US to Grant 1,00,000 Work Permits to H1-B Visa Holders’ Spouses, Kids
A bipartisan agreement, supported by the White House, has been unveiled, offering significant relief to H-1B visa holders and their families.
This National Security Agreement addresses the needs of approximately 100,000 H-4 visa holders, who are spouses and children of specific H-1B visa holders, as well as around 250,000 children who “age out” while awaiting their parents’ green cards. Automatic work authorisation would be granted to them.
For Indian tech workers, this news is a welcome relief, as many have long awaited Green Cards, which are necessary for their spouses to work and for their children to avoid deportation risks.
US President Joe Biden has stressed the need for immigration system reform, emphasising national security enhancements, border security, and fair treatment while preserving legal immigration.
The agreement introduces measures to safeguard children who have resided in the US for an extended period while their parents hold H-1B visas.
Furthermore, it authorises an additional 18,000 employment-based green cards annually for the next five years, with country-specific restrictions, totaling 158,000 employment-based green cards annually over the same period.
Additionally, the legislation permits work for approximately 25,000 K-1, K-2, and K-3 visa holders and roughly 100,000 H-4 spouses and children of certain H-1B nonimmigrant visa holders who have submitted immigrant applications, eliminating the need to await approval before commencing work in the United States.
The White House is urging Congress to swiftly pass the bill because of the importance of H-1B visa holders and their families, as well as broader national security interests.
Furthermore, the bill includes significant funding of $48.43 billion to continue supporting Ukraine in its struggle against Russia.
US VISA FEE HIKE
The US has announced a substantial fee increase for various non-immigrant visas, including the H-1B, L-1, and EB-5 visas, effective from April 1, 2024.
The fee hike, the first since 2016, is expected to disproportionately impact Indian IT professionals, who are major beneficiaries of H-1B visas.
Notably, the fee for an H-1B visa application has risen from $460 to $780, while the registration fee has increased from $10 to $215.
The fee for L-1 visas, used for temporary employee transfers, has also surged from $460 to $1,385.
Additionally, the fee for the EB-5 visa, favoured by affluent investors, has climbed from $3,675 to $11,160.
While the US government justifies the fee hike as necessary to cover visa application processing costs, opposition argues that it could restrict skilled workers and investors from entering the US, potentially impacting the economy.