New Rules Will Let Spouses of Work Visa Holders Work in U.S.
Posted on April 20, 2015
SEATTLE | To prepare herself for a job hunt, Niyati Desai has started updating her resume and reaching out to professional contacts.
In her native India, Desai, 32, managed marketing accounts for global companies such as Procter & Gamble and Prudential. But she worries about the eight-year gap in her employment history.
“No matter how smart you think you are, things change. I’m trying to study up, but it’s hard to make up for that lost time in the workplace,” she said.
Desai moved to the Seattle area in 2007 to join her husband, a network engineer, who is here on a highly skilled-worker visa, the type companies such as Microsoft and Amazon have used to recruit high-tech workers from around the world. And until recently, spouses such as Desai, admitted to the U.S. on their own H-4 visas, were prohibited from getting jobs.
Now, beginning in late May, a change in federal rules adopted under President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration will allow Desai and hundreds of other spouses in the region, most of them women, to apply for work permits — and reclaim their professional lives.
“I’m really excited. I’m waiting for May 26. It’s going to seem like a miraculous day,” she said.
Not all spouses will be eligible. Their working partner must have been approved to apply for a green card. But for those whose spouse’s application is well underway, they will no longer have to wait — sometimes eight or 10 years for applicants from China and India — for the U.S. government to issue both permanent legal status.
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