Trump Administration to Withhold Visas from Spouses of High-Skilled Immigrants

The Trump Administration is no stranger to changing the way that immigration is handled in the United States. The administration showed that it intends to continue changing how immigration works in the nation by altering work permit policies during its earliest days. Now, it is proceeding with drafting a plan to stop giving work permits, known as H-4 visas, to spouses of highly skilled individuals working with an H-1B visa. If put into effect, this rule change has the potential to significantly harm the tech industry, with some estimates placing the number of workers affected at 100,000.

Who the Regulation Will Harm

During the Obama Administration, the H-4 visa granted residence to spouses and children of H-1B visa holders. The H-1B visa gives skilled workers residence in the United States so they can work in specialty jobs. Those with this visa are some of the most highly-skilled workers employed in the United States today. The H-4 visa gives spouses of H-1B visa holder the ability to work. Since immigrants can wait for years to receive a green card, having a visa that grants them the ability to work is crucial to their survival as a resident in the United States. President Trump vowed to rescind the permit program, but the administration has not yet done so.

When Will the H-4 Visa Be Rescinded?

So far, the Trump Administration has delayed rescinding the H-4 visa rule. Some experts believe that this postponement is because the administration is currently focused on another controversial rule change focused on immigrants who use public benefits. It is currently focusing on restricting the ability of those who use government benefits to receive a green card. As a result, the administration has not recently commented on H-4 visa holders. However, immigration advocates worry about what the visa's suspension may hurt. They say that a revocation of the H-4 visa will make life harder than it should be on families and will cause a negative impact on the American economy by forcing H-1B workers out of it. 

“If you have 100,000 people who are extremely well-educated, and on the path to getting green cards, and are either indirectly stimulating economic growth or directly creating jobs for native-born Americans by starting companies in this country, why would you pull out the rug from all these people?” said Doug Rand of Boundless, a startup designed to help immigrants navigate the legal system of the United States.

Some supporters of the Trump Administration’s plan to restrict the visas will protect jobs for native-born Americans. However,  Rand emphasized that only immigrants who have received approval for a green card are eligible for the work visa. This means that the United States government has already deemed that the immigrant worker is not taking a job that there is a qualified American for.

Amanda Baran is a veteran of the Department of Homeland Security who currently works for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. She emphasizes that 93 percent of all those who will be affected by the work permit’s removal are women.

“It undermines the agency and dignity of these spouses, and it harms their career prospects; it leaves them less empowered to leave abusive situations,” said Barren.

For answers about your H-1B or H-4 visa case, speak with our New Jersey immigration attorneys today. Call (800) 909-8129 or contact us online for a free consultation.