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Spouses of H-1B visa holders could get adjustment of status

Skilled workers are welcomed into Texas and other states through specific visa programs -- but what about their spouses? All too often, these highly qualified individuals are left out of the immigration discourse, and their skills languish from disuse. Now, though, there may be additional employment opportunities for qualified spouses through a new adjustment of status program. President Obama is pushing a measure that would allow 100,000 spouses of foreigners in high-tech fields to pursue their own careers on U.S. soil.

Experts say that the proposed changes to national policy has been sparked by outcry from high-tech companies who say they are missing out on the world's top workers. In fact, the U.S. could be employing more highly skilled workers if immigration and green card eligibility provisions were changed. This may seem like a threat to citizens who are jobless, but advocates say that the proposed changes would provide an important injection into the economy. Further, the U.S. would remain competitive because of our ability to recruit skilled foreign workers.

It is, of course, critical to ensure that the pro-visa groups are not only seeking cheap labor in the form of foreign workers. Protections should be enacted to ensure that increased visa availability does not exist for the sole purpose of abusing those new employees. Instead, proper employment law should be followed if the immigration mandate is passed.

Reports show that spouses of H-1B visa holders would be able to find work if their spouse is currently in the process of applying for a green card. H-1B visas are generally granted to foreign workers who are highly skilled and trained in the STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Existing law allows their spouses to accompany them to the U.S., but those husbands and wives are not legally allowed to work.

Source: USA Today, "Obama to ease rules for foreign high-skilled workers" Alan Gomez, May. 06, 2014

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