2018 statement by Congressional Research Service (CRS), 93 percent of confirmed applications for H-4 employment authorization were given to individuals born in India, and five percent were distributed to individuals born in China.

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