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Profile: One H-1B Visa Holder's Quest For A Green Card

The wait for a green card can last years, but this worker says it's worth it.
For H-1B workers hoping to stay in the United States, the course is often fraught with obstacles. H-1B visas are good for three years and can be renewed once, for a total of six years. In the meantime, workers can apply for green cards if a U.S. employer sponsors them. But the wait for a green card can be years, causing some frustrated but talented professionals to move elsewhere.

As maddening as the green-card process can be, H-1B holder Joty Bains is anxiously waiting for hers. Bains works for staffing firm Hudson and is contracted to one of Hudson's clients--a large bank--as an Oracle database administrator working with financial data in online banking. She's been working for the bank for nine months, and before that she worked for a software development company for six years. She went to a U.S. college, which meant she had one year she could work without an H-1B visa, and has had her H-1B visa renewed once.

Bains is looking forward to staying in the United States, where she says there are more opportunities for a woman IT pro than in her native India. Her family is from northern India, but most of the Indian tech industry is in the south. It's culturally more acceptable for Bains to be living in the United States as a single career woman than it would be for her to stay in India but move away from her family.

As a vocal and assertive Indian woman, Bains figures she has raised more eyebrows among male Indian colleagues in the United States than she has with U.S. workers, which is part of why she wants to stay here. Says Bains, "I don't think I'll ever be limited in my career if I can stay in the U.S."

Continue to the sidebars:
Profile: H-1B Worker Tells About Risks
and Profile: Where An H-1B Visa Holder Comes From Matters

Return to the story:
In Depth: Why We Need The H-1B