DHA proposes work permits for H4 dependents

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

May 9, 2014

WOODSIDE, NY– When Pasig native Rita Lactaoen came to the US as an H4 dependent of her husband in 2010, she knew she would not be allowed to work legally.

What she did not expect is that living in the US without the permit to work would be too tough for her and her family.

“Nasa bahay lang ako, umiiyak nga ako minsan para akong mababaliw kasi siyempre sayang yung panahon tapos nagpe-prepare ako ng baon ng mga anak ko pag pumasok na sila nandun lang ako mag-isa so sayang yung opportunity,” Lactaoen said.

H-1B temporary workers like Mang Louie Lactaoen can bring their spouses and children with them under the H4 visa category but it is illegal for dependents to seek employment while in the US.

“Elisa,” an H4 dependent spouse requested Balitang America not to reveal her identity for personal reasons.

Like Rita, Elisa came to the US under an H4 dependent visa in 2009.

“Alam kong hindi pwede magtrabaho pero hindi naman kasi yun ang number one na inisip ko eh, inisip ko yung mabuo kami ng family,” Elisa said.

Elisa, who was a former teacher in the Philippines has tried different ways to get a teaching job in New York, but failed to do so because she does not have the papers to prove her eligibility to work in the US.

She said while teaching is good for her soul, she needed the extra money to send her kids to college.

She said, “Elementary up to high school it’s okay, sagot ng gobyerno pero pagdating nila ng college mag-aaral na sila, kailangan may pera ka para sa kanila. So masakit yung puntong yun na hindi makapag-aral yung mga anak ko dahil kulang ang pera.”

But there’s good news for the estimated 97,000 H4 spouses like Rita and Elisa in the US.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that under a new proposal, H4 visa holders may be eligible to get an Employment Authorization Document or EAD card provided they have started a labor certification process or a green card application – a change of status to become permanent residents.
New York immigration lawyer Felix Vinluan said, “I think they are also targeting H-1B beneficiaries of the STEM categories. STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. Yun yata eh kasi they would like these people in this H-1B categories to remain in the country.”

Back in April, the White House announced that several proposals such as this one is being considered to make the US more attractive to talented high-skilled immigrants who will contribute substantially to the US economy, create jobs and enhance American innovative competitiveness.

“Alam ko namang kaya ko, eh. Minsan nga, naisip ko na sumulat kay President Obama to inform or para malaman niya kung gaano kahirap sa aming mga H4. Na meron naman kaming i-co-contribute at kaya naming mag contribute dito sa inyong bansa,” Elisa said.

“Unang-una, pumasok naman kami dito as legal. Yun nga lang, H4 hindi siya pwede magtrabaho,” Louie Lactaoen said. “Lalo na yung asawa ko. Accountancy siya, so gusto niya ma-iapply yung napagaralan niya dito kasi para sa akin maganda yung ginagawang move ni Obama.”

A notice of the proposed rule will soon be published in the Federal Register.
The Homeland Security Department encourages the public to comment on the proposed rule through www.regulations.gov.

Meantime, the US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who recognizes the extraordinary contributions immigrants have made to America’s economy, says that the US needs to do more actions like this to retain and attract world class talents to America.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

16 Comments on this post.

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  • Mario
    10 May 2014 at 2:23 am - Reply

    97,000 H4 dependent visa. Hard working American taxpayers will pay for the foods in school and education of their children.

    • Haha
      12 May 2014 at 12:23 am - Reply

      Ano daw?

  • JRB
    11 May 2014 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    That’s why most the kids in America don’t have good education in America because we have people from other countries that can’t talk good English, but teach kids in school? Wake up America why we need this people when they have 2nd class education from 3th world countries very poor countries? We have alot of Americans kids in college that will become school teachers long down the road? If this people from other countries want jobs make sure they go back to school to higher they education and can talk good English before you hire them for jobs in America?

    • Haha
      12 May 2014 at 12:22 am - Reply

      JRB, your English is so bad I think you’re the one who should go back to school. :-p

    • Haha
      12 May 2014 at 12:22 am - Reply

      JRB, your English is so bad I think your the one who should go back to school. :-p

      • JRB
        12 May 2014 at 12:27 pm - Reply

        @Haha look like you don’t know how to use a computer or is it a cheap computer? when you have to push your enter button on your cheap computer two times? what a Clown you are? Go back to school to learn how to use a computer actor who thinks your smarter than other people?

