In what will be a major relief to Indians working in the US, the proposed ban on the H4 EAD (employment authorisation document) is unlikely to go through this year. The proposed rule banning spouses of H-1B workers from working in the US is not likely to materialize before 2020 as per a memo from the US Department of Justice.
This was in response to an ongoing case in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. The H 4 EAD was introduced in 2015 by then president Barack Obama, which let dependents of people who arein the US on an H-1B visa to work in the US.The Department of Homeland Security had first proposed doing away with this as early as 2017, but there have been several delays since. Earlier this year, it was expected that the ruling might come up for publication in a few months, but it still remains under federal review.
Indians, especially Indian women, in the US would be the primary group of people impacted by this move if it goes through. Since the H-4 work authorization policy was introduced in 2015, Indians, primarily female engineers have been the biggest beneficiaries, getting over 90% of the 1.2 lakh visas issued.
This is a part of President Donald Trump’s Buy American Hire American push, which has also resulted in a higher rate of H-1B visa denials in recent years. A study conducted by the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute warned that the ability of US companies to attract and retain high skilled workers would be impacted if the country revokes the H4 EAD visa.