H1-B Worker Spouses: Liable to Lose Employment from Long Backlogs

H1-B Worker Spouses: Liable to Lose Employment from Long Backlogs

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The pandemic has brought along a multitude of problems. Having seriously crippled the immigration industry, many foreign workers are now struggling with uncertainty regarding their employment futures.

Foreigner workers in the US are one such group. With delays in processing, H1-B spouses are now unable to work in the United States. This comes down to prolonged times for renewing work authorizations, which normally require three months (currently extended to 10 months after the pandemic).

Beyond damaging the careers of many, the processing troubles are creating financial difficulties for affected families. There’s also a talent loss suffered by many organizations, especially those already dealing with an economic recession. Additionally, visa issuances to non-immigrants are being reduced, dropping from 201’s 8.7 million to 2020s 4 million.

Thus, beyond the delay in employment renewal, there’s greater competition to seize visa by those attempting to settle in the US.

Backlog History

Back in May 2016, the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) eased regulations, allowing spouses of immigrants to be employed in the US. Those regulations would be tightened again with Trump’s presidency, all while curtailing immigration through multiple executive actions.

During that time, immigration was seen as a threat to America’s labor market. With a large backlog already present, many immigrants were forced out of the workforce due to their paperwork’s expiration.

Currently, the US economy is meant for a labor shortage, having pushed away 700,000 temporary permanent immigration laborers and temporary visa holders to fill the gap (based on a Goldman Sachs research cited in NY Times). The firm indicates that around 300,000 of those may never return to the US again for work.

Trump’s presidency did come with a multitude of restrictions which have been eased during Biden’s tenure. Currently, Biden’s administration is allowing more foreign nationals to settle, while opening channels or legal immigration.

Also, past September, the State Department has indicated that its backlog contains around 500,000 people (compared to 2019s 61,000). This backlogging has caused H1-B spouses to be forced out of work, while struggling to return back home in a timely fashion.

Brighter Future for Migrants

The pandemic and Trump’s stance on immigration have made entry into the US difficult for workers (and their families). It has also made settling even more difficult.

Regardless, the US is restarting visa issuance throughout many countries in the world. This may be a sign of better days to come, with easier immigration paperwork and fast processing time.

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