Unable to work, spouses of H-1B tech workers find roles limiting

Niyati Desai, who is living in Seattle on an H4 visa, should become eligible to work in the U.S. under a new plan recently announced by the Obama administration. (Courtesy photo)
Niyati Desai, who is living in Seattle on an H4 visa, should become eligible to work in the U.S. under a new plan recently announced by the Obama administration. (Courtesy photo)

The Seattle Times’ Pacific NW Magazine over the weekend featured the lives of local spouses of H-1B tech workers, who often struggle with identity after giving up their careers to support their families in the United States.

Despite an executive action plan announced last November by President Barack Obama to create a pathway to allow spouses of those with a H-1B visa to work, that approval can be a decades-long wait, a long career stall for the often-college educated spouses who accompany the workers to the United States, according to The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Globalist in February profiled one such spouse, Niyati Desai, who put her fast-rising career in advertising and marketing in Mumbai on hold when she joined her engineer husband in the Seattle area. Desai’s H-4 visa, given to the spouses of H-1B workers, doesn’t allow her to continue her career in the United States.

“When we married, my husband and I didn’t discuss my working in America at all. I just assumed that I would come here and do something successful. Nothing like that happened,” she told the Globalist.

Desai was looking forward to joining the job market after Obama’s executive action plan.

DHS’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services estimated that as many as 179,600 spouses — most of them women and many with advanced degrees — will initially be eligible for the new program, with an additional 55,000 each year going forward.

Read the story at The Seattle Times: Identity crisis: Wives of immigrant tech workers struggle to find purpose

2 Comments

  1. Respectfully, I do not understand why the media choses to ignore how loopholes in H-1b visa law harm American workers and their families and instead chose to focus on the plight of guest worker the spouse of guest workers in the US on H-1b visas. These guest workers and their families know exactly what they are getting into before they arrive in this country.

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