Visa Policy Says Immigrant’s Wife’s Place is In the Home
It’s Day 2 of the week, and I hope everyone is thriving and being very productive already this week…Well, yours truly needs to put a step on it, because what with a new job, an exam looming near, and my eyes refusing to stay open past 9 pm (and refusing to open before 6am), productivity is not my forte this week. Yet, we all know that as women working in- and outside of the home, it can be hard (if not nearly impossible) to satisfy all the priorities in our lives…but at least, modern times seem to have afforded us the sometimes difficult, yet always empowering choice, to draw a connecting line between tradition and modernism, to still be able to be the queens of our castle while holding a profession that we hopefully love..
And we also know that this is not always the case for all women all across the world…case in point: here, in the US, wives of immigrants on an H-1B non-immigrant visa are not allowed to work until their spouse gains permanent residency in the US, which process can take up to 6 years. Some are not even allowed to drive in certain states. For those of you who are not familiar with the H-1B non-immigrant visa, it is a temporary work visa afforded by the US to highly skilled workers from other countries, especially engineers, analysts, programmers, computer engineers (all skills which are in high demand in the US due to a shortage of related skills). These workers’ spouses and children are also offered H-4 visas. In 2010 alone, there were 138,431 high-skilled Indian immigrants counted in the US, with 55, 335 Indian immigrants (i.e. spouses or children) on H-4 visas.
However, the H-4 visa, also known as the “dependent” visa, puts significant restrictions on the high-skilled immigrants’ spouses, especially as many of these are actually highly qualified women. Among the many pains that many of us are unfortunately way too familiar with, for these women also comes the pain of being reduced to a bondage of forced traditionalism in a world of excessive modernism, a world which is not benefiting from their invaluable resources, a world where gender equality does not seem to exist for many migrant families…Many of these women, some of whom used to work in their native countries, cannot exercise their skills this side of the blogosphere, and find themselves confined to a restrictive home environment. As difficult as visa rules and regulations may be to set in place and keep for all parties involved, it may be worthwhile to consider the consequences of these rules on some of the world’s most affected demographics: women…