As the high-skilled Indian IT workers brace for tough legislation for H1B visa-holders at Donald Trump's regime in the US, revoking work authorisation for their spouses may impact availability talent there, say analysts.
Trump Administration has sought 60 days to respond to a court case that challenges the decision of the previous Obama Administration to authorise spouses of H1B holders, who are awaiting green card, to work in the US.
In a ruling in February, 2015, the Obama government allowed spouses of H1B visa-holders to take up jobs in the US on H4 visa as dependents.
"Save Jobs USA filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. After Save Jobs USA filed its initial brief last month, the Department of Justice surprisingly filed a document on February 1, 2017 entitled "Consent Motion to Hold Proceedings in Abeyance for 60 Days," reported News India Times, a weekly newspaper run by an Indian-American publishing group, on Tuesday.
This comes after a notice by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to stop premium H1B processing for as long as six months. While this decision is likely to impact the business of IT services firms due to delay in sending engineers for projects, the sector is already cautious on the Trump Administration's proposal to double the minimum wage for H1B visa-holders to $130,000.
"Looking at the initiatives taken by Trump administration, it seems there can be a strong case to repeal the work authorisation for H4 holders. Though it may not create a big impact for the IT companies, it will impact the availability of talent in the US. The idea behind introducing a rule to allow H4 holders by Obama was to create immediate talent pool," said Pareekh Jain of HfS Research India.
If work authorisation for the spouses of H1B visa-holders is withdrawn, Jain adds, it can also deter some of the IT workers to take up projects in the US since such offers are based on the choice of the employees.
Indian IT services firms like Infosys, TCS, Wipro and others depend largely on H1B visas to send their employees for delivering service to US businesses or solving their problems on projects.
Poorvi Chothani, managing partner at LawQuest, a global immigration and employment law firm, says the current administration may not continue the work authorisation for H4 holders.
"The earlier ruling was passed by Obama administration because workers on H1B had to wait a longer time for green card. Even though there is a legal case around it, I think the Trump Administration may come out very strongly against the work authorisation," said Chothani.