Spouses, dependents of H-1B visa holders in India can fly back to the US

The development comes days after a group of 174 Indian nationals, including seven minors filed a lawsuit against the presidential proclamation.
Facing criticism over the suspension of work visas till December, the Trump administration has said that H1B visa holders' spouses and dependents, who are presently stranded in India will be given permission to travel back to the United States. 

The new development exempts them from the June 22 order that suspended non-immigrant visas over the ongoing economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. As per the directives, anyone on an H-1B, H4, J1 and H2A visa who did not hold a valid visa as of June 24 would not be allowed to travel to the country till December 31, Economic Times reported. 

Those who want to apply for the said visas can do so only when the US Embassy and consulates open in India. They have been closed since March following a government-imposed lockdown in view of the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to reports, not all H-1B visa holders will be allowed back. According to the list of exemptions issued by the State, only certain H and J visa applicants who are ‘traveling to work in support of a critical US foreign policy objective (such as Covid-19 response) and/or traveling at the request of the US government; will be exempt from this ban.

The development comes days after a group of 174 Indian nationals, including seven minors filed a lawsuit against the presidential proclamation on H-1B that would prevent them from entering the United States or a visa would not be issued to them. 

"The proclamation 10052's H-1B/H-4 visa ban hurts the United States' economy, separates families and defies the Congress. While the two former points render it unseemly, the latter point renders it unlawful," said the lawsuit filed by lawyer Wasden Banias on behalf of the 174 Indian nationals.

U.S. President Donald Trump displays an executive order on police reform during a signing ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S.

The lawsuit seeks an order declaring the presidential proclamation restriction on issuing new H-1B or H4 visas or admitting new H-1B or H-4 visa holders as unlawful. It also urges the court to compel the Department of State to issue decisions on pending requests for H-1B and H-4 visas.

"In the administration of our nation's immigration system, we must remain mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in the current extraordinary environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor," said the proclamation issued by Trump.

In his proclamation, Trump said the overall unemployment rate in the United States nearly quadrupled between February and May of 2020 -- producing some of the most extreme unemployment ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the May rate of 13.3 per cent reflects a marked decline from April, millions of Americans remain out of work.

The proclamation also extends till year-end his previous executive order that had banned issuance of new green cards of lawful permanent residency.

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