Stories

Women would be hit hardest by ending H-4 work permits

Since 2015, more than 90,000 spouses of H-1B workers with pending green cards have acquired work authorization in the U.S. — a policy the Trump administration plans to end — and 93% of them are women.

Data: Citizenship and Immigration Services; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: Women will be disproportionately affected by the end of work authorization for certain H-4 visa holders — up to 84,935 of them could lose their jobs. Because there are fewer restrictions on the kind of employment H-4 workers can pursue than H-1B workers, these work visas have allowed for the promotion of women entrepreneurship and small business, Leon Fresco, and immigration lawyer who works with H-1B and H-4 holders, told Axios.

Due to the long wait for applicants from India to obtain a green card, ending H-4 work authorization would have the greatest impact on women from India, Stuart Anderson, Executive Director of the non-partisan think tank the National Foundation for American Policy told Axios.

QuoteForcing people who could be gainfully employed to sit at home seems cruel and unnecessary.
— Stuart Anderson

What's next: The Department of Homeland Security had planned to issue its proposal to end the H-4 work authorization for spouses of H-1B holders with pending green cards in February, but has postponed to June.