In a big relief to foreign workers in the US technology sector, a judge ruled that spouses of H-1B visa holders can now work in the United States.
The decision was made as US District Judge Tanya Chutkan dismissed a lawsuit filed by Save Jobs USA, which had approached the court to revoke the Obama-era regulation that gave employment authorisation cards to spouses of certain categories of H-1B visa holders.
In her order, Judge Chutkan stated that the primary contention of Save Jobs USA was that Congress had not granted the Department of Homeland Security authority to allow foreign nationals, like H-4 visa-holders, to work during their stay in the United States, according to a report by PTI.
But that contention 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, she wrote.
The judge wrote that Congress has expressly and knowingly empowered the US government to authorise employment as a permissible condition of an H-4 spouse’s stay in the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security and its predecessors have authorised employment not just for students, but also for their spouses and dependents, Judge Chutkan wrote in the ruling.