US ban on spouses' work visa may hurt H1-B holders: Research

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | Edited by : RAOUL ROSS D'SOUZA
Published Jul 2, 2018, 5:13 pm IST
Updated Jul 2, 2018, 5:13 pm IST
Rules for H-1B visas permitting foreign workers to work in US for many years are being stricken by Trump administration.
Groups from the tech industry representing Google and Amazon among others have repealed the idea, contending that mainly the women spouses, as well as visa holders will be hurt because of it. (Photo: File)
 Groups from the tech industry representing Google and Amazon among others have repealed the idea, contending that mainly the women spouses, as well as visa holders will be hurt because of it. (Photo: File)

Washington: A new research study indicates that President Trump's idea of imposing a work ban on spouses of high-skill visa holders may lead 100,000 people to become jobless which will, in turn, affect employers reports Bloomberg.

The regulations for H-1B visas permitting workers from abroad to take up employment opportunities in the US for many years are being stricken by the Donald Trump administration which seeks to rescind the working capacity of spouses. Christopher JL Cunningham of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Pooja B Vijayakumar from the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick are researching the consequences of this change in policy.

 

The duo inferred that revamping of the policy may socially detach spouses, increase household friction and impair the family's monetary resources. The risk of the visa holder clutching on to a foreign posting and damaging his/her contentment also emerges. Adding indirect costs, the price of unsuccessful migrant allotments ranges from USD 250,000 to USD 1 million, they concluded.  

"Policy changes like the one being considered for America are often made in the absence of complete information that might help policy makers better understand the true breadth of likely consequences," the study stated.

The Obama Administration started permitting spouses of H-1B visa holders to get employment in 2015. The researchers analysed the experiences of H-1B families in 2014 for the purpose of their research. They got in touch with 1,800 Indian emigrants to contribute to the research and the end result consisted of 416.

Dating back to 1952, the work visa programs were initially crafted to permit US enterprises to recruit foreign employees when qualified Americans weren't available to fit the positions. But the programs advanced with several claims that corporations mainly outsourcing from India were misusing the visas to gain cheap labour. When Trump became President, he promised to refurbish the programs and safeguard American workers.

With that, the Department of Homeland Security under the Trump administration started the task of altering the qualifications of H-1B spouses for employment in the US. Groups from the tech industry representing Google and Amazon among others have repealed the idea, contending that mainly the women spouses, as well as visa holders will be hurt because of it.

H-1B visa holders described innumerable issues when spouses found it unable to work. "Very unfair to her, so going back to India," one said to the researchers. "My wife is frustrated that she is unable to further her career," explained another.

Bloomberg quoted the researchers saying that a re-established ban probably "will be more critical and difficult for expatriate families than what was experienced in 2014, as many of these individuals who were temporarily benefited by the previous presidential administration's immigration policies may have, in this time, bought a home or started their own businesses."

Cunningham specializes in industrial, organisational and occupational health psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Vijayakumar is a researcher currently studying expatriation and cross-cultural management.

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