Wednesday, September 18, 2013

H4 visa, a curse - by Rashi Bhatnagar

H4 visa, a curse - by Rashi Bhatnagar Writer hails from India.

She has been residing in the US legally for the last four years on H4 visa. She has a support group on Facebook ‘H4 visa, a curse’ which has members from all over the US and who come from countries all around the globe.

Come October every year, many companies open their gates for newly hired H1B workers, but no attention is given to their families in the US especially the spouses. Majority of them are women folk who follow their highly skilled husbands – doctors, engineers, researchers, scientists. Most of these women are young, well educated, English speaking, full of innovative ideas, ambitious but they are denied right to work, SSN and a long wait (10 – 20 years due to the current retrogression on the visa dates). They can be an asset to the US economy by establishing their own businesses, creating jobs, reducing out sourcing and filling up the demand of high skilled workers. It will give all of us a high purchasing power as well.

US is considered as a land of innovation and opportunities. In order to curb the shortage of high skilled workers in the US, H1B visas are granted to the citizens of other countries for the same. Though H4 visa holders can convert their dependent visas to H1B visas but it has become impossible these days. Five years back, Nikki T, a member of ‘H4 visa, a curse’ group on Facebook, used to work in India with a reputed US based company as a software professional. She got married to a person who was already working in US on H1B Visa. She arrived in US on a dependent visa. Her previous employer in India (US based) was based out of the same city in US where she arrived. She was excited to know that she falls under highly skilled force. In spite of getting lot of job offers from other companies, trying out for a job in the same company, she was disappointed to know that nobody is ready to sponsor a work visa for her. She didn’t lose hope. In spite of having Engineering and a Master’s degree in Management and ample work experience, she enrolled in a reputed state university for a Master’s program. After two years with a successful on job training she could not find an employer who could sponsor her H1B visa. It has only added an unnecessary debt, frustration and disappointment. Her co- workers back home are still working and growing with the same company.

H4 visa dependent kids who are brought as babies legally to the US are forced to go back to their origin countries after attaining 21 years of age because due to the long wait Green Card wait. At the same time passing of the DACA rule has given work permits to the eligible kids of illegal workers in the US.

This problem is not limited to women and kids. Many legal, dependent males are also getting affected by this as well.

Nikki’s husband supports her financially well, but not many of the H4 spouses get lucky with supportive spouses like Nikki. Due to financial dependence, no identity, little awareness, and no support, these women become victims of severe domestic violence and abuse. There is no specific information about H4 visa protection laws, conditions, and work permit problems on any official US immigration websites. Sometimes it becomes very easy for the masses to comment “You know about this visa before coming to the US”.

A person on L1 Visa comes to US and performs similar job duties as an H1B worker performs. But the dependents of L1 Visa holders are immediately eligible for a work permit (EAD), but not the dependents of H1B workers. This difference of treatment does not find any justification in any of the available rules and documents.

Though nobody can give back our lost time, aspirations and dreams, we hope that Immigration Reform will amend the age old laws so that the new aspirants will not suffer like many H4 visa dependents.

(Group member name has been changed due to privacy concern)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2013/09/h4-visa-a-curse-by-rashi-bhatnagar-.html

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Comments

Great article! Thanx for writing. I have been on H4 for over 4 years now. Its been a very frustratin ride to say the least. Like you mentioned spouses of L1 can work but not those of H4. This is unfair and beyond understanding.

Posted by: Karishma | Sep 18, 2013 5:28:37 PM

Nice article! touching the truth! I have been on H4B for 21 Months and got my H1B approved! But not everyone could get their H1Bs. Its really frustrating! US Govt is never at loss if they allow the skilled dependents to work in US!

Posted by: Dipen | Sep 18, 2013 6:25:23 PM

Good article ! Been on H4 for 6 months,living here in the hope of positive changes in immigration reforms

Posted by: nisha | Sep 18, 2013 6:56:16 PM

Been there! Almost felt like reading about myself! Sad situation, taking a toll on health, mind and personality in general.

