More reform to the immigration system is on tap. This time not good news for the working spouses of many tech workers from India, who often hail from high quality technology schools based in Bangalore.
So now the spouses of existing visa holders in the US may eventually not be allowed to work, as they have been since 2015 when the rules were changed.
The Trump administration will propose revoking a rule that makes spouses of thousands of immigrant workers eligible to work while in the U.S., potentially complicating a major driver of technology jobs.
Since 2015, the spouses of H-1B, or high-skilled, visa holders waiting for green cards have been eligible to work in the U.S. on H-4 dependent visas, under a rule introduced by President Obama’s administration.
The tech sector is a major employer of H-1B visa holders, a category of visas for highly skilled jobs.
But in a statement Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security said it intends to do away with that rule.
Many knew when Trump won the election that this kind of immigration reform news would be forthcoming. Such as when Trump tightened the rules on H1B renewals.
The U.S. government is toughening up the process for renewing a popular foreign work visa.
This week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services advised its officers to “apply the same level of scrutiny” to extension requests for the H-1B visa, among other sought after visas.
In other words, officers are instructed to review requests for renewal as thoroughly as they would initial visa applications.
The H-1B is a common visa pathway for high-skilled foreigners to work at companies in the U.S. It’s valid for three years, and can be renewed for another three years. It’s a program that’s particularly near and dear to the tech community, with many talented engineers vying for one of the program’s 85,000 visas each year.
The directive rescinds the previous guidance, which gave “deference” to previously approved visas “as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination.”