Visa Crunch

Massive relief for H-1B employees’ families, Biden dismisses Trump intends to terminate H4 work permits

“Withdrawn” On the seventh day of the Biden presidency, a single word on a dense bureaucratic file delivered a massive victory for spouses of H-1B visa employees in the United States that spent the last four years deeply concerned about their work permits.

The new move brings to an end the Donald Trump administration’s years of effort to revoke an Obama presidency regulation that allowed some subset of H-1B visa holders’ spouses to operate in the United States. H4 visa holders were unable to lawfully keep paying positions in the US until the summer of 2015. The litigation followed quite as soon as Obama changed the game, and then the Trump administration brought the H4 work permit attack to a whole new dimension.

The endless stream of relief was carried out online on Tuesday evening with texts, emails, chat channels, and online forums. Great news! Ideally, H4EAD delays will eventually stop.

Sharmistha Mohapatra wrote, “Big win for H4 EAD holders today. Former Pres Trump’s EO to rescind H4 EAD is now withdrawn by POTUS. Let’s hope excruciating long wait times often resulting in job loss is taken away too!”

The proposed regulation was released seven times for continuing scrutiny from the time the H4 work permit (called the EAD) started in Fall 2017, leaving the H4 culture on a cliff-edge. The policy was explained by the Trump administration saying “economically significant.” Which coincided with the executive order of “Buy American and Hire American” said to drive migrant jobs out of the US and fly red meat to the Trump base. Now, the backlink to Trump’s executive order ends as a 404 (page not found) error and re-routes to Biden’s White House.

‘Removing H-4 Dependent Partners from the Class of Aliens Qualifying for Work Authorization’ was a Trumpian policy followed with extreme passion and inter-agency coordination by White House immigration hawks. The Office of Strategy and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Technology and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), where it had been parked for months, were inspected. Since Trump took office, the burden on the H4 culture has never really eased up.

On the same day as Biden signed an executive order asking for the practice of social equality in the United States, the decision to revoke the draft law on the suspension of the H4 work permit was taken. US government statistics show that Indian and Chinese staff pay for the lion’s share of H-1B visas. Usually, H4 visas follow the same trajectory. In the fiscal year 2019, Indians submitted 74 percent of all H-1B petitions. 11.8 percent were filed in Chinese.

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