Now Domestic Violence Victims among H4 Visa Holders can Apply for Work Permit in USA

With the implementation of work authorization for the abused spouses of H1B visa holders, the victims of domestic violence among the H4 visa holders got a good reason to cheer in the current tumultuous political climate of USA.

Under the aegis of the 2005 Violence Against Women Act, the US Congress legalized work authorization for those who continue to suffer domestic abuse for the fear of losing their non-immigration status. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently brought it into effect much to the relief of abused H4 visa holders in USA.

Raksha, a non-profit South Asian women’s advocacy organization in Georgia, was one of the driving forces in mobilizing the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to implement the work authorization policy for the welfare of abused H4 visa holders. One in three women in immigrant communities is subjected to domestic violence, according to Aparna Bhattacharya, the executive director of Raksha.

USCIS, H4 visa news, US immigration, work permit in USA, Indian Eagle

USCIS released a new form for ‘Application for Employment Authorization for Abused Nonimmigrant Spouse’, titled I-765V. The spouses of highly-skilled foreign workers employed on H1B visas are entitled to H4 visa in the US. Most of H1B and H4 visa holders are from India. The new policy made it possible for those in or out abusive relationship with H1B visa holders to apply for temporary work authorization.

Those who have divorced their spouses (H1B visa holders) on grounds of domestic abuse have also been brought within the purview of the new policy for H4 visa holders. They can apply for work authorization for maximum two years. Generally, spouses of H1B visa holders stand the risk of losing their H4 status if they file for divorce. They become undocumented immigrants once the divorce is finalized.

Many H4 visa holders are threatened with the loss of immigration status if they walk out of the marriage. Thus abusive persons continue to subjugate their spouses to domestic violence, taking advantage of this rule. Divorce is no longer a cap on H4 visa holders’ rights to apply for temporary work authorization in the US. The abused spouses’ application for work permit has nothing to do with their partners’ status in the process of attaining legal permanent residency.

The new work authorization policy is a sort of empowerment for the abused H4 visa holders to be independent of their abusive partners and live out of the relationship without divorce, according to Nisha Karnani, an Indian American immigration attorney. The victims of domestic violence among H4 visa holders can also apply for a non-immigrant U visa, which is granted to those who have been subjected to physical or mental abuse.

However, the work authorization policy is not a permanent solution for the abused H4 visa holders. It does not entitle them to legal permanent residency in USA. They can apply for renewal of work permit on completion of two years. Once they get the work permit, they may have other better options for survival in the US.

Aparna Bhattacharya from Georgia-based Raksha, which currently advocates for 400 abused H4 visa holders, opined that continuation of work authorization for the abused spouses of H1B visa holders is not guaranteed in the Trump administration since the Department of Homeland Security has issued two directives to prioritize deportation of undocumented immigrants from USA.

Travel Beats is a portal for Indian Americans by Indian Eagle, a leading travel partner of Indians in USA. Travel Beats publishes the latest news and stories related o Indian Diaspora, air travel, young Indians, philanthropy, tourism and immigration.

8 thoughts on “Now Domestic Violence Victims among H4 Visa Holders can Apply for Work Permit in USA

  1. Mitesh Chauhan

    Here just posted the H4 woman’s issues but no body is trying to get H1 man’s sacrifice and how H1 man suffer at home. H1 mans still tries to balance his personal life and professional life. But no body knows about the life of H1 mans after he come back to home at evening.
    Whenever H1 mans are in office this all H4 women keep calls to her husband for very silly things and this women never want to live their life’s decision as independently. I know my wife has mental problem (Bipolar mood disorder) problem. I got married around 15 year before. I always try to persuade her for doing something by herself but she never do. Even she never go out from home alone whether it’s day time, evening or in morning because of scary nature. Whenever she has bipolar disorder attack she do screaming and she talks a lot which are irrelatively. If I bring her to store to get refreshing her mood so do crying in store too which gives trouble to H1 man. Even she don’t do her routine works at home and she don’t go for sleep till 2:00am or 3:00am. Also if I want to get fresh after coming to home I can’t watch TV as well because she feels that anything is there in TV serial the same thing will happen with her and she cry, yelling anything. In this situate if H1 person want to go out for not get into a trouble but how can he go in winter. This all things will not comes under domestic violence by law enforcement and in this women act. Also there is no any Violence Against Men Act so who is innocent? Nobody knows….
    I got into a trouble because of this weird law and weird law enforcement team. I remember when police has called to translator, the translator told that she might have mental issue or she is not able to understand my language which was in hindi.

    If there is law fro not hit to anyone then why law enforcement have some kind of law for this kind of daily harassment for H4 wife. Does it mean always man has to suffer on daily basis ? or man has to do suicide and get end of his life.

    • wellwisher

      So, sorry to know about your case. But not all the H1B are not that way. Indian men are generally grown up with superiority complex. And some times they can’t understand what H4 women go through here mentally. Even without any abuse, life for Indian women is stressful with lot of cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids etc. If they don’t know driving, it adds an extra dependency. Men should share some household work. If women had a good social life back in India, it really takes time to adjust here in initial years. It should be mutual understanding.

      Btw, in your case, is your wife on some medication? If not, consult a good psychiatrist . Have a certificate with you for her disorder. It probably help you to explain if any authority asks you.

      • Rakesh

        There is no data study to prove that Indian men are born with superiority either you dont know what is superiority or you have some malice intent.

        Take a look into Indian divorce cases, even court is now realizing this.

        The problem is, people take Western culture as gold standard and think that the problems that west has are same with Indian culture.

    • A

      Lol, No one gets dowry now but Men are paying dowry by giving substential amount just because of peace of paper. I am already seeing this but in another 20 years, sucessful men will prefer live-in relationship without involving uncle sam.

  2. Suneeta

    Where do i file for divorce ? India or in US ? As m on H4 i have no money to hire a lawyer !


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