        • Haha
          12 May 2014 at 2:48 pm - Reply

          At least my English is good. 🙂 When you get the chance to improve your English, can you kindly repost your comment in a coherent manner that we can all understand? It’s hard to argue with you when we don’t even understand what you’re trying to say.

          FYI, I’m using a phone. 🙂

  • JRB
    12 May 2014 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    @Haha What you think your smarter than me? I don’t think so, why do you think your smarter than me? People like you that come from a 3th world countries is hopeless in education. That’s why you have to go back to school if you want a job in America? So please if you come from Philippines go back to school if you want a good job in my country not your country? Do you understand “DUMMY”. I hate people like you that act like your smart but can’t talk English good? I begin to see a lot of you from Philippines act like your all smart but don’t have any money that’s why your all in America begging for jobs because you all are so poor? Can understand what I said? Or I have to say it again or spell it out for you @Haha?

    • Haha
      12 May 2014 at 3:25 pm - Reply

      I’m getting a headache reading your reponse. I am so happy that you know how to spell “dummy” but you need to have a better grasp when it comes to constructing sentences and using punctuations. Keep studying English and you will get there. By the way, I don’t know if I’m smarter than you but I can definitely construct way better English sentences than you. It’s a shame since English is you native language, right? If you were indeed a product of the American education, which I assume based on your comments, then it has definitely failed you.

      Now, let’s get back to the real argument. Foreign teacher who want to teach in America, take a series of tests to determine if they are good enough to teach in the United States. It’s called “getting a license”, JRB. To get a license, they must demonstrate, among other things, that they can write better English sentences than you so that the kids that graduate under their watch don’t end up being like you.

      • JRB
        13 May 2014 at 8:33 am - Reply

        @Haha your don’t know anything about America, look people from Kentucky, Hawaii, from Alabama and see how they present they English? I’m sorry to say that your to poor to travel around America to really know how we Americans are educated, all you from the Philippines is poor and can’t buy a plane ticket to see the real way we Americans live. So poor man try to learn the right way we live in America? “DUMMY”. Oh forgot to ask you why your in America? If you looking for a job forget it we have a lot filipinos cleaning toilets.

        • Haha
          13 May 2014 at 9:36 am - Reply

          No need to go there buddy. You are the perfect example on how Americans can be poor with their own language. Based on how you comment, you seem like an older person but with a poor education. You seem angry at a lot of things that has happened in your life and you are looking for someone or a group of people to blame so you can feel superior for the first time in your life. I have a lot of sympathy for you.

          Please continue spewing insults if that would make you feel better.

          • JRB
            13 May 2014 at 1:38 pm -

            @Haha it hurts when the truth comes out about you all from the Philippines? Can’t take it buddy? Yes I have sympathy for people like you when you make fun of as Americans. So please watch what you say about us Americans? Because we are a lot of Americans that can’t say smart things like you “JERK” now do you understand where you stand in America buddy?

          • John Doe
            13 May 2014 at 10:30 pm -

            @Haha is right. @JRB claims he is an American citizen but he can’t write proper English sentences. Did you go to school here in the United States? Where? Why do Filipino nationals write better English than you? Are you retarded?

  • John
    13 May 2014 at 5:09 am - Reply

    It doesn’t matter anymore. There are not enough jobs in America only jobs like dishwasher, laundry or cook which make people at risk for high blood. Take a look at Canada, they stop hiring OFW already, because the locals don’t have jobs. It’s a worldwide crisis for unemployment.The US is producing thousands of graduates like nurses every year including teachers. Pretty soon it would be the same like Philippines to stop education and nursing majors because it couldn’t accomodate the population.

  • andy
    24 February 2015 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    For God sake, don’t ever pass this rule. We ourselves find hard to keep our jobs and passing this rule is going to ruin our lifes. Please Please protest against this rule. We are trying so hard to put bread on table for family and this rule will completely shatter us. PROTEST

  • green
    3 March 2015 at 11:25 am - Reply

    mapili lang kase ang mga american citizens kaya they end up being jobless. kung tutuusin, they are highly prioritized in jobs. kung ayaw nila, natural sasaluhin ng mga may EAD.
    do not blame these people as H1b and their dependents are highly skilled and definitely can speak english, ang mga hindi marunong ay yung mga latino na nagcocross ng border na hinahayaan lang ng administration, which is very unfair sa mga nagpapakahirap mag-apply at pumila ng visa abroad.

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