Families of H-1B visa holders may suffer with no spouse visa in US

New Delhi: Thousand of families living in the United States may suffer after the Donald Trump government would end H-4 EAD (Employment Authorisation Document) visa, issued to spouses with H-1B visas.

An Indian mechanical engineer turned software tester in New Jersey, Krithika Rajan who is in the queue for a green card, is worried about losing her job after the US revokes her work permit. “We need two incomes to support our family. We have a house mortgage and two car loans to pay back and are expecting our second child. This new rule could throw much of our financial planning out of whack,” said Rajan.

More than 1.8 million people have migrated to the US on H-1B visas. Since the 2015 permit allowed spouses to work, more than 100,000 people have got jobs.

Poorvi Chothani, the managing partner at immigration law firm LawQuest, said the Trump administration is trying to change every regulation it can, without reaching out to Congress. “This will not have a direct impact on the IT companies but it will have a very negative impact on the H-1B workers,” she said.

Chothani said the most affected are those, who are queued up and got their green card application approved. “If they are forced to relocate to India since the wife cannot work anymore, they are basically chucking a Green Card and a life in the US,” she said.

Sushma, who is a software engineer moved to the US on an H-1B visa in 2016; His husband, Venkat then moved on an H4 visa. “We are back to square one and Venkat has to sit at home adding to our insecurity and confusion over his future and career. We recently had a baby and our expenses have gone up, adding to our financial insecurity,” said Sushma.

As many as 70,000 H-4 who have work permits may have to suffer after the Trump administration revokes the special permission granted to the spouses in Obama era.