Indian flag

New Visa Changes Seem to Target Indian Workers

More than 70,000 H-1B visas holders could be in for a shock over the coming months. The Trump administration is working to end an Obama-era provision that had a significant impact on highly skilled Indian workers.

The Change

Under the current rule, an H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders. A large amount of H-1B visa holders are Indian workers and had to obtain work permits under a special order issued by the previous administration. New proposed changes will mean these dependents of H-1B visa holders might not be allowed to work in the US. The current administration wants to end the work permits given to spouses of H-1B visa holders.

Indian-Americans and recent Indian immigrants were a major beneficiary of this Obama era provision. More than 100,000 rely on this current rule issued in 2015. It’s important to note, for a spouse to obtain a work permit without the rule could take a decade or longer.

The Department of Homeland Security says the proposed changes are being done “to increase focus on truly obtaining the best and brightest foreign nationals.” They also say they want to “tighten the regulatory framework, making the H-1B visa route stricter for the skilled workers.”

The Reaction

Those in the Indian-American community and in India are calling the potential move restrictive and see it as an extension of President’s Trump’s stance of ‘Buy American, Hire American.’ Over 90% of those impact will be Indian workers. A top federal agency official has told lawmakers the move could “have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of Indians.”

When the rule was put into effect 3 years ago, the Obama administration said it was “meant to reduce ‘stress’ on the immigrants.” Grant Thornton India LLP says, “Such proposals are restrictive for potential immigrants skilled people. The visa restriction wave has been clearly there for some time now and this proposal further accentuates the restrictions.”

Trump signed an executive order to review the H-1B visa in April, fulfilling one of his main election promises.

To learn more about these changes, contact Newman & Shapiro today!