In a recent court filing, the government seeks to revoke a rule allowing H-4 visa holders (spouses of H-1B holders) to work in the U.S. This highlights the administration’s unwavering hard stance against immigration. The overarching policy also affects legal immigration, which can hurt businesses that rely on professional workers and their employees from overseas.
What are the H-1B and H-4 visas? Why do they matter?
The H-1B visa is the primary method for hiring professional foreign employees to temporarily work in the U.S. It is an employer-sponsored process, intended for foreign workers in specialty occupations which normally require a bachelor’s degree. Tech companies rely heavily on H-1B visas to hire foreign talent. Corporate titans such as Amazon, Microsoft and IBM are among the top 20 employers of H-1B visa holders. (To learn more, visit: https://visa-pros.com/h-1b-work-visa/)
The H-4 visa is designated for spouses and children of H-1B visa workers. Traditionally, H-4 dependents may not work in the U.S., until the Obama administration approved a rule in 2015 allowing some H-4 holders to gain employment. There are almost 100,000 H-4 visa holders who are employed in the country at present.
The work authorization allows many immigrant households to enjoy the benefits of a dual income and to make investment such as purchasing real estate in Silicon Valley, where the median price tag for a home is just under $1 million in 2018. In essence, it helps pave the way for highly-skilled professionals to gain permanent residence, increasing the U.S.’s competitive edge on a global scale.
How do people respond to the government’s increasingly harsh immigration policy?
Prominent U.S. business leaders, including Apple’s Tim Cook, IBM’s Ginni Rometty and J.P. Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, wrote a letter last week to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen expressing concern over immigration policy, specifically a spike in denials of H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers. The administration’s new move to rescind work authorization for H-4 holders is another example of the paradigm shift against immigration. And it is one that can cause major personal and corporate disruptions with devastating impact on a significant number of families across the country.
If you or your loved ones hold H-1B and H-4 visas and wish to explore options to adjust your status for a more secure future, call our office today to schedule a consultation with our team of legal experts before the law changes even further.