Work Permits for H4 visa holders : Unlock their hidden potential Part 2


There was an outpour of emotions and responses to this post. So much so, that the forum became very bulky and people emailed us that they were unable to share their experiences. We are still trying to fix the problem. In the meantime, here is another post. The contents are the same as the first post but I hope you are all able to share your responses here.

Please write 'YES I DO!' below if you agree with my post. Other comments are also welcome!


This post has been in my 'drafts' section for a long time now. Hearing President Obama's talk in Facebook Town Hall today motivated me to finish the post and hit 'Publish'. To be clear I am not an engineer. I use technologies but I do not build them. I also do not want the H1B visa but I hope the immigration reform can better suit the needs of highly skilled technology workers and their spouses...:-)

Mr. President, how do we get out of the current economic crisis? You talk
about contribution. You talk about partnering in crisis but you are
leaving behind a large chunk of the skilled labor force that you may not
even be aware of. By allowing the H4 visa holders to contribute to the
economy, especially in the sectors of science, math, technology, and
education, you can definitely break the lock down that is happening
right now in the tiny households of H1 visa holders and in offices that
are not able to find the right talent.


America needs talent: American needs more engineers

America needs talent, especially in the fields of science and technology. Today President Obama said that he felt great to be in Silicone Valley but he was also frustrated to know that there were not enough engineers! Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg told him that he was not finding the right people for the right jobs! This is not a small statement and cannot be ignored.

Where are all the engineers? Are schools producing less engineers than required? Why is there an imbalance in the demand and supply of highly skilled engineers? Moving forward-how can this problem be solved?

This problem can be solved by educating children and encouraging them to study science, math, and technology. But that is a long term solution. How can the problem be solved NOW? I have a very simple  short term solution:

Allow H4 visa holders to work.

Give this a push. There are several hundred super talented engineers just waiting in the shadows. I will give you some approximate numbers.

There are about 65,000 H1 visas issued everywhere. Even if 50% of these applicants are married, about 32,500 people on H4 visas. Add to this number the H4 visas issued in the previous years. As the validity
of the H4 visa is directly linked to the extensions granted to the H1 visa holder, a person may live in the U.S. for 1-6 years on the H4 visa. It is safe to assume that at any given point of time approximately
100,000 people are stuck on the H4 visa. In my opinion, they are just wasting their time and money in the U.S. assuming that

  • they want to work and cannot find a job whist on the H4 visa, and,
  • they do not want to get a work permit through a shady consultant.

There is so much locked down energy inside the homes of H1 visa holders who work while their spouses are not allowed to work on the H4 visa. If this energy is released in the talent pool, the economy will
reap the benefits in the long term! Otherwise, there is a risk of losing a lot of talent to other countries.

Let me give you a real case. This is the reality in several immigrant households in Sunnyvale, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, or San Francisco. Think of a young couple living in the Silicone

  1. One person goes to college in the U.S., pays for his scholarship, gets the H1 visa and decides to work in a U.S. company, in a way reinvesting his skills in the U.S. economy. He can choose to go
    back to his home country but he decides otherwise as there are some really cool opportunities here.
  2. Then he gets married and brings his wife in the country on the H4 visa. His wife is equally qualified and well educated but cannot hold a job because her visa does not permit this.
  3. She is not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of households that share the same story. Many super skilled folks live in the shadows- they feel locked out and alienated to their surroundings.
  4. Frustration builds up and the couple decides to move out of the country and work elsewhere. This is a reversal of talent flow and their skills are now invested in say U.K., Japan, or India.

I think one of the things that are rather under appreciated is the level of talent the engineers from other countries bring to the U.S.  Immigrant engineers are working on cutting edge technology projects at
Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, Microsoft,etc. They are the 'real contributors' to innovation. By not allowing their spouses to work in the U.S. there is a risk of losing the entire talent pool, and in effect, a lot of innovation. After all everyone wants peace at home! :-)

Give work permits to H4 visa holders: Unlock their hidden talent

 America should help the H4 visa holders to become a part of the economy. There should be a pathway for the H4 visa holders to get legal jobs so that they do not take away the skilled labor (H1 visa holders)
that is already innovating and creating new jobs. In its current state, the immigration policy in America is short-sighted and definitely needs a push. This is something important. It cannot happen overnight but it should happen before the economic crisis deepens and talent flies out of the country!

I wonder what the reaction of people would be if P resident Obama allowed H4 visa holders to work in the U.S.  Say in a few handful of areas to begin with, like science, technology, or education. I think this small change will create ripples, in a good way.

It is time to unlock the hidden talent of H4 visa holders and accept their contribution to reverse the economic crisis that we are in today!
Please write 'YES I DO!' below if you agree with my post. Other comments are also welcome!
(I was inspired by President's talk held on April 20, 2011. President Obama was at the Facebook Headquarters for a Town Hall Meeting organized by The White House. The Livestream of the event was available on Facebook Live.)

Introduce yourself on the H4 visa forum and start asking questions


Rashi's post

Rashi's post

This post was contributed by Rashi. She was finding it difficult to post in the other forum so I am re-posting her response here.

Yes I Surely Do Agree !!!
I am one of those people who are cursed by an H4 Visa.To give a breif of how i can contribute to the economy or am i eligible to do so ...if anyone it goes..I am a MasterOf Commerce from  University of Delhi , An M.B.A from Symbiosis Institute of Management studies,a Certified SAP FI Consultant with 6 yrs of total exp...When i have the talent,am willing (infact by now desperate ) to  work..then why against my will i am forced to sit at home and just slip into depression ?????
Why spouses on L2 are allowed ..even though not as qualified..( some are not even willing to work which makes me freak out ..but that's ok ..its there choice).But the question remains ...why we have to suffer...

