H-4 Visa holders are able to work legally: DC Court

A Washington, DC district court judge ruled against Save Jobs USA, saying that the organization’s lawsuit, which attempts to curtail the Department of Homeland Security from giving work authorization to H-4 visa holders, was invalid, according to reports here.

In its lawsuit filed last year, Save Jobs USA claimed American workers would be forced to compete with 180,000 more applicants who are eligible to work under a new rule which came into effect in the Spring of 2015. Further, noted the organization, H-1B visas are allotted to those with specialized skills, whereas H-4 visa holders with work authorization can apply for any job.

But U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan found in her ruling that giving work authorization to certain H-4 visa holders did not unfairly impact the American work force.

Save Jobs USA announced Sept. 28 that it intended to appeal the ruling. H-4 visas are allotted to the spouses of H-1B – foreign skilled labor – visa holders.

Approximately 80 percent of H-4 visa holders are from South Asian countries, primarily India. Many have skill levels equivalent to their spouses, but until last May, H-4 visa holders were not allowed to work in the U.S. But USCIS issued a memo last May, which allowed certain H-4 visa holders – whose spouses had applied for green cards for permanent status in the U.S. – to apply for work authorization. More than 180,000 people – largely women – were eligible to apply.

Save Jobs USA was founded by a group of former information technology workers who had worked for Southern California Edison but were laid off in February 2015 and allegedly replaced by H-1B visa holders. The group claimed at the time that Edison was bringing in “cheap labor” from abroad.

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