U.S. Says Will Take Public Opinion On H-4 Visa Revocation ProposalImmigration

November 09, 2018 12:35
U.S. Says Will Take Public Opinion On H-4 Visa Revocation Proposal

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The Trump administration has made it certain to lawmakers and the American corporate sector that the people would get a chance to respond to its proposal of revoking work authorization to H-4 spouse visas after they raised their concerns over the decision, which will affect scores of Indians.

The H-4 visa, issued to the spouses of H-1B foreign workers is a non-immigrant visa through which many Indians workers are employed in the United States firms. It lets the U.S. companies hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that need technical or theoretical skillfulness. It is the most sought-after visa among Indian IT (Information Technology) professionals. H-4 visas are issued solely to very close or immediate family members of the H-1B visa holders. It includes the employee's married person and children less than 21 years of age.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had said that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will appear with a new proposal by January 2019 under which it is mulling to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of foreign nations eligible for employment authorization.

The new rules could impact up to 70,000 H-4 Visa holders who have work permits.

The USCIS has recently written a near identical letter to top U.S. lawmakers and leaders of the corporate sector who had raised concern over the Trump administration's proposal to revoke the H-4 visas.

"The public will be given an opportunity to provide feedback during a notice and comment period on any proposed revisions to regulations providing employment authorization to certain H-4 non-immigrants," L Francis Cissna, USCIS director, wrote to senators Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand in a letter dated October 16, which was posted on the organization's website this month.

The two lawmakers had urged not to renege work authorization to H-4 visas. However, the letter makes no commitment on the fate of the decision to revoke the work authorization to H-4 visas, except for saying that the DHS is committed to safeguarding the integrity of the immigration system and protecting the wages and job opportunities for U.S. workers.

In a letter dated September 26 and addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson, Harris and Gillibrand had said the administration's proposal to revoke the employment authorization of certain H-4 dependent spouses of non-immigrant H-1B workers would permanently force about 1,00,000 predominantly high-skilled women to leave their professional careers. "This will harm the wellbeing of these women and their families and have negative consequences for American communities where they live and work," they had said.

In another letter dated July 23 and addressed to the DHS, as many as 34 U.S. legislators had expressed concern that revoking work authorization to H-4 visas would "create significant uncertainty and financial hardship for many highly skilled professionals who are vital to U.S. economy".

A group of top corporate leaders had expressed similar concerns to the DHS in a letter dated August 22. The H-4 spouses are "often highly skilled" and have built careers and lives around their ability to "contribute to companies here", they said. "Other countries allow these valuable professionals to work, so revoking their U.S. work authorization will likely cause high-skilled immigrants to take their skills to competitors outside the U.S.," stated the letter, which among others was signed by Chuck Robbins, Chief Executive Officer of Cisco Systems; Roger K Newport from AK Steel Corporation; Doug Parker of American Airlines and Stephen Squeri of American Express.

The USCIS director also sent them similar responses as given to the lawmakers.

By Sowmya

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