Hello Everybody. This is Cyrus Mehta. Welcome to this week's edition of immigration matters.
At the outset, the bill that increases the H-1B visa cap is doing extremely well in the Congress. On April 2, the bill was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. If the Senate and the House approve the bill, the H-1B quota will increase to 95,000 in 1998.
While most of the attention is focused on H-1B visas, spouses and dependent children of temporary visa holders are often neglected. In this segment, we examine the limited scope of dependents visa. Dependents of H-1B workers, F-1 students, physicians and L-1 intra-company transferees cannot truly avail of the same benefits as the principal visa holder. Take the example of an Indian computer programmer working in the United States on an H-1B visa. He returns to India and marries a person who is professionally extremely active. Upon marriage, she obtains the dependent H-4 visa and accompanies her husband to the U.S.
Although the H-4 is issued immediately, she realizes that her dependent status does not allow her to work in the U.S although she can attend school. Because of her inability to work, she remains confined at home in an isolated American suburb with little or no intellectual stimuli. Some marriages can break down due to frustrations arising out of the limited scope of a dependent visa. A dependent is often unable to obtain a social security number.
Furthermore, dependent children of a temporary visa holder can face similar obstacles. Although dependents can study, they would not be able to work like their American counterparts in the summer or take up part-time jobs. A child can only remain on the dependent visa until the age of 21.
Restrictions on the principal's visa automatically pass on to the dependents. A typical example is a physician who is in the United States on a J-1 visa. The J-1 visa holder is subject to a two year home country requirement before he or she can change visa status in the U.S. The J-2 spouse is also similarly subject to the two year home country requirements, unless the principal J-1 obtains a waiver of the two year home country requirement. However, the J-2 visa is the only dependent visa that authorizes work under limited circumstances.
Often times, dependent spouses and children can fall out of status for no fault of their own. The principal alien can lose status if he or she stops working for the intended employer or drops out of school. As a result, the dependent spouse and children also cease to remain in status.
Therefore, nonimmigrant visa holders and their dependents must be extremely aware of the limitations of their visa status before they come to the United States. The only way for most dependents to work in the U.S. is to independently obtain an H-1B visa.
I hope you found this segment informative and helpful. If you have any questions on this or related issues, (see article for more information) please do not hesitate to contact the law offices of Cyrus Mehta at 212-686-1581. The number once again is 212-686-1581. You can also e-mail us at email@example.com
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This is Cyrus Mehta wishing you a wonderful weekend. See you again in two weeks.