February 22, 2013

What you can DO on a H-4.

The word H-4 might be a dream and at the same time a nightmare for many. For those who is not aware of the term H-4, this is the visa category  for all those dependents who come on H1-B ( Work visa in US). There is another work visa called L1 and L2 ( Spouse). But there is something really special about H-4.Unlike L-2, you are going to be crippled and be forced to stay at home for an infinite period till your better half gets his Green card approved, which would take an average of 4 years.
Many of us leave a promising career and pack our bag to US with our spouses thinking the journey will be exciting in the land of opportunities. Little do we know we are going to be in a very tricky situation in future.
I have heard many assuring their wives about finding better jobs in US forcing them to resign their jobs. But here are some facts you should keep in your mind before making such important decisions
  1. You CANNOT work on your H-4 Visa. Can start working only after you find a company who can sponsor a H1-B visa for you.
  2. It is really difficult to find a job that will be ready to sponsor you. For eg : Assuming you find a job in Jan-2013, You will have to wait till April to file your visa and you can start working only in Oct-13.
  3. You can enroll for a masters degree. But if already have a masters or a PhD, then going back to school might be a difficult option.
  4. You cannot take up any kind of job which would earn you a salary. You cannot even do an Internship.
  5. You can DO Volunteering. But you can do only in a Non Profit Organization and also those kind of volunteering that the institution would normally hire a full time or part-time employee.Which literally means we do not have many options even for a volunteer work.
  6. You can apply for a Driving License. This is the only attractive thing I could put here apart from the option to study.
  7. If you are in IT field, there are many agencies willing to employ you illegally and later give u a H-1. ( Which is a very dangerous thing to do ).
  8. Attend social clubs, learn dance music or any kind of art.
So now you must be frowning thinking what do all those people do there on a H-4? Well, the majority enroll in a university for higher education and change their visa status so that they find a job after their graduation. For those like me who already has a masters and is not mentally ready to do a PhD this is what I do which I hate to admit :(
  • Keep applying for jobs like a wild goose chase
  • Watch TV, Read books
  • Cook, Cook and make your husband happy
  • Crib, cry and complain about not having a job and make your husband sad.
  • Volunteer in those agencies which is ready to accept you with your visa status
  • Look outside to see the piling snow and realise you cant even go out for a walk.
  • Write blogs and help others make a wise decision before they pack their bags. ( I am not asking anyone not to accompany your husbands. But if you are coming here for a short assignment,Please do not resign your job).
  • Enhance all your hobbies and do everything you wanted to do when you wished you had some spare time.
  • Learn new languages.
My intention was not to demotivate anyone to come here, But to give a heads up on your life here. Having said that many have been successful in a finding a good career, exploring their hidden skills. I myself have seen many come up with innovative blogs on cooking, art and many more. Good Luck to all those on a H-4 here. Hope we break our handcuffs soon.


Raj Kishore said...

How about a start-up? Have you looked into things that help you start a business of your own? Not a full-fledged one, but a home-business!

Raj Kishore said...

How about starting a start-up business? Would initially be time-pass, but who knows you'll end up being awesome at it? I think there are some very liberal immigration laws regarding that you can check on. It can be a zero-investment start-up too!