US changes visa rules to keep foreign talent

May 08, 2014 - 4:14:40 am

WASHINGTON: The US said yesterday it will soon start issuing work visas to the spouses of some foreign workers as part of a drive to retain highly skilled people.

The change will affect the spouses of people with H-1B visas, a limited-term working visa employees obtain when sponsored by their companies.

As it stands, their spouses only get a “dependent” H-4 visa which allows them to live in the US but not to work. 

When spouses cannot work, foreign families tend not to settle in the US, depriving it of workers highly skilled in science and technology.

Under the changes, the spouses of people with H-1B visas who have applied for permanent residency ‘green cards’ can also apply for permission to work.

“The proposals announced today will encourage highly skilled, specially trained individuals, to remain in the US,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “The proposals will also encourage them to continue to support US businesses and the growth of the US economy,” he added. AFP