U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to ban spouses of high-skill visa holders from working will likely push 100,000 people out of jobs and negatively affect the visa holders and their employers, according to a new research study.
The Trump Administration has been tightening the rules for H-1B visas, which allow foreign workers to take jobs in the U.S. for several years, and plans to revoke the ability of spouses to work as part of the effort. In that context, 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 set out to study the implications of such a policy change.
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They found that such a shift would likely isolate spouses socially, raise domestic tensions and strain the family’s financial resources. It would also probably hurt the visa holder’s satisfaction and increase the risks that they continue in a foreign posting. The cost of failed expatriate assignments ranges from $250,000 to $1 million, in addition to indirect costs, they wrote.
“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,” the study said.
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The U.S. began allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in 2015, under the preceding Obama Administration. For their research, the authors studied the experiences of H-1B families in 2014. They contacted 1,800 Indian expatriate to participate in the research and the final sample consisted of 416.
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