Asha and Ravi were a happy couple. After an agonizing year and a half of misery living as an H4 wife, Asha had finally got her H1 visa. She had found a job with a high school in New York city who filed for her H1 visa. She was lucky and the visa got approved.
She had already been working for a few months now.
Life was all settled and going on nicely. Their combined income afforded them a very comfortable lifestyle. Life was great. They would save for a while, buy a big house in the suburbs with their own garden. Ravi had his Lexus. Asha would get her second love, a Honda CRV. They would have two kids and a dog. If all went well, Asha and Ravi would achieve their American dream in a few years.
All did not go well. Their dream was to come crashing soon.
Ravi’s trading division at Goldman Sachs had been struggling under the weight of the ongoing financial woes. Goldman decided to cut off the aching arm.
Ravi no longer had a job. Ah…the vagaries of life!
They would keep him on the payroll for three months, and he had that much time to look for a job. After the three month period, he would no longer be employed and Goldman would notify USCIS to revoke his H1 visa.
As it turned out, 14 February was going to be D-day. If he did not have a job by then, he would be out of status. If he stayed in the US beyond that date he would be living illegally, and doing that would hurt his chances of ever again getting a US visa, forget Green card or citizenship.
February was ringing in. Ravi had been looking for over two months, but nothing had worked out. At his level there were hardly any jobs out there. For the few ones the competition was intense. With a hundred people competing for each job, the odds didn’t really stack very well in his favor. Employers were beginning to give preference to American citizens. Some were outright refusing to sponsor H1 visas.
Ravi was out for drinks with some of his ex-colleagues from Lehman. Like elsewhere on Wall street, his group had consisted of a lot of immigrants like himself. Swamy was his closest buddy.
Swamy was done with America. I am going back to India man, i made enough money. He was going to leave next month, and take a few months off traveling across the country. For some weird reason, he didn’t seem worried about what he was going to do once he was done traveling. You have gone crazy..why would you go to India?
Ravi couldn’t follow Swamy’s footsteps. He had too much at stake. He had his unfulfilled American dream. He had left India behind for good. Besides, what would he do in India? Who would pay the kind of salary he wanted?
All hope was not lost yet though. Ravi had one more interview lined up with this hedge fund in Connecticut. If that went through, all problems would be solved. If it didn’t work out, there was nothing he could do. Except for that one last recourse.
The interview was on 5th February. On the 3rd he picked up the Wall Street Journal only to read the headline that made his heart sink. His hedge fund had folded. It was gone – buried under the rubble of a few billion dollars of losses.
He picked up the phone and called Asha. It was time to take the drastic step he had hoped he would never have to consider. He was going to call the lawyer and file an application for transferring his visa to H4, as Asha’s dependent. That was the only way he could stay on in this country, and get some more time to find a job.
Ravi was going to be an H4 husband.
Life had come full circle for this happy couple.