H4 work permits: US President Joe Biden has allowed dependents of H-1B visa holders to continue working in the country.
The measure had been brought in during the Barack Obama administration in 2015. The past Donald Trump’s government had proposed to revoke it as part of his anti-immigration policy. The latest move is expected to give relief to more than 100,000 Indian nationals who had moved to the United States along with their spouses for work.
The rule permits qualified spouses of H-1B visa holders to add to the US economy.
More than 90% of the 100,000-odd H-4 EAD holders are Indians, and more than 93% of them are women.
Advocacy groups had brought up that if the work approval had been rescinded. Then it would have prompted a few thousand individuals to move back to India.
“There have been various attempts over the last four years to rescind or overturn the regulations that grant work approval or EADs to people on H-4 visas,” said Poorvi Chothani, managing partner at an immigration law firm LawQuest.
The past government had introduced a regulation in 2019. ‘Eliminating H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization’. And that was removed on Tuesday, Chothani said.
Biden nixes Trump plan to kill H4 work permits
Serval of the spouses who are in the United States because their husbands are working on an H-1B visa are highly skilled professionals. Who might have had to give up their careers if this rule had been implemented.
“After four years of unnecessary anxiety for H-4 EAD holders, this is welcome information. The Biden government is moving quickly on reversing or pulling back immigration regulations implemented during the Trump presidency. It gives us all expectation that possibly we will have the option to see the change required in the immigration system. Even if it is done piecemeal,” said Nandini Nair, partner at law firm Greenspoon Marder.
In the financial year 2020, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services got 67,690 applications for H4-EAD. Of which 52,470 were approved and 2,538 were rejected.
Additionally, this includes renewals, although country-wise data is not available.
As of March 2019, Indian nationals had filed 110,649 out of 120, 514 applications for employment authorization.
There are, however, some clouds hanging over the H4-EAD program.
“There is still the danger of a negative court ruling in the Save Jobs USA case that is pending on this very issue,” Chothani said.
In 2019, a US Court of appeals denied the abolition of the H4-EAD and sent it back to a lower court for further assessment.
In view of the withdrawal of 25th January 2021. It is very likely that the court case will be decided in favor of the H-4 EADs or there would be a settlement with this impact. However, until the case is decided there is still some danger to the H-4 EAD program, she said.