What is H-4 visa? Why are spouses of Indian H1-B visa holders worried?

• The Donald Trump administration is planning to withdraw work permits issued to H-4 visa holders, who are spouses of H1-B visa holders, a majority of whom are Indians and mostly women.

• If this legislation is terminated (started during Obama’s administration), approximately 71,000 H-4 visa holders stand the risk of losing their work permits.

• According to a recent study by the Migration Policy Institute, around 94 percent of H-4 visa holders are women and the vast majority (93 percent) are from India while 4 percent are from China.

=> What are H-4 Visa and H1-B visa?

• H-4 visa is a work permit issued to the spouses of H1-B visa holders. In 2015 Obama administration allowed work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed without waiting for their spouses to receive permanent resident status.

• The H1-B Visa, meanwhile, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis in speciality occupations such as Science and Information Technology.

=> Why India should care?

• Indian IT giants like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are among the major beneficiaries of this programme as they rely on it for bringing in tens of thousands of employees with special skills each year.

• Without the H-4 work authorization rule, the spouses of H1-B high-skilled employees would be unable to work legally and contribute financially to their households and communities etc.

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