My Heart all the people and specially the policy makers...Pls DO NOT cut our wings ...We want to be free birds .We dnt want to lose our confidence.PLS BE HUMAN !!!! Pls dnt lock spouse on H4 inside Gold cages (Homes ) with food , water and an Idiot Box.Pls let us free!!!


Yes I do agree. Watched the

Yes I do agree. Watched the speech, thought the same things. I have a masters in civil/structural engineering. Can find jobs but they won't/can't sponsor visa, want to start my own company and employ Americans but need to be able to work for it from set up. Frustrated and wasting opportunities. this engineers on the beach!

If a person is wkg in us on

If a person is wkg in us on h1b means he or she is well qualified and have well educated spouse. getting no job just due to visa staus is frustrating and killing me everyday.   plz plz grant h4 candidates to work. YES I DO! I highly appreciate you speaking on behalf of H4 visa holders. every word you said truly conveys about  the situation in many homes. I am sure that there are many H4 wives who feel as frustrated as me and in spite of having a lot of potential, education and talent, we are unable to do anything.

Thank you very much.




As a matter of fact., if you have H4 visa and want to work LEGALLY, you can do it by joining work-study program, which allows you legally work under the CPT authorization right away, plus seeking a master's degree, such as Computer Science, ..etc. this program may be your option. 

It will take about 2-3 months to switch from H4 to F1, then, you can start to work right away, and continue working under the CPT for the entire time of your master's degree program.




I do Agree, But will Mr

I do Agree, But will Mr President read all these? 

I do hope he does. 

Even I am frustrated of the H4 visa rules and therefore going back to my native country with my husband by this year end to restart my career. It's quite surprising that dependents of L1 are allowed to work but not of H1. I am really annoyed of all these. 

I have an experience of 5 yrs of which I worked in UK for 2 yrs  before marriage, I found their dependent visa rules are very fair and they engage talented people to contribute to their growth. 

I think US being called the 'Land of Opportunities' is completely unfair for people like us who are on H4. 


Yes, I totally agree. It is

Yes, I totally agree. It is just a joke that the "Land of Opportunities" kills the dreams and opportunities of all talented and well-educated H4 visa holders.

Please refer to below of a current petition about H4 visa holders. Let our voice be heard and sign the petiton for our own goods.

Cheers to all the amazing and talented H4 visa holders!



Posted by another member on the original post.


I dont know whether to agree or disagree. I have my own reasons too.

  1. When you applied for H4, each of you knew that you would not be able to work in the US. You had an option to stay back in India.So finally when you have come to the US, why crib about it? learn to live in every situation.
  2. Just think, if all this was happening in India. If very year 60000 americans and their spouses come and take up the so called software jobs, wont the Indian government take up any easure to curb it when there is a huge local pool here in India itself? When the US is doing something like this to protect its local's job, who are we to say that they have a wrong policy. Every country makes decision keeping their nationals in mind.
  3. I dont understand, when you urself have put you in such a situaton, why complain about it on an open forum.
  4. Your spouse knew what situation you will be in, if he o she takes you with him//her. Are you asking the same to him or her? He could have stayed back in India, so that both of you could have a job and lead a life here? If you liked to job more, you could have stayed in India.

Warm Regards,H4 visa holder

YES ! I DO....

YES ! I DO....

Hi all,

I am the wife of a H1 visa holder and a qualified ophthalmologist in my home country . I am being offered funded research positions here but my visa (h4) is holding me back!!!!

And it wasnt that i agreed happily for a h4 visa. I didnot want to discourage or put down the opportunity that was being offered to my husband. I enjoy seeing him happy and successful. But it shouldnot happen at our own cost. I mean everyone should have the rights to be employed and to earn for the family. What will a h4 do incase a crisis hits h1, we cannot always be dependent on someone to support us - that too for as long as 6 years which can spell doom to one's career.

In the interest of everybody - its always easier to opt for the simpler option, to not make sacrifices, to stay within a circle - but it takes so much strength to venture out, to overcome obstacles and to see others grow out of your sacrifices. I like to belong to the second category. Rules were made by humans, we are error prone. Hoing for the best for all of us!



I agree completely. I came to USA with an MBA degree and solid academic and professional background on H4 but, I did'nt give up and worked hard to get another masters degree. While I completed my masters and again got an offer of my dream I had to travel while my H1B was pending due to family emergency to my home country and lost my job again just because of visa policies.

I have returned to USA on H4 again and every single day is reminding me the silent time I spent while working hard to get out of the H4 visa status. I may get lucky once my H1B approval comes and I get a chance to go back to my old job.But, if not then again I have  to return to this cursed visa which I don't want to return at all.

I am sensitive towards all the girls I talked to who came here with their husband to start a family compromising for a littile time to start new life. But, this visa at times becomes an endless wait and giving up the dreams of all those talented ladies out there who never even aware of the fact of the challenges that lies ahead with this H4 visa.

I only wish for them that either the law gets changed or god please help them to get a job soon else its really challenging to stay on this visa.

Good Luck everyone!






Am in usa for last 5 and half years its very frustrating been in home doing nothing . Have done my masters in social work.. no use for last 6 years. Gradually i feel my talent, confidence are degrading day by day. Depression ..mental torture is what i can all say i have rigth now. Hope AMERICA the country of opportunity  wont disappoint  me . 



Sonia Thiady

On the side of humour, not

On the side of humour, not allowing H4 visa holders to work is in a way penalising H1B holders by depriving them of equality of marriage as lot of eligible well educated girls may not agree to marry them. Which means they are also limited in their choice of who to marry -only people who can work in USA or who do not at all wish to work and are content to sit at home- do you think its fair to H1B visa holders as well that they either cant marry who they want ( as that person might not agree to relocate to US and be jobless) or if they can its always a liability...

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