Indians hold 93% H4 visas issued by US allowing spouse to work: Jaishankar

Topics S Jaishankar | US Visas

Dr S Jaishankar

Indians account for 93 per cent of the total number of visas issued under H4 category by the United States, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

The H4 category permits the spouse of an H-1B visa holder to work in the US.

Replying to a question raised by a Rajya Sabha member about US government move to prevent the spouses of H1B visa holder to get the visa, Jaishankar said that the Donald Trump administration has indicated that it "may review it sometime".

"Ability of spouses of H1B visa holders working in the US to work was introduced in 2015. This category of visa is covered in H4 visa. Indians today account for 93 per cent of a total number of visas issued in this category," said Jaishankar.

"There is a court order to the effect to continue the program. Trump (US President) Administration has indicated that it may review it sometime," he added.

H-4 employment authorisation document (EAD) is an Obama-era rule of 2015 that allowed job opportunities to qualified spouses of H-1B visa holders. The Trump administration has publicly said and also in its court filing that it wants to revoke work permits to H-4 visa holders. Early this month, a US court refused to strike down the H-4 EAD rule.

Meanwhile, when nominated member Swapan Dasgupta asked the External Affairs Minister about the government's position on the work visas, Jaishankar said that New Delhi is constantly in touch with Washington, to persuade them that tapping into "Indian pool talent" will be beneficial. He also noted that numbers of H1B visas have been going up in the last few years even though the rejection rate is coming down.

"We are constantly in touch with the American system, the American government and members of Congress to persuade them that tapping into the Indian talent pool is for our mutual benefits and in that, we have been successful in large measure... Actually, if you look at the number the numbers of H1B visas has been going up in the last few years even though the rejection rate is coming down," he said.

He also pointed out that the number of visas that Indian companies have applied for has come down and denial rate has also gone up.

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