US Court retains H-1B visa rule giving work permit to spouses

Photograph of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo.

In a temporary relief to thousands of Indians living in America, a US court has refused to strike down an Obama-era rule that allowed spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in America.

A three-judge bench of the US Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sent the case back to a lower court on Friday. The bench noted that it is best to remand to give the district court an opportunity to thoroughly assess and finally determine the merits in the first instance.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations. A 2015 rule issued by US President Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama allowed work permits for certain categories of H-4 visa holders, primarily spouses of those having H-1B work visas waiting for their Green Card, to work in the US.

Indians, in particular women, were the greatest beneficiary of this rule, which has been challenged by several US workers with the current Trump administration saying that it wants to rescind the rule.

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