Manasi Vasavada has less than three weeks left before she loses her legal right to be in the country. The dental practice in Passaic County, New Jersey, where Vasavada, 31, has worked for almost two years closed its doors in mid-March due to Covid-19. She has been on an unpaid leave of absence ever since.
As many as 250,000 guest workers seeking a green card in the U.S. About 200,000 of them on H-1B visas could lose their legal status by the end of June
Vasavada is in the country on an H-1B visa, a temporary visa program designed for people with specialised skills. H-1B recipients can only remain in the country legally for 60 days without being paid. Her husband Nandan Buch, also a dentist, is in the country on an H-1B visa that expires in June. They have been watching the days tick by with growing fear.
There may soon come a point when the couple cannot stay and cant go: India, their home country, has closed its borders indefinitely. They also have a combined $520,000 in student loans from the advanced dental degrees they completed at U.S. universities, which would be nearly impossible to pay back on the salaries they would earn in India. The stress has caused Buch, also 31, to start losing his hair. Neither of them is sleeping well. “Everything is really confusing and dark right now”, said Vasavada. “We dont know where we will end up”.