Children Of H1B Visa Holders Face An Uncertain Future; Is US Govt Forcing ‘Aged-Out’ Kids To Deport?
As per the report, recently The US Senate has blocked one of the proposed bills-S386, which was supposed to remove per country green card application limit. This is mainly affecting the Indian families whose children have aged out 21 or on the way to reach there.
How Did This Happen?
During this phase, these children are still studying, with this news they have no choice but to apply for an F-1 visa, which is applied by international students and continue their studies in the US or they will have to deport themselves to India.
Moreover, there is no security of getting an F-1 visa. If they think of coming back to India then it would be quite difficult for them as many of them migrated to the US when they were very much younger. Now it would be difficult for them to adapt to the Indian environment.
Why Did This Happen?
The main reason behind this issue is the long queue for green cards. The US has fixed a 1.4 lac green card quota for employment-based applicants and also they capped 7% limit for every country.
This policy mostly affects the huge Indan population in the US who hold H1-B visa.
Cyrus Mehta, founder of a New York-based immigration law firm said “Unlike people born in other countries, those born in India are subject to a decade long backlogs. So most other nationals get their green card within the six-year term of the H-1B, but not Indians,”.
According to the report, around 6.32 Indians are waiting for their green card in employment based immigration category till April, 2018. The employment-based green card backlog has 76% Indians who are waiting for their green cards.
Who Is Affected The Most?
“On turning 21, I hit a wall I hadn’t even thought would affect me – it was my immigration status,” said an Ohio based student who is pursuing a masters degree in technology.
While his younger sister didn’t get affected as she is a US citizen by birth. But not all the children of H1-B parents are born in the USA.
Further elaborating his story he said “When I applied to graduate school, I was considered an international student. After I complete my studies, I will continue to be treated as an alien and will be allowed to work only through the complicated H-1B visa lottery system,”.
Also, F-1 visa applicants have to prove a non-immigrant intent in case of aged-out children which will create a problem too.
“Many of the cases where a change to student status is requested do get approved. But there are also cases where it is rejected owing to the boilerplate reason that the student has the entire family in the US, therefore they have no ties to their home country. The life of a youngster and the family unity should not have to depend upon the ‘benevolence’ of an immigration officer,” said Rajiv Khanna, Arlington-based immigration advocate.
Moreover, these children have to face problems like higher fees like any other international student, lack of scholarships and they also can not work part-time.
In Need Of A Tiny Ray Of Hope
The good part is that many activists are showing support for this ‘H4-dreamers’(aged-out children).
The volunteer working with community group Win Virginia, Vikas Grover said that there is no end to the problems these kids are facing. He has arranged meeting of children and their parents with senators and advised them to write a petition about it.
This led Senator Mark Warner to co-sponsor this bill. The Indians are hoping that their voice will be heard soon.
According to Khanna “Lifting of the green card cap will be the first step that will help future generations of children,’. (reference TOI)
Mehta Added “In addition to removing the per country quotas, an ideal legislation to resolve the backlog is to not count family members in the cap, but only the principal applicant,”.