A group of 60 US officials has asked President-elect Joe Biden to revoke a Trump government policy and expand the legitimacy of work approval documents for H4 visa holders, who are spouses of those having H-1B visas, with the majority being highly-skilled Indian women.
An H-4 visa is given by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to close family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders, most of whom are Indian IT professionals.
It is normally given to the individuals who have already begun the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.
We respectfully request that the Department of Homeland Security publish a Federal Register notice on the very first moment of your government. That would expand the validity period of all expired H4 EADs. The individuals from the US House of Representatives wrote Biden in a letter on December 16.
Joe Biden, a Democrat, is planned to be inaugurated as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021.
In 2015… the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a rule permitting certain H4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders. To legally seek employment in the US, the letter said.
This rule presented an important step towards correcting gender disparities in our immigration system. As around 95 percent of H4 visa holders who have made sure about work approvals are women, it added.
Soon after coming to power, the Republican Trump government informed a US court that it plans to rescind such a rule.
H-1B Visa Holders Spouses
Before the rule was granted, numerous women on H4 visas described depression and isolation in moving to a new country. And not being permitted to work outside of the home. Unfortunately, these ladies are losing and will continue to lose their jobs until this is put right. Disrupting the lives of their families and the functioning of employers in our districts, the letter said.
Among signatories to the letter are Indian-American congressmen Dr. Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Pramila Jayapal. Other key signatories are congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman, Rashida Talib, Barbara Lee, and Judy Chu.
In the letter to Biden, the officials said that once an H-1B holder is sponsored for employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status (also called a Green Card). Their H-4 visa-holding spouse may apply for work approval.
These women on H-4 visas work in an assortment of fields like essential healthcare workers. Including in research and development roles at pharmaceutical companies; these ladies play tremendously important roles as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter said.
“We are sure that your incoming Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security will amend the systemic processing issues that have been created by the Trump Administration,” the officials composed.
As of December 2017, USCIS had endorsed 1,26,853 applications for employment authorization for H-4 visa holders. As per a 2018 report by Congressional Research Service (CRS), 93 percent of endorsed applications for H-4 work authorization were given to people born in India, and five percent were issued to people born in China.