Women are considered to contribute significantly towards the growth of a country’s economy. Not all educated women work in India; some have conservative family restrictions while some are not ambitious at all. For professionally unambitious women, the H4 visa is just the perfect thing! It is a luxurious un-interfered honor that they would undoubtedly love.
What if you are ambitious? Well, then you might have to re-consider about entering the most powerful country, with this chocolate-wrapped-entrapping visa. It is better to wait and enter with a valid working visa rather than getting into the regal-trap, because once you enter, you are sure to literally stop your career growth! These days, women are aware of these tricky issues and they receive great support from their spouses as well. I have seen quite a few empathetic young husbands who take efforts not to waste their spouses’ potentials and talents.
H4 visa is rightly called “The Curse Visa”, “The Depression Visa” and “The Golden Cage Visa”, for both its charming and deluding royal-restrictions. Thousands of Indians come to the USA on the very famous H1B visa; precisely 85,000 highly skilled workers are permitted to enter every year. Their spouses and family-members enter on H4-Visas. These highly eligible US-working-white-collar-professionals often choose to wed the cream of the Indian educated women who are insanely-skilled. I have a few friends who are Engineers, Lawyers and Teachers with more than 10 years of experience from India who are not able to continue their career here. H4 Visa-holders cannot work in USA or generate any income. They are only allowed to study or do some volunteering work (But everyone cannot afford to spend ten thousands of dollars in college degrees!). It is so disheartening to see all of these women just do the household chores and chauffeuring. Thank God at least they are allowed to get their licenses!
There are many other visas like J2, L2, family based, diversity lottery and more… their dependents are allowed to work here with a valid work-permit. The H4 visa holders cannot even get a Social Security Number here, leave alone the work-permit! In short, the H4 visa-holders basically do not have an identity or they are non-existent, making them totally dependent on somebody else like a helpless-kid! They rely on the spouse’s income for all the basic, personal and medical needs. It’s like their hands and legs are tied and they are forced to live like a disabled-person in the so-called golden cage! The basic human right(Freedom) is snatched leaving them emotionally shaken. But, seriously, who needs a “Golden cage”? If allowed to work, we might even get a diamond cage which might radiate for miles spreading opportunities for hundreds. If not, we might be the most satisfied people even with little “Straw-cages”, just because it is our own hard-earned reward! At least there would be the sense-of-worth and pride that you are contributing something to the family and you don’t have to expect every penny from your spouse, every time.
The recent law passed by President Barack Obama in November 2014 has relaxed a little on the rules; now the H4 visa holders who have their Green Card process on, can apply for the work-permit. Yet again, this does not solve the problem for all the H4 visa holders as the Green card process itself might take 10 to 15 years! This means that you might lose your prime-career years in the process of getting your EAD. How enticing!
There are several myths and misconceptions about the NRI, mostly US-residents:
Every day is a Celebration- life is happening!
Not really! In fact, life becomes so monotonous that you crave for some sort of change or thrill. They become active on social media to keep themselves sane, as they rarely talk to real people! The chilly weather makes it even more challenging to socialize regularly. H4-housewives just do the same cooking and cleaning like robots. Only if they decide to pursue their hobbies, they are diverted for good.
NRI mint dollars.
This one cracks me up… Yes, they earn in dollars. But why do people forget that they spend in dollars too? Just because the value of a dollar is more in rupees, their savings seem to be a lot from there! Eventually, all those savings would go to the airlines considering the fact that a two-way ticket (for a family of four) would cost lakhs! On the contrary, if H4-dependents were to work then the whole scenario might change due to the raise in the household income.
They vacation all the time.
Living an un-certain alien life, in a foreign country and not knowing about the future twists and turns in the visa/ work status, we tend to go for vacations trying to cover the major attractions in the initial 6 years (While the H1B is valid). H4 dependents actually enjoy posting pictures of their trips on social media in an attempt to show how happening their lives are.
They have too many friends and they are too busy to remember India.
There are friends, mostly Indians who are either neighbors or colleagues. How many ever parties happen, they truly miss the family gatherings and functions, to the core. This is the main reason for the regional groups and associations that exist here. When going to these places, the H4 dependents dress-up traditionally and take pictures; a moment of escape from the daunting thoughts!
They will never return home.
This truly depends on individual decisions, some choose to settle here or some plan on returning sooner/ later. They are often circulating in the whirl-wind of responsibilities, aspirations, priorities and the ever-present uncertainty! The H1B workers cannot return instantly, after earning the trust of employers and building their work-empire here! They would certainly want to see what happens to their Green Card, as getting a GC would mean a higher salary and work stability/ security. Though the H4 visa-holders wish to come home for their career-betterment, they are not able to do so because this would mean a break in the relationship. Why would a couple live separately just because a country’s visa-policy is all messed-up?
All that is needed is a change in the Visa-restrictions and policies. Anyone should not be denied the freedom to speak or work. Hailing from a democratic country, it is illogical to live confined in a foreign country. It is not about money at all; it is simply about self-development, esteem and inner-peace that you earn through financial independence. I cannot imagine the amount of precious talents going waste in USA! “Brain-drain” is one thing, but this is an extreme agonizing act of slaughtering-brain. So unfair and inhuman!
Hope things would change in future…If the right to work is exercised, there will be only more development and growth of the country in-turn!