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Changes may be ahead for spouses of H-1B visa holders

Some H-1B visa holders in Indiana may face an additional hurdle to remaining in the United States if a proposal that changes the status of their spouse changes. The H-1B visa is an employment visa granted to workers with specialized skills, many of whom are from China or India.

Spouses of H-1B visa holders are allowed to get work permits. This can be important to retaining talent in the U.S. since it allows a couple to have a dual income instead of having to live on a single income. Since 2015, nearly 91,000 work permits have been granted to spouses. However, members of a California-based organization, Save Jobs USA, say they lost their jobs to employees with H-1B visas. They filed a lawsuit in 2015 to block the spousal work permits, which is currently pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The proposal to put a stop to the visas was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget by the Department of Homeland Security. The office will review it and then either return it to the DHS or send it to the Federal Register for publication as a proposed rule. There will be a period of 30 to 90 days for the public to comment.

Immigration law is changing rapidly, and it can be confusing and complex. This may be particularly true for people who are in the middle of such stressful processes as seeking asylum, fighting deportation or simply trying to arrange for a permit to work or study in the U.S. The paperwork and documentation required might appear daunting. An attorney may be able to assist with these and other elements of immigration, including naturalization and family reunification.

Source: NBC News, “After long wait, U.S. moves forward with proposal to end work permits for spouses of H-1B visa holders,” Chris Fuchs, 2/23/2019