DHS tells court it needs additional six months.
The Department of Homeland Security, on Monday, has asked the DC Circuit Court for another 180 days to review an Obama-era rule that allows spouses of H-1B visa holders to get work authorization.
Until 2014, H4 visa holders — spouses and dependants of H-4 employees — were not allowed to work in the United States. After intense lobbying, the DHS announced that year that it allow certain types of H4 visa holders to work in the country. Beginning 2015, qualified H4 visa holders were issued the Employment Authorization Documents.
But the rule change was challenged in court by an anti-immigrant group called Save Jobs USA, which said the move would expand the labor pool and impact American jobs and wages.
The petition was dismissed by a district judge in May 2015, but the group, which mainly consists of American IT workers, appealed the verdict in the DC Circuit Court.
Earlier, at the beginning of President Trump’s tenure, the DHS had requested the court for 60 days to review the decision.
On April 3, the department sought an additional six months to enable the new administration to finish the review.
The DHS has told the court that it would update the court every 60 days, and if it finishes the review before the 180-day request period, it will inform the court of its decision.
Indian nationals are the biggest beneficiaries of H-1B visa program. Their spouses, a number of whom are highly skilled professionals themselves, had to go through a long ordeal before they were allowed to work. On an average, it takes more than a decade for a skilled worker to pass the green card process as the backlog is dauntingly huge. During the waiting time, the H-1B workers had to sustain their families on sole income. The spouses, on the other hand, were unable to use their skills for a number of years while they waited for the green cards.
“The Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses final rule (H-4), effective on May 26, 2015, seeks to support the goals of attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers and minimizing the disruption to U.S. businesses resulting from H-1B nonimmigrants who choose not to remain in the United States and pursue LPR [Legal Permanent Resident] status,” according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
During the campaign, President Trump had criticized the H-1B program and had vowed to end its abuses. A number of prominent administration officials, among them Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Senior Advisor Steve Bannon, are staunch critics of the visa program.
Several bills have been proposed in the last couple of months to curtail the scope of the H-1 visas.
On Monday, when the USCIS began receiving H-1B petitions for the 2018 fiscal year, the administration announced new measures to restrict H-1B abuses.
- H4 visa: a primer(updated March 9, 2017)
- H4 work authorization may be next on Trump’s hit list, says Sheela Murthy(March 9, 2017)
- H4 visa-holders’ work authorization is under review: report(February 7, 2017)
- H-1B visa exhibition at the Smithsonian: of goddess who gives visa, to women on H4 status in shackles(November 24, 2015)
- H4 visa holders start to get EAD work permits from USCIS(June 29, 2015)
- Save Jobs USA petition to not issue work permits to H4 visa holders dismissed(May 27, 2015)
- DHS starts to accept employment authorization applications from H4 visa holders(May 26, 2015)
- COLUMN: Save Jobs USA’s civil complaint against DHS to stop H4 visa holders from getting EAD cards is discriminatory(May 22, 2015)
- No work permits for H4 visa holders: lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA(April 27, 2015)
- H4 visa holders can start a business after getting EAD: Sheela Murthy(March 9, 2015)
- 458,177 H4 visas issued in 6 years between 2008-2013(February 26, 2015)
- COLUMN: EAD cards for H4 visa holders: USCIS needs to give it to all of them(February 24, 2015)
- EAD cards for H4 visa holders: green cards better solution, says IEEE-USA(February 24, 2015)
- H4 visa holders can apply for EAD cards beginning May 26, 2015(February 24, 2015)
- EAD cards to H4 visa holders: Immigration Voice lauds Barack ObamaFebruary 24, 2015
- H4 visa: a primer(December 9, 2014)
- Final rule on work permits for H4 visa holders by December 2014-January 2015(November 23, 2014)
- COLUMN: Obama’s speech has not made anything clear for immigrants waiting for Green Cards, H4 visa holders hoping for work permit(November 21, 2014)
- COLUMN: Agony for H4 visa holders, as Obama’s executive action delays work permits(November 21, 2014)
- COLUMN: As Republicans take control of the Senate, dream of H4 visa holders to get work permits, expedited Green Cards, is over(November 5, 2014)
- Work permits for H4 visa holders will end mental anguish for almost 100,000 spouses in the US(June 10, 2014)
- Indian women on H4 visas eager to get back to work(May 8, 2014)
- Many H4 visa holders will get work permits this year(May 7, 2014)
- DHS proposes to allow limited number of H4 visa holders work permits(April 8, 2014)
- For H4 visa holders from India, the X visa all-important(May 26, 2013)
- BLOG: The H4 visa conundrum(April 21, 2013)