Is H-1B anxiety playing havoc with Indian lives in America?

 

No one is talking about the silent stress affecting their health.

For many Indians stuck in green card backlog and visa delays, the anxiety about their future is resulting in serious health issues.

Yet, no one is talking about this silent stress playing havoc in the lives of many on non-immigrant visas in America.

Anu Kumar, an H-4 EAD holder, who lives and works in Kentucky had an uneasy night. As she speaks to the American Bazaar over the phone from her home she sounds groggy and agitated.

“I received a WhatsApp message about a colleague’s wife last evening who suffered miscarriage,” she says. “Her gynecologist suspect that this may be because of stress.”

It was no secret to the couple’s close friends that the family was in a lot of stress about their pending H-1B extension application.

The family had invested in a house in the US and expecting a new child they were worried about stability in their lives.

Their endless wait for green card coupled with the investment they had made in the US and fear of visa rejection at a time when they would need medical insurance for pregnancy were some of the things that weighed heavily on their minds.

“This whole living in a limbo is affecting the lives of more Indians than we can imagine,” says Kumar.

There are many other Indians like Kumars affected by the uncertainty of their status.

Sudhir Soni another Indian on an employment based L-1 visa in the US says, “Every week, I get at least one GoFundMe update about an Indian who had a premature death.

“The families are suddenly left wondering about their status and how to re-build their lives as they are mourning.”

Many Indians who are active on immigration groups online admit that there is an increase in the number of young deaths and GoFundMe updates.

“People are dying because of this stress. Every day I get one GoFundMe message,” says a member on condition of anonymity.

“I would urge people to share their mind. Don’t keep the stress with you. H-1B denial or RFE (request for evidence) is not the end of the world.”

The worries of many Indians on visas are not unfounded. Many Indian families in Plano, Texas are still mourning the loss of 39-year-old Sreedhar Digajarla, who died suddenly due to a cardiac arrest late last month.

As America readied for the festive season, Digajarla left behind a   grieving widow and a 10-year-old son. Friends set up a GoFundMe page to organize for the family’s travel and funeral expenses as well as a new place for them to live in.

Just before this Fremont, California based Kalidass Rajarathinam suffered a cardiac arrest while on a hike with his wife and son

at the Yosemite National Park.

Also in December, New Jersey based Rajesh Sumra suffered a severe stroke and now faces a long and arduous road to a brave recovery in the rehab.

Netra Chavan, who manages the largest immigration Facebook group, says she is no stranger to people’s stress and anxiety about their lives on visa.

“I feel blessed that groups such as ours are helping out people to vent out the stress to some extent.”

Chavan gets several messages each day from people who are worried about their status and future owing to visa delays.

She encourages them to talk to others in similar situation and seek help from immigration attorneys as well as doctors to ensure that the stress is not taking a toll on their health.

“The fear of maintaining the status, especially in H-1B holder families is growing day by day,” says Chavan.

“Cumbersome documentation and financial burden, spouse’s lost career, resume gap and visa stamping fears are enough to put any one in stress.”

And while cynics may blame those on work visas for introducing this uncertainty in their lives knowingly, Chavan points to another set of young Indians on visa who may be suffering for no fault of theirs.

“Legal dreamers are worried about their change of status and the fear of leaving the country,” she says.

“Family separation is a real issue and all these factors can have professional as well as psychological impact.”

“There are unseen, unknown ill-effects of these conditions on the health of people and we are sadly seeing some early deaths,” says Chavan.

“The Indian green card backlog community is constantly helping the American economy and generating more jobs, they certainly do not deserve this health scare.”

READ MORE:

DHS announces additional $10 fee for H1-B electronic registration (September 3, 2019)

On H-1B day, a new report urges Congress to increase the H1-B cap (April 2, 2019)

H1-B filing season begins April 1. What can one expect this year? (March 18, 2019)

Can H1-B Premium Processing result in increased scrutiny, more RFEs? (March 13, 2019)

Indian American arrested on H1-B, naturalization fraud charges (February 6, 2019)

Indian American family faces deportation for $20 million H-1B visa fraud scheme (December 29, 2017)

H-1B Visa fraud: Indian American Sunitha Guntipally gets four years (December 6, 2017)

USCIS prepares to double on-site visits to detect H-1B visa and L-1 visa frauds (November 30, 2017)

30 Comments

  1. Software Dev

    The Americans displaced by cheap foreign workers also suffer undue stress. The H1B visa is a total sham and is completely discredited by the glaring evidence if one looks at decades of stagnant tech wages, worker displacement, etc.

