US softens stand on work permits: Indian spouses welcome move

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Washington, Feb 25: The US government has decided to allow spouses of certain hi-tech foreign workers to apply for work permits. This attempt will make it convenient for families waiting in long lines to obtain green cards.

The regulation for spouses of H-1B visas, which was first proposed in 2014 and finalised as part of President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, will begin on May 26.

US softens stand on work permits

"The inability of those spouses until now to apply for employment, to seek and obtain employment, has imposed in many cases significant hardships on the families of H-1B visa holders," said Leon Rodriguez, director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Reuters reported.

The change could be applicable to more than 1,79,000 people in the next year and 55,000 in subsequent years, Rodriguez said,

The development has understandably been welcomed by the Indian spouses living in the US. Sowmya Ramanan, who lives in Kansas, told Oneindia: "Time for me to shift from my work visa to a dependant visa to take advantage of the rule. Will make life easier and make it easier to find jobs."

She also said: "Hopefully the other stuff that was part of the executive action for high-skilled workers will also take some shape and bring much needed relief."

Countries like Australia and Canada have made similar offers to spouses of temporary high-skilled workers in recent years, former chief counsel at USCIS Lynden Melmed said, according to the Reuters report. It out pressure on the US government to make similar efforts, he said.

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