White House exploring an end to H-4 visa program for spouses of H-1B visa holders

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Updated Dec. 15, 2017 at 10:57 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A rule barring spouses of H-1B visa holders from seeking employment will be proposed in 2018, the Office of Management and Budget announced.

The plan, explained in an OMB notice, was not specific but said that "DHS [Department of Homeland Security] is publishing this notice of proposed rulemaking to amend that 2015 final rule. DHS is proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorization."

The notice added that the plan is an adjunct of Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" executive order. The H-1B visa is offered to foreign workers with specialized skills useful to U.S. employers. The H-4 visa is issued to spouses of H-1B holders. It was enacted in 2015, during the Obama Administration, to support the goal of retaining highly skilled foreign workers.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the H-4 rule "hurts American workers."

About 85,000 H-1B visas are available annually, and about 70 percent of those who receive one are from India. Over 41,000 H-4 work authorizations were approved in 2016.

"This announcement places into jeopardy thousands of hardworking, contributing individuals who have started their own businesses, and often have U.S. citizen children, who will needlessly be forced to revert to a status of inactivity," immigration attorney Leon Fresco told the {link:Wall Street Journal. : "https://www.wsj.com/articles/dhs-plans-to-end-work-eligibility-for-spouses-of-h-1b-holders-1513303242" target="_blank"}

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories