Nearshore Americas
h1b visa spouses

H1B Visa: US Ban on Working Spouses May Cost 100,000 Jobs

The US government’s plan to ban spouses of H1B visa holders from working may put nearly 100,000 people out of a job, according to new research.

“Policy changes like the one being considered for America are often made in the absence of complete information that might help policy makers better understand the true breadth of likely consequences,” argues the researchers, according to a story by Bloomberg.

Professors Christopher J. L. Cunningham of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Pooja B. Vijayakumar from the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick based their research on the experiences of 416 Indian expatriate workers from a 2014 study.

The resulting findings argue that banning spouses from working will isolate them socially, raise domestic tensions, and strain the family’s financial resources, as well as potentially impacting US employers.

“[A reinstated ban will] likely will be more critical and difficult for expatriate families than what was experienced in 2014, as many of these individuals who were temporarily benefited by the previous presidential administration’s immigration policies may have, in this time, bought a home or started their own businesses,” says the report.

Large tech companies, including Google and Amazon, are supporting the argument that such a ban will hurt visa holders and their spouses, especially women.

Additionally, the cost of failed expatriate assignments ranges from US$250,000 to US$1 million, in addition to indirect costs, reports Bloomberg.

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While US work visas have been around since 1952, spouses of H1B visa holders were only permitted to work from 2015 when Barack Obama’s administration allowed it. The current administration thinks the visa program is leading to the loss of American jobs and has been devising strategies to tighten it.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.


  • GOOD NEWS! Its time we have a president that is for the American people. I am sick of these people coming into my country and taking our American jobs.

      • There was no land to be taken. It was ours to develop. If you are referring to the Indians, they were busy with their own petty wars, we had a great nation to create. Go back to yours and improve the lives of the 10s of millions of impoverished Indians you left behind.

    • Great point. The people who complain about the American families who have been here for generations, wouldn’t want to come here if we hadn’t built up the country in the 1st place. Their overpopulation problem is not our concern.

  • Obama truly messed up the system further, Instead of reforming the H01B system, he added another visa category H-4 EAD. First, the H-1B as everyone knows now is not used to bring the best and brightest, and added to this another 100000 visas to spouses. Obama useless rules (for Americans) essentially doubles the H-1B. 80% of H-1B and 95% of H-4 EAD is taken by one country! Isn’t it clear that it is no longer for best, but rather to flood the market and keep costs down??? American engineers get hammered.. Why cant we have H-1B or whatever to replace lawyers? We need great immigration lawyers from other countries.

  • H4 EAD Visas are being used fraudulently by wives to get jobs in the tech sector.

    How are they doing this? Exactly the way their husbands did. Faking resumes and getting jobs via consultancies.

    I am an Indian so I know exactly how this works. If these women were talented, as my friends, who came to the US with their husbands without jobs, but are not H1B Visa holders, there could get a job on their own.

    Mediocre Indians cheated the system, with fake university certificates, resumes etc., and flooded the markets with their terrible programming skills (if you can call it that), and now the talented engineers who should be leveraging their talent in a global, cosmopolitan setting, are being sent home.

    Shame on anyone who supports this fraudulent scheme.

  • Yes Rajesh from India with a PHD in Computer Science is taking a job from high school drop out Jim from Kentucky. Makes complete sense.