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Proposal submitted to end work visas for immigrant spouses

The federal government has finished writing a proposal aimed at ending the issuance of work visas for the spouses of specialized foreign workers.

The proposal, prepared by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (UCIS), would do away with spousal H-4 work permits. Their spouses have H-1B visas and are awaiting green cards.

Approximately 90,000 people in the country are working under H-4 permits, Bloomberg Law reported.

The proposal now is in the hands of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

"USCIS continues reviewing all employment-based visa programs," the UCIS spokeswoman said in a prepared statement. "No decision about the regulation concerning the employment eligibility of certain H-4 spouses is final until the rulemaking process is complete."

President Trump and Republicans on Capitol Hill have expressed support in reducing the number of foreign workers. In April, Trump signed an executive order, "Buy American, Hire American," to make it harder to obtain an H-1B visa.

The Trump administration stated its intention to eliminate the H-4 work permits two years ago.

Those in favor of work permits contend that encouraging skilled workers in some professions to come to the United States is good for the economy. Opponents counter that all that does is give American workers competition for available jobs.

These are different times in Louisiana and throughout the United States when it comes to all issues surrounding immigration. Things change rapidly, and new policies are being enacted. Holders of H-4 visas living in the United States should contact an experienced immigration law attorney with questions about how they could be affected by this proposal.

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