By Yashi Parolia
America is called the Land of Dreams, the land of opportunities. But, there are some hidden faces in the crowd who are denied of living their dreams. Yes, they are the H4 visa holders. H4 visa holders are like the shadows who exist but with no self-esteem and dignity of their own.
Many times the question of giving H4 visa the right to work, has been asked but has always left unanswered. I want to make a question here which says “Why? Why are these people not allowed to work? Are they not the part of your economy?” America should realize that these people are highly qualified and masters in their fields. They have high competent degrees and work experience. They can contribute a lot to the economy, given a chance to work. America has invited their spouses to work here and they regularly contribute to their economy. But, what about people on H4. They are just meant to accompany their spouses, leaving their jobs, their experience and their career path to live here and lead a life, praying that someday the law will be changed or spending years of wait to get a Green Card.
The agony of H4 visa holders is unending. Being highly competent and knowledgeable, they are bound to be in houses, do household chores. They cannot support their spouses and hence this leads to low family income. If H4 visa holders want their H1 visas to be sponsored, they either need to pay the high tuition fees for out-state candidates and pursue higher studies or search for a legitimate sponsor who can wait for almost 5 months for you to join, which is also a very difficult task. Even after applying for H1, the process of lottery also adds to it. So, in nutshell, process of getting H1 is also a troublesome task.
It is the fundamental right of every individual to have the right to work, so that they can be financially independent and also support their families but H4’s are denied of that. This injustice is only done to this particular visa type. People holding Student Visa are allowed to work, dependents of L1 visa holders are allowed to work. But, why this discrimination exists for H4 visa holders only.
Being at home whole day, also leads to depression and lack of confidence. As time passes by, their knowledge also depreciates, so as their experience. They start considering themselves as ones who are unwanted, whose dreams are shattered and there is no ray of hope for them. For some H4 visa holders, the problem becomes more prominent when their spouses on H1 are non-supportive. They become victims of domestic violence and being dependent, they have no other choice then to bear the pain.
The result of all these sufferings sometimes also causes reverse brain drain i.e. the high skilled H1B employees have to return back to their home country for the sake of their dependents.
The solution to above problem is only one: H4 visa holders should be given EAD to work. They are just asking for one chance to be a contributor to the economy. They are not taking jobs of the American citizens because giving EAD will just make them eligible to work, it will not give them the employment letter. It is just the right so that they can also fight in the job market and based on their competencies and skills, they can get a job. There is a strong demand that the H4 laws should be changed now because this issue is not only for giving financial independence but also a freedom to live a life of decency and dignity.
This is a humble request to the US government that please give them one chance to showcase their skills and become the contributing members of the country.
I am a Software Engineer and I was working with Mphasis Ltd., India. for the past 3 years. I have done my B.Tech in Computer Engineering. I am living in Jersey City for past 6 months on H4 visa.