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H4 EAD ban proposal not new, been US Govt agenda for sometime: Experts

Immigration experts pointed out that the move is neither a new development nor new status update, as it was a part of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services' 2018 Spring Regulatory Agenda as well.

May 29, 2019 / 07:11 PM IST

Immigration experts feel it is too early to panic about the loss of jobs for H1-B spouses in the US under the proposed work ban, as the move is not new.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had announced the H4 Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) removal as a part of the Spring 2019 Regulatory Agenda, which outlines the government's priority.

But immigration experts' opinions on Redbus2US.com, a website that tracks immigration issues, pointed out that it is neither a new development nor new status update, as it was a part of the USCIS’s 2018 Spring Regulatory Agenda as well.

This only signifies that the issue is a priority for the government and nothing else, the expert said on the site.

What is H4 EAD?

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Spouses of the H1-B workers were unable to work in the US till 2015, which is when the Obama administration brought in a new rule that made it possible for the dependents to work under H4 EAD.

According to the current US government, the work ban is in a bid to reduce the number of American jobs being taken up by immigrants and has been a key agenda for the Trump administration since 2017.

However, a research report by immigration expert Emily Neumann states otherwise, claiming that H4 EAD workers contribute to the US economy and do not steal jobs as mentioned by the Trump government.

Given that the US has a large Indian diaspora, the move would affect thousands of skilled Indian spouses in the country.  As per reports, there are close to 85,000 H4 EAD Indian holders.

Though the process is far from over, it has raised uncertainty among the current on H4 EAD visa holders in the US. Take the case of Ramya P* for instance.

An engineer, Ramya moved to the US with her toddler after her husband got the opportunity to work there three years back. She got her H4 EAD recently and is currently working for a digital marketing company.

"My husband’s Green Card is stuck in the queue for the last 10 years. I just got an H4 EAD that is valid till 2021. We have given up all hope on renewal," she said. With so much confusion, she is unsure about it being extended.

"Unless my husband’s Green Card goes through I am not sure if we could stay here in the future," she lamented.

Another example is of Swetha M*, who used work as a marketing head for an MNC until she moved to the US after her marriage. While she was a homemaker for a couple of years, H4 EAD helped her get back on her.

With uncertainty looming, Swetha is unsure about how much longer she would be able to continue work.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 29, 2019 07:11 pm
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