Work permits for H4 visa holders: Unlock their hidden potential

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 Valley.

  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 President 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.)
 
For tips to be happy on the H4 visa, please read this post
Introduce yourself on the H4 visa forum and start asking questions

Forums: 

Yes I do Agree with you. US

Yes I do Agree with you. US should  allow H4 visa holders to work.  Tehre are thousands of talented and educated H4 Visa holders sitting at home wasting their talents, Country should utilize their knowledge and permit them to work on H4 visa which will help the coutriy's economy instead of whipping for lack of manpwer in country.

YES I DO! I highly appreciate

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.

Yes I do! on behalf of my

Yes I do! on behalf of my wife. I may leave my job to go back to Singapore if she is unable to find a sponsor in the next few months..your article resonates with a lot of people on the H1/H4 visa

Yes i do! Eventhough I am

Yes i do!

Eventhough I am very close to live the great American dream, one part of my heart is really growing sad whenever I think about my wife leaving her job in India just to accompany me to uncle Sam's country. Only if wishes comes true, i would like her to work in the US rather than being a housewife and doing nothing.

Hey! The good part about a

Hey!

The good part about a marriage is that spouses support each other and live through each other's dreams. I just wanted to present a quick economic solution in response to President Obama's talk in Facebook. The reality about the H4 visas is really lost in the shadows but It's ok. 

I'd encourage you to be happy about your decision! :))

Welcome to the U.S. and we all wish you well!

Admin

 

YES I DO! i really appreciate

YES I DO! i really appreciate your concern to all H4 visa..im a h4 visa holder and im here in florida for almost 2mos with my husband, i feel really depress and frustrated whenever im alone in our house just waiting for my husband to come, doing wifey works, could not go out, watching tv all day just to kill the time..arrgghh! its really frustrating... i miss my work before, now i realized that you should love your work! 

    Yes I agree!! I am on h4

 

 

Yes I agree!!

I am on h4 and I am a legal immigrant.  Why I am deprived of the basic right to work??

I left my bright career as a software Engg with a big firm to be with the person I love .

Where are USA family values now?

And this country has left me lonely and depressed.  Now I am unhappy which makes my family unhappy and eventually me and my husband will leave this country if things move like this.

And USA will lose two more skilled labour !

"Yes i   do " agree with your

"Yes i   do " agree with your viewpoint and  greatly appreciate your endeaver in bring up  this post on behalf  of all H4 visa holders :) .

Time would greatly change if H4 visa holders are allowed to work.The talent will not go waste and would be put to better use for the rise and growth of the country.It would work doubly for indivisual as well as for country."working on long term process :This problem can be solved by educating children and encouraging them to study science, math, and technology" as quoted by President Obama is all togather good for the country but dont  you think, need of hour is  to ponder over  condition of  hundreds of H4 visa holders sitting at home with  their skill set idling away. 

 

Yes, I do!  A Corporate

Yes, I do! 

A Corporate Attorney back in India, completed my LLM in PA and have been a housewife on H4 for the last 3.5 years!! My husband got his M.S degree here too. We are leaning towards moving back home (tired of volunteering at not-for-profit organizations!!) or to another country, that will let us settle in, given that we are now in our 30's and our GC application is 6yrs old!! :-/

On the contrary, if only the US government realizes the value we, as skilled immigrants, can bring to this flailing economy, we could make this home. Let us work (since we are already here!), let us pay taxes and contribute intellectually to the community. Accept us and we will invest in this country instead of sending our earnings home. We (H1B; H4) will buy houses, build credit histories and we will single-handedly lift real-estate in this country from the trenches!! We will make this our home, like millions of your immigrant forefathers have!!

 

Excellent note KMN! While I

Excellent note KMN! While I do understand your situation, I agree with you on the premise of 'moving to greener pastures'

Thanks for sharing your perspective. 

Best,

Admin

IANAL

 

[quote=KMN]Yes, I do! 

A Corporate Attorney back in India, completed my LLM in PA and have been a housewife on H4 for the last 3.5 years!! My husband got his M.S degree here too. We are leaning towards moving back home (tired of volunteering at not-for-profit organizations!!) or to another country, that will let us settle in, given that we are now in our 30's and our GC application is 6yrs old!! :-/

On the contrary, if only the US government realizes the value we, as skilled immigrants, can bring to this flailing economy, we could make this home. Let us work (since we are already here!), let us pay taxes and contribute intellectually to the community. Accept us and we will invest in this country instead of sending our earnings home. We (H1B; H4) will buy houses, build credit histories and we will single-handedly lift real-estate in this country from the trenches!! We will make this our home, like millions of your immigrant forefathers have!!

 [/quote]

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