I posted this blog entry on my blog and it received a lot of positive comments. I thought of sharing it with all of you on the H4 visa forums as well. I hope you like it as well.
The H4 visa in U.S.
Are you on the H4 visa in U.S.? Are you totally unhappy with how you cannot work and earn money? Well, there are several forums where people rant and rave about the H4 visa. They think it is the end of life for them and that they are trapped. They blame the Government for not allowing them to work. I even saw a blog where the blogger used the pseudonym ‘Cooped’.
Should I marry the H1 B visa holder ?
Yes, that’s the question people ask me. I personally get tons of emails where girls ask me if it is a good idea to marry an H1 B visa holder. I try my best to give a balanced perspective on what to expect. Many girls take the plunge nevertheless. While it may not be a totally rosy situation to be in, the point is no one forced you to sign up for the H4 visa. It was your call. You made the decision.
- You wanted to get married and move to the U.S. You knew that your would-be husband was an H1 B holder.
- You also knew that you would not be allowed to work here on the H4 visa.
- Now that you have done that, you cannot rally against the Government for not allowing you to work.
The country has its own unemployment issues and that’s how it is in the U.S. They cannot take responsibility for every non immigrant who enters this country and give them a job! After all you are coming here as a ‘choice’. You are not being forced into it. Accept it as part of the “U.S. dream”. If you did not know this so far, let this blog post be an eye-opener for you.
Background on H4 visa
The H4 visa is issued to the spouse and children on the H1 visa holder and the basic requirements of that visa type is that the holder must not seek employment during the stay in the U.S.
That said if you are not willing to leave your job or remain unemployed at home perhaps the H4 visa is not for you. Many folks get frustrated and need someone to point them in the right direction. Others lose interest, feel ‘cooped in’ and just move back to their home country. Hence it is always a good idea to know what to expect: Working is a big NO on H4 visa. There are no exceptions. If you love your job and have little interest in staying at home, perhaps H4 visa is not for you.
If you are ok with this you should embrace the life on the H4 visa in US with open arms!
Statistics on stay at home women in the U.S.
Research suggests that there are a very high number of stay at home moms (5.6 million) as compared to stay at home dads (165,000) in the U.S. This demographic largely consists of women who stay at home to take care of their families, did not work for the entire previous year and had a husband who worked for 52 weeks (Washington Post, October 2009*).
According to the United States Department of Labor,
- Women comprised 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force and are projected to account for 46.9 percent of the labor force in 2018. There appears to be no drastic change and the number in percentage terms is expected to increase just by 0.1 in the next 8 years.
- Of the 122 million women age 16 years and over in the U.S., 72 million, or 59.2 percent, were labor force participants—working or looking for work**. This means that about 40% of the women in this bracket are not employed or seeking employment.
So it is not only you. There are several others who stay at home ‘by choice’.
Even if you are not planning to start a family, there are a lot of alternate things to do and with the advancement of technology and communication the opportunities have only quadrupled in the past decade. Let me discuss a typical scenario for H4 visa holders and some ideas in the next section.
Typical scenario for H4 visa holders
Here is a typical scenario for H4 visa holders. Once people come to the U.S. on the H4 visa they realize how different reality is from what they had hoped for. They assume that they can figure things out but that takes time and effort. Some are ready to do what it takes to reach their goals. Others post hate mails on forums and any other platform where they can be heard.
These few that complain do not represent the vast majority of people living in the U.S. on H4 visa.
I have a different take on things. If you feel cooped you will be cooped! If you feel happy you will be happy! There are ups and lows but it is better to make the best of the situation.
The usual life trajectory of the H4 visa holder
Even though there is no research to prove this, the usual life trajectory that any H4 visa holder follows is somewhat like the following:
- Sit at home. Get bored.
- Pursue interests/hobbies.
- Volunteer and get involved in community service.
- Apply for a different visa and work or start a family.
What you can do on the H4 visa is totally on you. Here are some likely scenarios.
- I want to work eventually : If you think that you have to get back to work then look for alternatives in that direction. Study and get a work permit or look for a company that is willing to sponsor your visa based on your skill set.
- I don’t care. I have to move back to my country : If you think that you are in the U.S. for a very short time and you definitely plan to move back to your home country try to seize opportunities that would not be available to you in your home country. For example you can travel extensively in the country, try backpacking, scuba diving, para sailing, aqua zumba, belly dancing, etc.
- I want to become become a Crafts Entrepreneur: If you want to pursue an interest and eventually start your own business (once you get a Green Card) work in that direction. Hone your skills and study different crafts. Take a business course.
- I want to write my own book some day: Take a literature course. Start blogging. Start researching at home. Learn how to annotate, quote, and find references. Play around with writing softwares and join a writer’s guild.
There are a lot of opportunities and it will not help if you just sit on your rear end and whine. Whining only increases blood pressure and causes psychological and physical disorders. What’s the alternative: know your options and make an informed decision. Be happy with your decision!
Life on the H4 visa is great.
Life is not all that bad on the H4 visa. After all you have the opportunity to enjoy the best quality of life. There are no power cuts and the streets are free of crime. Roads are in great condition and the quality of higher education is par excellent. There is social security, economic security, and clean air. What more can you ask for?