May 26, 2015 is a big day for some H4 visa holders.
By Sujeet Rajan
NEW YORK: This coming Tuesday, May 26 is a big day for some H-4 visa holders. On that day they get to file applications for the first time ever with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which they are entitled to get within a period of 90 days, if approved. Once they receive the EAD, they are eligible to work legally in the United States, or to start a business.
A niggling worry, since the DHS approved some H-4 visa holders to be eligible for EAD cards, has been a civil complaint against the DHS to stop issuing the EAD cards to H4 visa holders, who is a dependent of an H-1B visa worker. It was filed by an unincorporated group of former Southern California Edison IT workers – who claim they were displaced by H-1B workers from India – who call themselves Save Jobs USA.
There is no notice or news yet of what action court in Washington, DC, where the complaint was filed, has taken, or if it has been dismissed. In all likelihood, unless the court intervenes with an order on Tuesday, May 26, and stops DHS from processing the applications by the H4 visa holders, the petitions will start to get processed.
The American Bazaar scrutinized the civil complaint by Save Jobs USA (SJUSA) against giving EADs to eligible H-4 visa holders.
The SJUSA complaint itself is discriminatory, and makes little sense, except for giving a sense of outrage at ‘foreigners’ coming and taking away jobs that belong to ‘Americans’. The SJUSA complaint is more like your distant neighbor’s wife coming home to tell you sternly (and she not knowing your wife’s background at that, as to what profession/industry she may be eligible to work in): ‘Please do not let your wife work in this country because it may take away my husband’s job, increase the competition for my husband to find a job thereafter in the IT industry, and also, stop my nephew from getting a job in the IT industry, in the future.’
Does that make sense?
It shouldn’t. Not to anybody who is reasonable and practical.
Here’s a breakdown of why the SJUSA plea is more protectionist and discriminatory than believable – with a point by point analysis of some of the grouses that are set forth in the complaint:
1) The complaint says ‘Save Jobs USA members are economic competitors with H-4 visa holders as well’ – apart from H-1B workers.
Do H-4 visa holders, those who are eligible to work, have advanced masters and doctorates, and previously worked elsewhere, not ever work? Are the IT jobs available to only SJUSA members? It’s also ludicrous to assume that each and every H-1B visa and H-4 visa holder are IT professionals, out to snatch jobs from Americans. Most of them take up jobs after they apply for an open position, and are hired on their merits. And perhaps, most importantly, SJUSA should realize the deep emotional and financial stress eligible H-4 visa holders have undergone for years in this country and still undergo, stopped from working, despite being qualified and educated.
2) The complaint says ‘purpose of the H-4 rule is to increase the amount of foreign labor on H-1B visas by attracting more workers to the H-1B program, and by keeping current H-1B holders in the labor market’.
The assumption here is that when the spouses on H-4 visas are able to work, that gives some leniency to the spouse on H-1B visas to explore the job market more. When the job market improves, everyone benefits. When it goes into recession, everyone, including the H-1B visa holders too, face the crunch. Also, only 85,000 eligible visas are available for H-1B category every year. By having some H-4 visa workers enter the job market that number is not going to change, unless Congress changes numbers.
3) The complaint also expresses dismay at this: ‘DHS states in its findings, “DHS may consider expanding H-employment eligibility in the future.’”
So, what is wrong with that? It would mean, when that really happens, that the US cares for the rights of its legal residents and emotional well-being, especially educated women who are mostly the H-4 visa holders (apart from minors), and has fixed the broken immigration system. It would also spur more businesses to start.
4) The complaint says, ‘Rule, which grants work authorization to H-4 visa holders, injures Save Jobs USA’s members by (1) depriving them of statutory protections from foreign labor; (2) by increasing the number of economic competitors; and (3) by conferring benefits to their economic competitors on H-1B visas.
Again, it’s ridiculous to assume that each and every H-4 visa holder is an IT professional, and even if that is the extreme case, then it’s better to try and expand one’s skills than try limit the skills of others, like the H-4 visa holders. In a competitive market that believes in liberalization, workers who bring more to the table will have an advantage, despite the fact that he or she is a ‘foreigner’ or not.
5) The complaint names some workers of SJUSA who lost jobs to H-1B workers. And then says that now those workers would be in ‘direct competition with H-1B and H-4 workers as long as they remain in the computer job market.’
Again, the fear of SJUSA workers seems to be more the skills of others on visas than their fear of getting the next job through their own merits.
6) The complaint points out a couple of websites, 1. Desih4.COM or DEIH4.com and 2. Dice.com and says these portals are advertising for jobs directly related to H4 visa holders.
The link to DesiH4.com is a dead link, and DeiH4.com does not exist. Dice.com does not have any jobs specifically for H4 visa holders, as far as a search by The American Bazaar showed.