    The American economy takes a huge hit if students saddled with student debt cannot find entry level STEM jobs because they were outsourced to low-skilled Indian immigrants. The OPT/H1B is riddled with fraud, fake degrees, and fake resumes. Its time to end the H1B except for American trained Phds in fields with salaries above 300k.

  2. The Indians think that its their birth right to steal jobs in a developed country. They think USA is obligated to move them here permanently from the filth in India, otherwise they would harrass our lawmakers. These guys will just turn our country into another India if we dont boot them out of here.
    It is very simple we jut need more and more Americans aware of these dangerous visa programs and they would evaluate for themselves how it would impact them.

    Thanks
    Amit

  3. This is totally unnecessary!! H1B is a voluntary visa program. No one is forcing anyone to stay or not. If anxiety is unbearable, then it is best to leave US and go where you feel more stable. We need to stop victimhood mentality. I, myself, am not H1B. If things work out in US, FINE. If not, FINE.
    I hope H1B was not a dual intent visa (wishful thinking) and expectation were straightforward. Study, work, move on after 6 years.

    • Your comment is also totally unnecessary. If H1-B was only for moving on after 6 years, you would not have seen a current Google CEO in this country. It is all because of H1-Bs there was so much advancements happening in Technology Space. You could not even imagine the US with out H1-Bs. You would understand the pain of a H1-B if you are a H1B. Everybody has a choice to stay in or go back. When they want to stay back, then they want a life with out uncertainties.

    • My company went through tough times. There were several round of layoffs. It was extremely stressful. Most of the US citizens slowly moved out. All the indians who had little choice were left in an extremely stressful state. Now my company has majority indian employees in technology department.

  4. 15 years in the USA and still waiting for green card. I just need an opportunity to switch jobs easily, travel to india freely but life gives other things to you. I dont think there is a scale anyone has, to measure the stress we go through every day here.

  5. H1B and L1 visa scum go back to India, no one wants you here. Sick and tired of these sob stories. They steal our jobs and then pretend like nothing happened.

    • We are sick and tired of racist comments by few retards. No body came here with your invitation to go back when you ask them to. No body including your country men cares about you.

      • But you got in by faking your resume, lying about your education, submitting bogus visa applications, cheating on interviews, right? You STOLE a job that legitimately belonged to an American and you have no right to do so nor are entitled to it. Get the hell out, no one wants you in the US. GO BACK TO INDIA, THEY DESERVE DIMWITS LIKE YOU.

        • There may be few who are faking resumes. It is the responsibility of employers to check before taking them in. Don’t exaggerate on faking resumes and cheating on interviews etc. I am in no way to support them. Just because of some people, you can’t judge all who are here on H1-B. Businesses need people who can do the job not Americans. Just because you are an American, Businesses don’t have an obligation to offer you a job. You need the right skill do that job. Even now there are thousands of jobs if you want a job in Technology space. Don’t dream that jobs will come to your house if all the H1-Bs go out. It doesn’t work like that. If all the H1bs go out, then jobs will also go out. You will still be blaming others for your inability. Speak like a grown up.

  6. Indians always talk about their problems because of the wait. But Americans have suffered a lot due to layoffs by cheap H1B from India. People in companies like IBM have truly suffered after being replaced by H1B from India. The whole reason for the backlog is because of massive flooding by Indians using very dubious methods like EB1C. If only Obama and his administration (with people like Leon Fresco) had done their job of enforcing the rules, nobody (Indians and American workers) would be in this situation.

    • Proud American

      That is 100% correct. Obama and his F-ing goons were such a failure let’s not even go there. He allowed massive numbers of visa workers into the country just flooding the market with cheap IT labor from India and depressing wages for decades to come. Such a disaster. That dope should of been voted (booted?) out after his first term but alas, hindsight is 20/20.

