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The H1-B Programs and Gender Inequality

The federal government is attempting to change its H1-B visa program, the program which is most responsible for allowing highly skilled immigrants to enter the United States for work. As it currently stands the spouses of such workers, which are generally admitted under the H4 category, are usually not be able to work when accompanying to their highly skilled partners to the country. The reform is expected to affect up to 100,000 people.

Under current immigration law, those admitted to the U.S. as H4 visa recipients enter under extremely limiting conditions. After leaving their native countries, many of these formally high-earning spouses are more or less consigned to living without being able to express themselves through work. Furthermore, the spouses are typically unable to get a Social Security number or even open a personal bank account. Many believe that these restrictions have prevented well qualified and highly skilled workers from immigrating to the United States, fearing that their spouses would be unfairly burdened by the move.

Gender equality bloggers and commentators have rightfully pointed out that the majority of the H4 visa recipients are women. The situation boils down to allowing the husband to come to the United States to work, but denying the wife the rights to so. The reforms will allow immigrants spouses to work, but more details have not been given as of yet. However, the reforms are expected to be significant as a result of continued pressure by the technology industry on lawmakers to do something to change the situation. In fact, recently the heads of major technological companies such as Google and Apple banded together to lobby Congress to overhaul the H1-B visa program altogether.

America is indeed part of the global economy. As such it is impossible to make a clear line of demarcation between the way American citizens are treated, the way visa recipients are treated, and the way spouses of visa recipients are treated in the country. The plight of H4 visa recipients has now been cast in the light of women’s rights and human rights. The fact that many highly qualified, skilled, and talented women must choose between their careers and a potentially better life in the United States for their families strikes many as an unfair, especially when such women may have valuable contributions that they could also make while living in the country.

If the United States’ visa and immigration laws and requirements seem confusing to you, you’re not alone. The fact is that anyone looking to enter the country or clarify their immigration status would likely benefit from to help of qualified attorney The Austin immigration attorney at the Lyttle Law Firm have the skills and expertise needed to help you. Give us a call today at 512-215-5225, or visit our website.

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