IT Reshoring News

March 06, 2019

White House Ending Work Permit Program for H-1B Spouses

The Trump Administration has moved forward with eliminating the program allowing spouses of H-1B foreign workers to work here on H-4 visas...and displace thousands of American workers.

The Trump Administration has moved a step closer to eliminating a work permit that allows spouses of foreign workers to take jobs from Americans.

White House Poised to End Work Permits for H-1B Spouses (2) – Bloomberg Law

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) submitted Rule 1615-AC15 to the Office of Management and Budget on February 20. The regulation seeks elimination of the H-4 Employment Authorization program, commonly called "H4EAD."

H4EAD allows the spouses of foreign workers here on H-1B visas to work in the U.S. Said spouses receive an H-4 visa to live in the U.S. Most H-4 holders are women from India.

Naturally, social media erupted with protests. The same debunked arguments flew around – "This will hurt the economy!" (No, it won't.) "We need their skills!" (Not really.)

The program began in 2015 under President Obama. It has granted between 90,000 to 100,000 work permits to H-4 holders since then. Close to 100,000 jobs that Americans could have taken, from general labor to highly-skilled technical work.

It's important to note that this proposal would end the spousal work permit authorizations, NOT the H-4 residency program. Pundits sometimes conflate the two, likely to drum up sympathy. It also does not mean the spouses here on H-4s can never work in the U.S. It only means they would need to wait for a green card.

If H4EAD ends, it means businesses would need up to 100,000 workers to fill the openings. Where will they get those workers? From the Americans right outside their doors!

The proposal even cites this result:

"Some U.S. workers would benefit from this proposed rule by having a better chance at obtaining jobs that some of the population of the H-4 workers currently hold, as the proposed rule would no longer allow H-4 workers to enter the labor market early."

This is part of the plan set forth in President Trump's “Buy American, Hire American” executive order. An excellent step forward for American IT workers!


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