People who are living and working on a H-1B visa in Maryland may be facing additional restrictions regarding their family members. In 2015, the Obama administration introduced a rule that would allow spouses of H-1B visa holders to work if they were waiting for green cards. These spouses have H-4 dependent visas. However, the rule is facing a court challenge, and the Department of Justice has asked to be given until April 2 to consider the issue.
In the meantime, the pro-immigration group Immigration Voice has filed a motion against the lawsuit. It says that it believes that this was the only option to protect families in the country with H-1B visas and H-4 visas and points out that many of these families have children who are U.S. citizens. Its petition describes two immigrants who have started businesses with their H-4 visas that will mean more jobs for American workers. Without the ability to work, the immigrants will also face financial hardships since they have already made considerable investments in their businesses.
More than two-thirds of H-1B visa holders come from India. The uncertainty about the status of these workers in the U.S. has even affected matchmaking services in the country because spouses are reluctant to commit to people whose future appears to be in flux.
As this story demonstrates, immigration law is changing rapidly. This means that even individuals who have been admitted into the U.S. in the past under previous administrations may be vulnerable to having their right to live and work in the U.S. removed. Individuals who are concerned about their immigration status or that of family members, who are seeking asylum or citizenship, or who are facing deportation might want to talk to an attorney about their situation and current legal challenges.