US courts hands Save Jobs USA win in H-1 B spouse work case

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All not lost for tens of thousands of mostly Indian spouses allowed to work.

In a long-awaited judgement the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit ruled on Nov. 8 in favor of Save Jobs USA that an Obama era regulation giving work permits (H-4 EAD) to spouses of H-1B visa holders increases job competition for U.S.-born tech workers.

But all is not lost for tens of thousands of largely Indian spouses who have been allowed to work in the U.S. since 2015 as the appeals court has sent the case back to the lower district court to decide the merits of the case challenging the regulation.

The court judgment means a victory for Save Jobs USA formed by a group,of tech workers in California as it was able to establish that the H-4 work permit does pose a potential for competition and injury to its members.

ALSO READ: Work permits of H4 visa holders safe at least until January 2020 (September 17, 2019)

According to court documents, Save Jobs USA were able to provide proof in the form of affidavits giving instances of two of its members who were replaced by H-1B workers. However, that does not give any proof of harm done directly by H4 visa holders with a valid work permit to work in the US, it noted.

The original lawsuit was filed before the EAD rule went into effect and the affidavits establish that H4 EAD rule would increase completion.

But H4 work permit holders need not lose heart as yet as according to immigration lawyers, the case stands where it began as the District court would now be looking at the case in detail and this may take some time.

“The three US individuals who sued got the right to restore their lawsuit back to step 1,” explains Bethesda, Maryland based immigration lawyer, Leon Fresco. “But the court is making them start over and declined to say whether H-4EAD is legal.”

“The program essentially remains in place,” he says. For now, those who are eligible can still file for a H4-EAD or work permit and those who wish to get it renewed can also continue doing so. Until we hear the next steps, nothing changes on the H-4EAD front, Fresco says.

(This post has been updated.)


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