Spouses of H-1B visa holders can work, rules judge

Washington: US District Judge Tanya Chutkan has ruled that spouses of H-1B visa holders can work in the country. The ruling comes as a big relief to foreign workers in the American tech sector who have been struggling to make ends meet.

Judge Chutkan dismissed a lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA which had approached the court to dismiss the Obama-era regulation that gave employment authorization cards to spouses of certain categories of H-1B visa holders.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

Save Jobs USA is an organization comprising IT workers who claim they lost their jobs to H-1B workers.

In her order, Judge Chutkan said the primary contention of Save Jobs USA 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.

The judge wrote that Congress has expressly and knowingly empowered the US government to authorize employment as a permissible condition of an H-4 spouse’s stay in the United States.

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