Indian nationals make up 93% of the current H-4 visa holders with work authorizations in the United States, a report published in the recent days by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the US Congress shows.

According to this report, since May 2015 to December 2017, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services have approved 126,853 applications for employment authorization for H-4 visa holders. Among which, a staggering 93% are women and the rest are men. The report also highlights that one fifth of H-4 visa holders with work authorizations reside in California (28,033), whereas Texas and New Jersey account another 20% together.

When it comes to nationality, a total of 93 percent of H-4 visa holders with work authorization in the US are Indian nationals, while 3% are Chinese and the rest are individuals born in all other countries combined.

The H-4 visa is issued by the US. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members of the H-1B visa holders, which includes only the spouse and children under 21 years of age.

Before 2015, H-4 visa holders were not allowed to work, but the rules changed later and these internationals are permitted to work based on conditions specified by the H-4 EAD program. The H-4 EAD is only allowed if your spouse or parent is on an H-1B visa, and not for other types of visas such as H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3 visa.

These changes were undertaken during the Obama presidency, which administration argued that allowing H-4 spouses to work would support the US economy, taking as an example the H-1B nonimmigrant visa holders and their spouses as significant contributors to the entrepreneurship, research and development. Unlike H-1B, the H-4 status is not restricted to a specific employer and the employer does not need to obtain approval from the Department of Labour, and its holders are not prohibited from starting a business or hiring employees.

However, the Trump administration under the America First Policy has proposed the removal of work authorization for H-4 visa holders, which proposal would affect all people currently working under a H-4 visa.

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