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Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Look Forward to Getting Jobs

Posted on February 14, 2015
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Shalini Sharma loves spending time at home with her two young sons, but she really misses her work.

“I am an architect,” said Sharma, who arrived in the U.S. almost six years ago, according to an article emailed by SAN. “I was a professional architect in India, and I was an interior designer. I had my own practice.”

Sharma isn’t your typical stay-at-home mom who traded career for kids. She’s in the United States on what’s called an H-4 visa, a visa granted to dependents of H-1B high-skilled work visa holders, more than two-thirds of whom are men.

These dependent spouses, many of them from South Asia, aren’t authorized to work in the U.S. But in many cases, they are as well-educated and skilled as their partners.

Sharma is one of an estimated 100,000 spouses of high-skilled work visa holders who could soon be allowed to work as part of President Obama’s new immigration plan.

Those who will qualify are H-4 holders whose spouses have applied for permanent resident status, or for a work visa extension.

Manju Kulkarni, Indian American director of the South Asian Network in Artesia, Calif., says the change has been a long time coming.

“We really saw the problem with H-4 visa holders exacerbate in the last ten years because more and more spouses were coming to the United States and unable to work, and unable to use their expertise and their skills,” Kulkarni said.

“And so a number of advocates raised this with the administration, and with folks in Congress during the discussions around immigration reform.”

Proposed federal regulations to ease the work ban for H-4 visa holders were introduced last year, and eventually folded into executive action.

Kulkarni said that as the White House immigration plan rolls out, H-4 visa holders who qualify could get permission to work in the next several months

For more news and updates, assistance with your visa needs or for a Free Assessment of your profile for Immigration or Work Visa’s just visit www.y-axis.com

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