Not many girls in Tech? Wait till Trump's latest work-ban on Spouses of H1 Visa holders takes effect

The topic of – or lack of – women in the hi-tech world is a topic of perennial discussion. The Trump administration's latest move to roll-back USCIS policy of issuing work-authorization to spouses of H1 is likely to hit women, many of them hi-tech workers themselves.

The current USCIS policy allows H-1B visa holders who have applied for lawful permanent residence (green card) to apply for a work-authorization for their spouse. Ref : Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses.

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The Department of Homeland Security, which announced the review of the rule, did not specify why. A brief memo from the agency just said that it was reviewing the rule in light of Mr Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” executive order.

While USCIS does not track or publish data on the sex of spouses benefiting from this policy, empirical data suggest that a vast majority of spouses of H1 Holders tends to be of the fairer sex. Media reports suggest that "Rescinding the authorization will disproportionately affect Indian nationals, who take up the bulk of H-1B visas and have one of the longest green card backlogs." (the Guardian)

Young, educated Indian women agree to marry H1 visa holders in the hopes of migrating to America, and eventually working there. Such H1 grooms are still prized, though the allure is certainly coming off thanks to Trump's policies.

Many spouses of H1 workers tend to be techies themselves and give up their jobs and careers to migrate and live with their spouses. The entry of such foreign born women into the American tech-workforce helped improve the statistics in the Silicon Valley and in other tech belts.

One is likely to see an immediate reversal in the statistics after Trump's H1 spouse-worker ban takes effect.


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