The Hindu: Sheela Murthy Speaks on H-4 Visa Problems

150 150 Sheela Murthy

Murthy Law Firm founder and president, Sheela Murthy, was interviewed for a recent article in The Hindu, a leading Indian newspaper, about problems facing the spouses of H1B visa holders, who typically enter the United States on H-4 visas that forbid them to work here. [See On the H-4, a Trail of Misery and Lonely Battles, by Narayan Lakshman, The Hindu, 30.Jul.2012.]

According to The Hindu, spouses of H1B workers sometimes face unexpected difficulties after they arrive in the United States – difficulties of a highly personal nature, ranging from a sense of isolation to full-blown depression, often accompanied by physical ailments, all borne of the inability to work outside the home. According to the article, spouses with unmet educational and career aspirations can find themselves deeply frustrated by the restrictions imposed on them as H-4 visa holders. To find out why H-4 visa holders remain unable work, The Hindu spoke with Sheela Murthy who:

“… told The Hindu that there had occasionally been talk in official circles about granting H-4 visa holders the right to work, but ‘that was before the economy tanked.’ Apart from the sheer political pressure that any government would face if its tries to push through such a reform, it could also lead to some uncomfortable questions as to why the spouses of other visa holders – including the A, B, C, D, G, and F visas – could not similarly be given the right work.”

The article in The Hindu raises provocative questions about the H-4 visa program, the human cost of its strict ban on working, and the possibility of moderating the ban at some future time. Murthy notes that the case for granting H-4 visa holders the right to work is a “strong but not winning argument,” and that the lobbying effort for this has not been forceful or consistent enough, up to now, to carry the day. As a longtime advocate for women’s rights, Murthy remains concerned about the difficult situations facing many H1B spouses, and she will continue to carefully monitor these issues.


Copyright © 2012, SHEELA MURTHY. All Rights Reserved


Vasant Nayak

All stories by: Vasant Nayak