US allows spouses of H1B visa holders apply for work permit from May

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The United States has announced that starting May 26, 2015, spouses of H1B visa holders will be allowed to apply for work permit in the country.

As per existing laws, spouses of H1B visa holders, a large majority of whom are Indians, do not qualify for work permit. But following this new announcement, it has been confirmed that from May 26 onwards, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting application or work visas.

To be eligible to secure a job in the country, an applicant must have his or her Form I-765 and Employment Authorization Card approved by the USCIC.

USCIC believes that the total number of individuals eligible to apply for employment authorization under the newly announced rule could go as high as 179,600. In the subsequent years, the figure is expected to stay somewhere around the 55,000 per annum mark. The move has been welcomed by the Indian American Community.

“This decision is going to directly affect many of our life members as they would now be able to join the professional workforce and chase the ‘American Dream’,” the Telugu Association of North America said in a statement.

“Many H4 dependent spouses have found themselves to be involuntary homemakers upon their arrival to the US, which not only impacts their family income and sustainability, but also diminishes their ability to expand upon professional skills,” the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) said in a statement, as reported by the Hindu.

“Today’s announcement is a welcomed first-step that will dramatically help some families in the U.S. but the success of H1B workers, their families and our nation’s economic growth is limited when only some H4 visa holders are eligible for work authorization,” it said.

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