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Huge relief for immigrants as Biden reverses Trump rule on H4 visas to immediate family members

US President Joe Biden withdrew a Trump-era rule work authorisation for H4 visa holders, who are spouses of those possessing H-1B work visas.

An H-4 visa is issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members i.e. spouses and children below the age or 21 of the H-1B visa holders,.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.




The H4 visa is normally issued to those who have already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status in the US.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on Monday said the proposed rule titled, “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorisation,” was being withdrawn.

Spouses of Indian professionals on H-1B visas, mostly women, are the biggest beneficiary of the Obama-era rule that gave employment authorisation cards.



Soon after coming to power, the Trump administration in 2017 announced that it would rescind that rule. However, the Republican Party-led Trump administration was not able to complete the process in the four year of its rule. During the presidential election, the Biden campaign had promised to withdraw the Trump administration’s move.

According to a 2018 report by Congressional Research Service (CRS) 93 per cent of approved applications for H-4 employment authorisation were issued to individuals born in India, and five per cent were issued to individuals born in China.