- Posted January 29, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Naturalized citizens: Your thoughts on immigration reform
H4 visa, a curse
What is a H1B visa?
H1B visa is issued for the duration of 6 years and as soon as the company finds out that his H1 is getting expired, they file the Green Card. Also, due to retrogression of the dates their spouses have to wait a lot for their work permits.
Check out the Math –
6 years of H1 and GC wait for EB2 category is minimum 5-6 years. Total = 12 – 13 years
6 years of H1 and GC wait for EB3 category is minimum 8-15 years. Total = 14 – 18 years
This really takes off the peer years of H4 visa spouses. Even many of them re – invest in educational degrees and legal professional licenses in US but in return they get nothing. Many of friends mine have cracked Bar exams, MS degrees, US medical license exam, CPAs, engineers, teaching and nursing degrees etc. Being so educated none of them wanted to clean houses, cook, babysit , tutor illegally for cash. Many honest H1B families don't favor illegal conversion of H4 into H1B by showing fake resumes. Lot of IT job consultants are engaged in this illegal activity. ( You can plan a sting operation)
According to Washington Post's Megan Sweas "Of the 66,176 H-4 visas distributed in fiscal year 2010, more than half — 38,833 — were given to Indians, according to the U.S. State Department ". ( Don't want to present this as an Indian centric issue but only found this data to support H4 situation)
Legal, Pay taxes even pay social security
We legally enter in the US but on the name of identity H4s carry their passports. We are denied SSN. Although, we pay fair amount taxes, even social security amount gets deducted from my husband’s salary which we may or may not be used.
Is this our choice to come here? Why don’t we go back?
No culture in the world says that married couples have to stay apart unless they are separated or divorced. I have seen that many H1B guys move back to support their spouses but majority of them are sent back because they are highly skilled. Else, he is replaced by another H1B person and his spouse has to face the same sad H4 situation. So, it is a vicious circle.
H4 visa student problem
H4s are not allowed to get any kind of student loan so their spouses have to take expensive personal loans. In case a H4 gets a scholarship but can't use the money awarded. They are not even allowed to work besides their studies which other students do to support their expenses. They are allowed on job training but after a year if there will be a job matching their skill set, it will be denied due to H4 status.
Domestic violence and abuse
I came across many sad stories. H4 spouses are badly beaten and abused by their highly skilled husbands. Due to their financial dependence many of them don’t speak because still in our countries divorce is a big taboo. Also, if she goes back, it will be hard for her to get a job because lack of work experience. So, from both ends we are dead. Even we don’t have money to hire an attorney to look after the case.
In many cases, the H1B spouse threatens the abused H4 visa spouse to go back to her native country alone or give him a divorce(mutually without alimony) after that she can take the baby. According to the law, an American born kid can be taken by any parent out the states only after the consent other parent.
I think, there is no significant law for legal immigrant dependents in the US. Apart from that, many H4 spouses are suffering from mental, chronic depression, suicides, neurological problems even severe health problems.
No self- employment or business
Our hands are tied to the extent that we can’t even manage our own business. I think it will be a great way to boost US economy. We will pay more taxes, hire people and hamper illegal work.
Dumping of wealth
I have discussed this issue with other H1B families and all have told me that they have not invested a single dollar here. They buy gold, invest in shares, mutual funds, real estate back home. From here lot of them pay back their home loans and other debts. Now days, people are not filing Green Cards because it is long wait and they have a plan to go back home debt free.
Fair and Equal laws
Another working visa is L1 visa where the dependent is on L2. Only difference, L1 person cannot change the job in US and his spouse can work. Even they are allowed to file a GC. Look at their situation, L1 can’t change the company, his spouse can work and in the meantime their GC is filed. If it takes 5-6 years to get a GC then also they are in a better position. Work, use both spouses educational degrees, make money, dump in their countries, get a Green Card in US as well. Is it fair? What crime smart H4s have committed? Trust me I know many examples where H1B is the manger and his subordinate is a L1 visa holder. Both visa holders do same kind of work. Also, many fraud EB1C ( Green Card processing) filings.Click this link to understand http://www.petition2congress.com/6398/stop-eb1-c-abuse-fraudulent-filing/?m=1352593
Domestic violence happens but not is all the cases and I am totally against it. But, mentally we get so low. No motivation, low self – esteem, no self- confidence. Even I have started stammering. Back home, I was lifestyle journalist with a reputed International English magazine publishing group. How many hobbies to pursue? How many kids to produce? How many recipes to try? How much household chorus to do? Then the question arises, who we were? And, what we have become after coming here?
Trust me I have learnt some amazing things here. We are just asking to give us a chance to stand in the queue than leave it on our qualification, experience and destiny. Giving citizenship to 11 million un - documented people is a great initiative but what about legal and smart H4 visa holders and we are not 11 million. Many of us are women and nobody has never heard our voices. We are not their potential vote banks but America should not forget that the Silicon Valley is made by the sweat and blood of H1B workers and sacrificed dreams and aspirations of H4 visa holders.