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Doors to 'The Golden Cage' open for tech-visa spouses on May 26

Tech and other companies in South Carolina and across the nation often have staffing needs they cannot meet by only looking into the local application pool. In many cases, they must even look beyond our country’s borders and utilize the alien labor certification process or Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) to employ foreign talent.

It is easy to think of only the employees who immigrate to the United States and work on a visa in isolation, but these individuals have families. Many of them have very successful wives who have their own careers. The spouses can obtain H-4 visas, but these do not authorize their right to work in the country.

Under President Obama’s executive order on immigration, the Department of Homeland Security will extend eligibility for employment authorization to many of these spouses. If the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have approved a working spouse to apply for a green card, the non-working spouse will also be eligible.

Many employees have applications already in the works, and their spouses will no longer have to wait for long periods, some of which can stretch up to eight or 10 years. They will only have to wait until May 26.

The inability of spouses to be able to work created a phenomenon that has become known as “The Golden Cage.” The foreign workers earn a living, and so the family has the income they need, but the spouses still feel trapped. We will explore this more in our next post on the subject.

Source: The Seattle Times, “Tech workers’ spouses ready, eager to work under new immigration rules,” Lynn Thompson, April 7, 2015

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