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H4 Visa holders Situation in US : PBS Video – News Analysis TV Show

I stumbled upon this video (9 min) which explains some the problems of H4 visa holders and some thoughts and analysis done by critics in the show. The video is about How is the life of H4 visa holders in US, few efforts done for getting H4 visa holders to have work permit and critics arguing why H4 visa holders will not be given work permit, etc. Some of the views in the video are a little controversial to some extent…This video was originally broadcast on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on September 4th, 2009.

Meghana Damani Hearts Suspended Short Movie The video talks mostly about a short film made by H4 visa holder called ‘Hearts Suspended’ made by Meghana Damani . The short movie was selected for many film festivals. Check it out …

Update : USCIS passed a rule, which was effective May 25, 2015, that allows certain H4 visa holders to work, if they satisfy certain conditions. Read H4 Visa EAD Rule – USCIS  Guidance, Process 

What do you all think about the video and analysis ? Any thoughts?

Transcript for the whole video : H-4 Visas on PBS show – To The Contrary

Video Broadcast :  H-4 visas on PBS

YouTube video

The Short Film – Hearts Suspended on YouTube

YouTube video


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  1. The Obama Administration proposes to grant work authorization to a narrow segment of H-4 spouses, according to a Department of Homeland Security press release. But all trailing spouses of H-1B visa holders should be able to work. Shortly, when DHS publishes its proposed regulation in the Federal Register, interested parties should submit comments encouraging a broader rule. http://wp.me/p2xuAr-3yS

  2. I came on an H-4 visa, twenty years ago. We were promised we would have green cards within two years – that was possible then. But my husbands first employer realized he could lose a valuable worker, so he sabotaged the procedure. And the law office that was hired was dishonest and incompetent beyond belief.
    I had my suspicions, my husband would not believe me at first.
    When his eyes opened, he found another employer who promised again that our green cards would have high priority.
    Too bad the new co. was located in IL – where the DOL was so far behind that it took more than two years before the envelope with our application was even opened. And also too bad that two other big law offices managed to derail our application in every aspect possibleby mindnumbing incompetence.
    So six years went by, and then my husband H-1B was ‘used up’. His employer could not replace him, asked us to go to Canada for about one-year-and-a-half. Canada had even more draconian rules for spouses bytheway.
    We came back on L-1/L-2, but by then also because of all the insecurity, the stress, I had become rather ill. I had surgery but never really bounced back.

    After eight years we finally got our green cards.
    If you have not worked for such a long time you are damaged material, nobody hires you for even the simplest job.
    Next year I turn 65, I have no penny to my name, no SS, no Medicare. And I lost almost all the rights I had worked for in my country of origin.

    Recently I was told that an H-4 visa holder is not supposed to live in this country, only to visit. So while we are not allowed to work here, we would be expected to work in our own country, as our husbands surely are not paid the income for two households.
    We also would have to earn the money for many tickets and have a job that gives lots of time off – for all those trips to the US.
    The moment the US made H-1B a dual intent visa, H-4 visa holders should have been allowed to work. As the situation is now, we lose our capacity to earn income – in the US as well in our country of origin.

    Many USers have problems with the H-1B program. In many aspects they are correct. But the solution is NOT to punish the H-4 spouses with a living death.
    I gave up all that I had, all that was important to me, to come with my husband. I thought I could build some life here for myself in this country of opportunity. Not so. This country is petty and mean. This country does not want, does not like immigrants. Yet it blabbers on about the melting pot and how welcoming it is to immigrants.
    The dishonesty is almost too much to bear.
    The only immigrants that are apparenlty welcome are the DV lottery winners. We H-4’s are not allowed to work because there are not enough job they say. Yet some 50,000 newcomers are welcomed in because every year. All that is required is that they put their name in an electronic hat.

    • I dont know why people curse US on h4 visa policies. Before entering to US you know the limitation and still you came then you start cursing US.
      I dont know how to say but what i meant to say is initially poeple try to take small space then try to occupy all the space like that first you want to come to US

    • when immigrants come to US they wont culture , they wont change food habits but they all need is fulfil their wishes like ead, GC

  3. I think a big ramification of this H4 locking up is cutting up a source of income for the family for life.
    God forbid, shud something happen to the husband like death, divorce or any such calamity, the wife or dependent husband is not only going to be stranded but they will be unemployable even in their home countries after a gap of 7 yrs of no work experience.
    I say this is BULLSHIT and nothing taking the juice out the so called skilled laborers and dumping them when u have got it all….

