A bipartisan group of 130 US lawmakers led by influential Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal urged the Trump administration to continue granting work authorisation to certain dependent spouses of non-immigrant workers holding H-1B visas, the most sought-after among Indian IT professionals.
The letter by US lawmakers to the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen comes weeks ahead of the Trump administration’s formal move to rescind the rule granting these spouses work authorisation in June.
“The opportunity for H-4 visa holders to work has made our economy stronger while providing relief and economic support to thousands of spouses, mostly women, who have resided in the United States for years,” the letter said.
“Many are on the path to permanent residency and would already be permanent residents if not for the decades-long employment backlogs. Rescinding the rule will hurt the competitiveness of US employers and the US economy, as well as H-4 accompanying spouses and their families. We strongly urge you to reconsider this action,” said the lawmakers.
“We write to urge you to maintain the current regulation granting work authorisation to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrant workers,” the letter said.
“A second income can help provide for children’s basic needs and offer such children, many of them American-born citizens or future US citizens, increased opportunities for success. This additional income also contributes to our economy by raising the families’ disposable and taxable income,” the lawmakers said.
“It is an American value that everyone, regardless of gender, deserves to be able to use and enhance their skills, be financially self-sufficient, thrive mentally and physically, and pursue their dreams,” they said, adding that the majority of H-4 spouses are women, and their inability to work widens an already existing gender inequality gap.
“While our immigration system certainly needs reforms—including fixes to the employment and family backlogs that keep H-4 spouses from transitioning to permanent residency—depriving spouses who live in the US for decades of work authorisation is not the way forward. We urge you to maintain the rule allowing certain H-4 spouses work authorisation,” the lawmakers wrote.