  7. Sakthidasan Janarthanan

    This is such a shame. America is a different country. You aint born in it. It will do what is good for it.
    If they allow then work. If not return. Whats bad in it.
    Indians are accustomed to be slaves and these immigrated ones, will do anything for survival.

    It is a good move by America for Indians to realise. How foolish they are.

  8. @Pav , @L ,
    You guys should also consider the tax which an H1 B pays .That money is helping your social security ! H1 B will not get a single penny .

    • Barbara Mullen

      If they get paid less than the American worker, they’ll pay less social security tax, so net loss to Americans.

      • I’m an Indian myself but I find this ridiculous
        1. People came here on their own will and can leave on their own will. If they choose to stay in a stressful situation it’s their choice.

        2. Every country can choose to set its own immigration laws based on its Citizens’ interests. Non-citizens should either follow them or leave. If they find them unfair, too bad.

        3. Indian companies like Infosys, TCS etc set up shop in US and hire mostly Indians. On the contrary any other foreign company (Toyota, BMW, Samsung etc) hire locals. Imagine what would happen if all American companies in India hired mostly Americans and not locals. It would not go down well. So yes, there is a discrimination against Americans in these companies.

        4. Having a house or child born in USA does not entitle you to a green card. You made these choices knowing all that there was no such law so take responsibility of your choice.

        5. Some H1B holders seem to have an inflated opinion about themselves. No – America existed before you and can exist without you. I have 2 masters degrees from top 10 universities including one from an Ivy League but I still don’t keep calling myself as “highly skilled” and act as if I’m the driver of this country’s economy.

        5. Stay positive, try to assimilate and enjoy the culture and be humble. If you don’t agree with the laws, the door is wide open.

    • Legal Immigrant

      If you consider the OPT program, then no, they do not pay into Social Security. H-1B yes, but OPT is becoming more popular which is pre-H1b in a sense and lasts for 3 years. It is even cheaper labor than H1B and no need to pay into social security.

      That said, no one seems to care about the actual intent of H-1B holders. One of them blatantly told me that is THE WAY to immigrate to the US and path to citizenship. The problem is H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa, and legally USCIS is supposed to evaluate intent before approving. No one at USCIS bothered to ask these people what their intentions were? Legally, H1B applicants cant have any other intent but to fulfill the visa terms and return to their country afterwards. If any holder responds with anything other than ‘to temporarily fill a work position and return to my country after the visa expires’ then it should be denied. It’s that simple.

      So USCIS is in fact also to blame for allowing companies to dupe these Indians into thinking that H1B is a path to permanent residency here.

  9. A lot of this is because mediocre people find entry to America and are not competent enough to deal with competition back home in India. The competent ones are not worried as they would find opportunities anywhere else. This is a problem not only for them but also for Amercia which on one hand is getting mediocre services and on the other hand is missing out on the real top notch talent. A lot of these “stressed” ones come here through family contacts or by entering low quality US institutions and then crawling into the workforce by faking their abilities.

  10. Vince Civiletto

    Do these a-holes care about the jobs lost, homes repossessed, careers destroyed, lives uprooted, divorces caused and children affected by THEIR COMING TO AMERICA, STEALING MILLIONS OF JOBS USING BOGUS CREDENTIALS AND FAKE VISAS??? Why are they even here? Who invited them here to suffer “miscarriage”? Its a miscarriage of justice when these scum are allowed due process under our country’s laws. THEY SHOULD BE DEPORTED ASAP FOR EVEN DARING TO QUESTION OUR GOVERNMENT. Yet they assault senators (remember Dick Durbin?), protest at govt. offices day in and day out, challenge our system in court, deprive nationals of other countries their valid and due benefits, ceaselessly abuse benefits reserved for US citizens, and flood the country with more of their useless cohorts. These Indians are the worst of the worst, NO ONE WANTS THEM HERE, SEND THEM BACK NOW.

    • Do you have any factual information to support your claim? Do you even know what you are talking about? Don’t follow anti-immigrant groups blindly. They are spreading lies with all the fake information to misguide you for their selfish motives. You look like a immature and miserably failed immigrant from a third world under rated country.