  4. While the Senate debates around 800+ page bill for immigration reform and President eagerly waits to get the bill approved….

    as part of immigration reform – EAD can be issued to certain H4s…Regulation 1615-AB92 is already in place since 2011 and this does not require a bill but a president signature to make it applicable.

    Please sign this petition and show your support: www.tinyurl.com/EADtoH4Petition

    We are taking this on news channels and reaching out at national level. Your support is not an option, it is a Requirement.


  5. I’m on H-1B visa. My wife is on H-4 visa. Our life is in Hell . Rights and freedom is the mean issue here. Change the H-4 visa now. If your brain are not functioning you panel, use your heart. If your are feminist then you should understand damn it.

  6. All I can say about this video is, it’s completely ridiculous. You have this discussion on national tv with a bunch of people who have no clue about the various legal and illegal immigrants. The nature of visas nothing.
    The ladies supposedly are from the immigration and labor bureaus and yet they make statements on national tv like a novices.

    My simple question is how can you type cast these women and say they are upper class women who chose to come to US on h4 visa? Or that the reason why u take h1 visa people from outside the country is because they are cheap labor? Do you think your president or the people of America would like to represent their country’s policy in this light?

    I have been hearing the women who are on h4 aren’t skilled enough to convert to h1. This is not true. The main reason for the unemployability is the waiting time for approval of an H1 visa to joining date on the job. It’s a 6 month period from April to October. No employer usually waits for hiring someone this long. When the principal H1 visa holder a.ka the husband comes to the US, he usually studied here so got his h1 visa while working on EAD after school. The EAD covers the ago between April to October. Or else he was an employee of an American firm which has offices outside US and he was asked to move to US office and the company can apply in April and get the employee in October, when the visa permits you to start working.
    The unfortunate state of the wives is that although they are capable of getting an H1 visa job by themselves, no employer is going to wait for them for 6 months to fill a position. They either have to go to school here and go through the whole process, or they have to go back to their home country or find a job elsewhere in an American firm to transfer them, live apart from each other, in cases where they have children then tear the family apart just to get an H1 visa!!!
    That’s why in India they do arranged marriages so they can find a proper match, so both the people already have h1 visas and no problems of h4 visas happen. Yet you laugh at them for not marrying for love.

  7. Look at the feeling of animosity!!! the Americans say
    1) we only wantd the skilled laborer, but we don’t care if he cannot have a normal family like other people….we did the same thing centuries ago….
    2) they have no distinction between cheap labor and skilled labor…..they think they are here for their cheapness.
    3) the wives chose to come…..cause they aspired to be in ignomy just because it’s America!!!
    4) while here u are lobbying for illegal immigrants….
    5) never saw a bunch of blind bitchy panelist….

  8. I am hearing the conversation these women had regarding motives to deny EAD for H4 holders. I would like to know if they have heard of L2 visa holders that come as dependents but are allowed to work. Or why is this country offering work permits to illegal immigrants and law abiding people like H4 holders are denied the same opportunity?

    I keep hearing the same loose anti-immigrant argument of limiting foreign citizens to avoid competition with Americans for job positions. I thought the first world had the brightest people in the world, why is this country so afraid to compete in a capitalist economy like this one?

    The other insulting assumption is that all H4 holders are from India. I heard one of the panelists talk about “upper casts” and almost justify the decade H4 holders have to waist in the US because “they have a good situation” and “it was a family decision”. What about those H4 holders that are not married to a H1B that makes an income of 6 figures? What about those from underrepresented minority groups like Hispanics?

    In the end, I feel that the issue of H4 holders trapped for years, if not more than a decade, was treated lightly by the panelists. They even used arguments like “we have too many immigrants, legal and illegal, to help H4 holders” but there was no hint that immigration reform is, then, an urgent need. I cannot believe that these women do not support the right of other law-abiding women to work and provide for themselves and their families in a society where women are still a subordinate group. Very sad. However, great effort of those who are working to make the subject of H4 holders known.


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