The Trump administration is planning to deny work permits to spouses of H1-B visa holders in the US. A 2015 rule issued by the Obama administration allows work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed while H-1B visa holders seek permanent resident status, a process that can take a decade or longer.
H-4 visa is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India. They had obtained work permits under a special order issued by the previous Obama administration.
Last year in July, an ET report showed how the crisis in Indian IT industry was impacting marriage prospects of techies. Matrimonial advertisements reflected this change in preference. An ad placed by the parents of a prospective Tamil bride in a matrimonial column ended thus: “(Seeks) IAS/IPS, doctor, businessman. Software engineers kindly do not call.”,
The report quoted Gourav Rakshit, CEO of Shaadi.com, one of India’s biggest matrimonial websites, as saying that the percentage of women seeking IT professionals had slumped since the beginning of 2017. “We have also simultaneously seen that the number of women looking for life partners in the US has been declining rapidly, especially since November,” Rakshit said. “What’s interesting is that the two may be correlated given political developments in the US.”
A Mumbai-based matchmaker who specialises in the Tamil Brahmin community told ET last year that there had been a definite decline in interest in grooms who were software professionals.
With the Trump administration planning to deny work permits to spouses of H1-B visa holders, matrimonial interest in Indian IT engineers will further go down.
According to a recent study by the Migration Policy Institute, the US has issued work permits to more than 71,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders, more than 90 per cent of whom are Indians. Of these H-4 spouses with work authorisation as of early 2017, a total of 94 per cent were women, and the vast majority, 93 per cent, were from India.