Homeland Security Pushes H-1B Spouse Work Ban

(The Mercury News/TNS) -

A planned employment ban for an estimated 100,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders has moved ahead with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sending the proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget.

The prohibition would affect the spouses of H-1B visa holders on track for green cards. University of Tennessee researchers have estimated that 93 percent of the about 100,000 spouses, who are in the U.S. on H-4 visas, are women from India.

The right to work for people on the H-4 visa was granted in 2015 under President Barack Obama. Scrapping it has been a priority for the Trump administration. Homeland Security has marked the proposed rule as “economically significant.”

“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,” the Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration said in a notice about the proposed rule.

Homeland Security last week sent its draft H-4 rule to the OMB, which will review it and return it to the department Homeland Security with or without recommended changes. The review could take days or weeks, said Doug Rand, co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company helping families with immigration, and a former White House official under Obama who helped implement the H-4 work authorization. After the review, Homeland Security will publish a draft rule in the Federal Register, triggering a public comment period.

Such periods typically last 30 to 60 days, but can extend to 180 days or more.