Posted by: Richa | Sep 18, 2013 6:59:06 PM

Thanks for bringing attention on this issue!
I have been on H4 for over a year and that has been enough of a pain for me: I am leaving this country in a few months and bring my qualifications and my high-skilled husband to another country where I am allowed to contribute to economic growth and don't have to spend my life as a housewife.
But for those who will stay: Keep on fighting for this cause and keep on spreading the word on our situation, one day things will change!

Posted by: Iaia | Sep 18, 2013 7:37:42 PM

It's good to see such articles, highlighting the win-win situation that can be achieved by the immigration bill.

Posted by: Urvashi | Sep 18, 2013 9:12:40 PM

This is the Law which I feel is against the Human Rights . My wife (H4), she is MBA, good experience but she can't do job because US law says that she married to a person(H1) who is serving US thats why you can't do Job.

Posted by: Ajay Sharma | Sep 18, 2013 10:13:10 PM

Thanks for the write-up. Exactly portrays the ordeal of people on H4. Thanks Rashi Bhatnagar

Posted by: Chid | Sep 18, 2013 11:29:20 PM

I am sitting on H4 visa for the last 6 years. I am not being able to utilize my education, skills, intelligence at all. As a human being I am feeling paralyzed and useless. This is a frustrating feeling and a nightmare which I even don't want my worst enemy to suffer. This is eating into my confidence and also forcing me to forget my existence. So, this is a earnest request to the Government to consider my case and allow H4 visa holders to work and give us some air to breathe and live.

Posted by: Aparna Dasgupta | Sep 19, 2013 12:00:27 AM

Thanks for the great comments. If you would like to write about your H4 visa experiences, please let us know.

Posted by: KJ | Sep 19, 2013 5:07:00 AM

Thanks a lot for writing about us...When I left my career in software industry 4 years ago, I never expected it is going to be a full stop. After n number of unsuccessful attempts for an H-1 sponsor, now I am distracted from everything.....

Posted by: Anitha | Sep 19, 2013 7:29:30 AM

Really very nice article Rishi Bhatnagar .

Posted by: Lajja Patel | Sep 19, 2013 7:37:45 AM

I am a medical doctor from India. I also got my Masters degree from US. Since past 4 years, I have been restricted from being employed due to my H4 visa. This has not only halted my professional growth but also prevented us from investing further in this country. Very often, I get calls from companies who wish to consider me in the hiring process but my H4 visa ruins it all. Its so frustrating!

Posted by: Priyanka | Sep 19, 2013 11:39:19 AM

This is a nice article. I would like to add some points on 'employers not ready sponsoring H1B visa for H1 Spouses'. It is also a fact that employers are not able to do it. Any company requiring to hire a new person would like the new hire would like the new person in office within 15 days. If a company wants to start a new h1 for the person they need to start the process in March and then through a lottery system they get selected and only available to work in the following October. Which company would wait so long?

Posted by: Arun | Sep 19, 2013 12:06:44 PM

Thanks for all the great comments. If anyone is interested in following up with a guest blog post on this -- or any other immigration topic, please let us know.

Posted by: KJ | Sep 23, 2013 5:31:55 AM

Announcement - Please check our new blog H4 visa, a curse http://h4-visa-a-curse.blogspot.com/. Be a part of discussions and regular updates by liking our new Facebook page (not the group) https://www.facebook.com/H4visaacurse. Invite your friends to do the same. The blog will hopefully give you an insight about the H4 visa related provisions, laws, advocacy ideas and much more. The large traffic on our FB group has motivated me to start a new FB page which is more organized with advanced settings and features. Thanks a lot to all our members for supporting this cause. Thanks.

Posted by: Rashi B | Feb 17, 2014 7:14:02 PM

Please check our new blog H4 visa, a curse http://h4-visa-a-curse.blogspot.com Be a part of discussions and regular updates by liking our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/H4visaacurse. Invite your friends to do the same. The blog will hopefully give you an insight about the H4 visa related provisions, laws, advocacy ideas and much more. The large traffic on our FB group has motivated me to start a new FB page which is more organized with advanced settings and features. Thanks a lot to all our members for supporting this cause.

Posted by: Rashi B | Feb 19, 2014 11:41:07 AM

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