In a welcome move for thousands of Indian techies working in the United States, the District Court of Columbia, on March 28, 2023, ruled that spouses of H1-B visa holders can work in the country.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to hire foreign professionals for employment. Spouses and minor dependents of H-1B visa-holders are granted H-4 visas allowing them to reside in the United States as well.
Save Jobs USA, an association representing Southern California Edison workers, challenged the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) rule allowing H-4 visa holders to apply for employment authorization. However, Judge Tanya Chutkan dismissed the order stating that the DHS' approval is ratified by the congress.
"That contention runs headlong into the text of the (Immigration and Nationality Act), decades of executive-branch practice, and both explicit and implicit congressional ratification of that practice," her ruling read.
"The fact that the federal government has had longstanding and open responsibility for authorising employment for similar visa classes further manifests Congress' approval of it exercising that authority," she further added.
Save Jobs USA argued that Defendant’s promulgation of the H-4 Rule was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the applicable act but the court noted that the petitioner failed to demonstrate that the H-4 Rule was arbitrary and capricious.
Tech industry giants such as Google and Amazon had come out against the lawsuit. Over 1,00,000 work permits have reportedly been issued to spouses of H-1B professionals. Certainly, many of them are Indians.