US plans to allow spouse of H1B visa holder to work in America

Written by PTI | Washington | Updated: Apr 8 2014, 21:35pm hrs
US VisaFrom the statement, it appears that spouses of H-1B visas are unlikely to get a blanket approval to work in the US. (Reuters)
Aimed at attracting the world's best and brightest, the US will soon come out with a series of policy initiatives and changes in the existing rules including allowing the spouses of H-1B visas to work in America.

In a statement, the White House said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon publish several proposed rules that will make the US more attractive to talented foreign entrepreneurs and other high-skill immigrants who will contribute substantially to the US economy, create jobs, and enhance American innovative competitiveness.

"These proposed regulations include rules authorizing employment for spouses of certain high-skill workers on H-1B visas, as well as enhancing opportunities for outstanding professors and researchers," it said in a statement.

"These measures build on continuing DHS efforts to streamline, eliminate inefficiency, and increase the transparency of the existing immigration system, such as by the launch of Entrepreneur Pathways, an online resource center that gives immigrant entrepreneurs an intuitive way to navigate opportunities to start and grow a business," it said.

From the statement, it appears that spouses of H-1B visas are unlikely to get a blanket approval to work in the US. Only certain category of spouses of H-1B visa holders - mainly from the science and tech category - are likely to get the nod.

The White House also said the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are launching a new collaboration to empower entrepreneurial scientists and address the critical gap between fundamental research and the development of a commercial entity.

The H-1B work visas for highly skilled professionals have been most beneficial from IT sector professionals from India.

As per the Congressional mandated cap, US Citizenship and Immigration Services can allocate a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2015 beginning October 1, 2014.

Academic researchers and entrepreneurs who receive Small Business Innovation Research funding from NIH will be eligible to pilot a new version of the NSF Innovation Corps programme that is specially tailored for biomedical technologies.

This intensive, mentor-driven experience is changing the way that NSF-funded researchers think about the commercialization process, the White House said.

NIH will also help scale up I-Corps by augmenting existing NIH-funded programs, such as the NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovation (NCAI), that focus on promising technologies developed by academic researchers.

"Faculty and students who participate in these new I-Corps programs will receive mentorship opportunities, entrepreneurial training, and modest funding to enable them to move their ideas from the lab to the market," it said.

The White House said fostering entrepreneurs and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems are vital elements of USAIDs newly launched US Global Development Lab (The Lab).

A new USAID Research and Innovation Fellowships Program will send more than 60 young US leaders in science and technology to universities, NGOs, and companies in 12 developing countries this year, it added.

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