The number of H4 and H1-B visas issued steadily growing.
By Raif Karerat
H-4 visas are issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to the immediate family members of H1-B visa holders, who enter the United States to work in specialty occupations that are often STEM related, such as biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, and IT.
H1-B visas can also be issued to those who wish to work in education, law, accounting, theology, and the arts.
The year 2008 saw 71,019 H-4 visas issued, followed by a dramatic drop to 60,009 the next year, in 2009. Each year since, the number of H-4 visas granted to foreign nationals has grown, from 66,176 in 2010, to 74,205 the next year, 90,015 in 2012, and finally 96,753 in 2013. It totaled to 458,177 visas in those six years.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State reported that 130,183 H1-B visas were issued in 2008, followed by a correlating drop to 110,988 in 2009, then about 117,828 in 2010, 129,552 the next year, 135,991 in 2012, and 153,794 H1-B visas in 2013.
Earlier this week, the USCIS announced it would give EAD, work permit cards, to certain H-4 visa holders.
Aman Kapoor, co-founder of Immigration Voice, a national nonprofit that lobbies for immigrants, said in a statement: “We are grateful to President Obama and his administration for Executive Action on Immigration to address the severe quality of life issues faced by hundreds and thousands of families, including allowing spousal work authorization for certain H-1B visa holders.”