  11. If s386 and h1044 are signed into law, Americans will no longer study STEM fields, the military will lose talented American born citizens, thus harming the nation, and poverty for native born citizens will increase.
    OPT and F1 visa holders (uncapped so unlimited in number) do not pay into Social Security which is running out of funds. Lower wages (though outsourcing) and off-shoring have made the reality of a cut in SS benefits and higher taxes probable. Medicare and SS are funded with wage taxes, and the middle class pays for them.
    Americans are not responsible for employing the entire world. Americans are the ones who our elected official must protect first.
    I’ve read many posts about the impact on older American workers who lose their jobs as well. Their financial lives are over when they hit 50 and are outsourced. They never get hired again. What about them?

  12. Thanks, American Bazaar for bringing this serious problem to its readers’ attention!
    I know it’s easy for me to advise, but I would say these H1B holders need to look at the half-cup-full side of the story! They are in a far better position than billions in the world and many millions in India! And nothing is going to improve by having the anxiety over H1B situation!
    So, enjoy as long as you are in this country and in the worst case, move back to India and try to make India as good as the US!

  13. How much havoc has H-1B wrecked in American’s lives?
    On his last day on the job, Kevin Flanagan, after clearing out a few personal effects and putting them in boxes in the back of his Ford Ranger, left the building where he’d worked for seven years.
    He settled into the front seat of his pickup truck on the lower level of the company garage, placed a twelve-gauge Remington shotgun to his head, and pulled the trigger. He was forty-one years old.
    Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele The first journalists in history to win both the Pulitzer Prize for newspaper work and its magazine equivalent for magazine reporting

  14. This is no secret that this H1b has taken life of many Indian tech workers jeopardise the family life. Kids education is affected because of uncertainty, families are forced to stay at low income even thought spouse is educated to support but forced not to earn. Ongoing visa extension, stress of denial, H1b is not being abused workers on H1b specifically from India are abused by making them stand in line till they die.

    • Well, Indians joined the queue and CONTINUE to join the queue in spite of the problems you mention! Nothing will stop Indians from FLOODING the queues. So why should the American govt try to relieve their problem, especially when American workers have been hammered by cheap H1B from India? Many American families have been sadly let go just when they should planning to retire.

      • American Govt should stop the queue from growing. Either they should stop the GCs or should give all in a reasonable time. When water is flooding into your house, would you do something to stop or would you ask the water to stop? Just a common sense question.

  15. Life became so not easy after my H1b. My wife got her H1b approved and travelled to the US in 2017 Feb and we started living apart. During 2017 Apr an employer sponsored H1b for me and it was picked up in the lottery. Since we were living apart, I stepped up and went to the US as a dependent thinking that Once my H1b is approved, I can do a COS. But it turned out to be an RFE by Oct 2017.RFE evidences filed and the H1b was rejected by Feb 2018. Again the employer sponsored H1b during 2018 Apr and the same scenariO of RFE during 2018 Oct and denial during Feb 2019 happened. Wife could not leave the US since her employer and client were not relieving her from the project. Somehow Nov 2019 we returned back to India. I am on a job hunt now and till now I couldn’t get a job and the majority reason being the 2+ years gap. Too tough and thinking if not IT, what other job i can do?

    • Vince Civiletto

      Good for you and GOOD RIDDANCE. Don’t come back to America, we don’t want you, your wife, or others like you here. Stay in India, its your country and it should take care of you.

      • Who are you tell him not to come back. He did not come here on your invitation. Your country needed him and that is the reason he was here. He followed the due process to come here. If you have problem with foreigners in this country fight with your country against it. Tell them why you don’t want them., You have no right to say to No to any body who is coming into this country. Your leaders know what is good for the country. Just stop being stereotype by using the words cheap labor, blah blah blah. The average H1B salary is more than the average American salary. Wake up and look at the facts and try to be competent in this competent world. Businesses don’t look at nationality they look at skill who can do the job for them. Stop dreaming that if all H1bs go away from this country you all incompetent get jobs. If h1bs go away, so do jobs.

  16. How much havoc has H-1B wrecked in American’s lives?

    On his last day on the job, Kevin Flanagan, after clearing out a few personal effects and putting them in boxes in the back of his Ford Ranger, left the building where he’d worked for seven years.

    He settled into the front seat of his pickup truck on the lower level of the company garage, placed a twelve-gauge Remington shotgun to his head, and pulled the trigger. He was forty-one years old.
    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/164729556.html

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