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