A federal judge in Washington D.C. has decided to keep the Obama-era policy of granting work permits to spouses of skilled H-1B workers effective. This offers relief to more than 90,000 workers holding H-4 dependent visas.
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Supporting the H-4 Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) rule, Washington DC district court judge Tanya Chutkan claimed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has significantly considered the outcomes of granting permission to work to the spouses of H-1B visa holders.
Moreover, Chutkan’s decision is believed to be a win for the tech industry in the US. This is because many companies and associations, including Cisco, IBM, Amazon, Accenture, SAP, and the US Chamber of Commerce, filed a petition in May 2021 to demand work rights for the spouses of H-1B workers.
Chutkan further added that DHS and other authorities permitted students, their spouses and dependents to seek employment.
The judge also reminded others that DHS has always given work authorization to spouses of foreign government officials and employees of multinational organizations.
Interestingly, a National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analysis shows that 90% of the spouses of H-1B workers are female, out of which 6% are Chinese while two-thirds are Indians.
According to the 2022 study by NFAP, allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders to seek employment can boost the country’s economic growth, reduce labour shortages, and attract more talented workers from different areas of the world.
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