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Importance Of Leadership
Characteristics Of A Leader
Decision Making
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Behavioral Disorders
Being Articulate
Difference Between Management And Leadership
Anti-piracy bills shelved by US Congress
Censoring social media curbs freedom of speech
Europe is like a Hindi movie: Premji
Photography Lighting
Underworld threat to Rushdie? Mumbai police deny information
Symphony ties up with Microsoft
Limiting the infinite
Who should pay tax in India or in US
Kolaveri Di song an example of viral marketing
Beware! US is spying on you on Twitter
Apple co-founder
Beware of the H-4
The Great Indian Talent Hunt
Yahoo!'s Got Peanut Butter All Over
Google + YouTube = GooTube?
Companies That Can Change The World
Web 2.0
The Asian Work Challenge
First time flyers
If Compliance be the food of corporate security: Munch on
Reverse Migration
Shades of Ancient Rome in Call Centres
Mobile Business Studio
Jobs with Bonds - Not the best Bond
Business Process Management (BPM) technology
India beckon Returnees
Unbound Compute for Enterprise Java
Indian job market
Phishing - Online fraud
Artificial Hygiene
Radio frequency identification (RFID)
Gartner's 2005 predictions for Asia-Pacific
Mobile gaming Boom
Wireless local area network
Internet security and Hacking
Optical networking
Outsourcing: A global Phenomenon
Emerging Grid computing
Using Linux in Embedded Systems
Windows XP Service Pack 2
IT outsourcing results in net US job growth
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It's got under my skin
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DNA Outside the Gene
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A Tale of Two Protocols
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Is Small the next Big Thing
Zero tolerance for downtime
VC Tree is still Green
Innovation @ the speed of thought
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Beefing up Product Development
Unwiring the Enterprise: Wireless Lans
How is India Inc Surviving?
Bullish run for India chip industry
Next networking evolution
Indian handhelds come of age with Kaii
Digital Dividend for farmers
No full stops in IT
Flexed muscles do not mean war
Where is the job market heading?
Offshore projects help companies buck downtrend
Annual performance review
Fingertip Computing: Smart world of web services
Diary of a Start-Up
Sinha fails to walk the talk
Return of the Native
How VCs suck life out of a company
High volumes, low margins is IT's new reality
Performance on par: Infosys Q3 results
2001: Bitter-sweet pill
Markets, family decline Fiorina's offer
Growing power of back office boys
Vision Software
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Honesty is the best downturn cure
Other India and The Road Ahead
Braving the Taliban's guns
India Inc. heaves at US' Onward India mantra

Broken promises: H-1B work contracts

Bye Uncle Sam, Europe's
H-1B workers feel pinch of US downturn
Pink slips make H-1B workers see red
Complete text of Budget 2001
Why Indian techies can laugh away slowdown fears?
Give your career a start-up boost
Stop b******* about the US Consulate
Why IT pros prefer US to Europe?

Beware of the H-4

Previously it was a tale seldom heard of. But today, in the United States, reports of domestic abuse among young, well-educated, Indian women by their H-1B holding husbands have become fairly common, necessitating the need for all prospective ‘H-4 wives’, as they have come to be known, to be aware of the vulnerabilities of the H-4 visa.

In India, bachelors with H-1B visas are the more preferred choice among brides-to-be and their families when compared to Green Card holders, given that the bride can immediately join her husband in the US with an H-4 visa, rather than wait for 2-3 years for her Green Card. Little do the girl and her family know that the cycle of abuse can begin soon after the wedding. In some cases, husbands have refused to file for their wife’s H-4 visa until they have paid a certain amount of dowry. Women comply with the demands out of societal pressure.

Limitations of the H-4 visa keep women at a disadvantage. Since an H-4 visa does not give an individual authorization to work, these women are dependant on their husbands for their financial needs. Their husbands, who are well educated engineers, doctors and scientists, as are all H-1B holders, may use this dependency to control their wives. Husbands may verbally, physically, sexually or emotionally harass their wives into acting according to their wishes in exchange for an increase in the wife’s allowance. Wives may also be subjected to abuse by her in- laws.

H-4 wives are also dependant on their husbands for the renewal and maintenance of their status. This leads to a form of immigration abuse where in husbands threaten not to file their wife’s important immigration papers leaving them undocumented which in turn could lead to their deportation.

Even for a woman to convert her status she needs her husband’s assistance in order to prove that his H-1B is valid and he is employed. It is also possible that while processing a Green Card, a husband might mislead his wife by saying that he has filed for her permanent residency card and women hoping for a green card will continue the relationship.

Women on H-4 visas also do not have access to immigration lawyers because of their lack of finances and, more importantly, because the lawyer represents only her husband and his employer. She never comes into contact with the lawyer.

Another disadvantage of the H-4 visa is that it does not allow its holders to have a Social Security Number (SSN). Without an SSN, an H-4 holder cannot get a separate bank account or credit card. Some states even require a SSN number in order to get a drivers license. All these drawbacks keep an H4 wife extremely dependant on her husband and make it harder for her to escape from the abuse.

In a foreign country, without money, mobility, or even someone to talk to in certain cases, these women become isolated in their torment. Adding to this, battered H-4 wives can find only limited consolation in relief options.

Unlike in the case of an ill-treated woman married to a US citizen or green card holder who can self petition for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), an H4 wife has no such alternative.

She can look for an H-1B sponsor and get employed provided she has the necessary training and education. A student visa can also be considered but considering universities are expensive and only citizens and permanent residents are eligible for grants and loans it seems an unlikely alternative.

However she can consider the U visa which is “designed for non citizen crime victims who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse from criminal activity and who agree to cooperate with government officials investigating or prosecuting this criminal activity.” But victims are reluctant to take this approach.

In response to the growing rates of domestic violence among South Asian communities, several organizations have been set up to provide counseling, legal guidance, mental health referrals, shelter resources, translation assistance and several other services to battered women. In the past 15 years, some 30 organizations aimed at helping victims have sprung up. Still, the onus rests on these young, well-educated women to realize that they do not have to tolerate such abuse and take the first step to seek help.

-Melanie Lewis

We would like to know your views and opinions. If you have experienced such abuse and would like free legal advice or would like to share your experience, write to us

For a list of South Asian anti-domestic violence organizations in the U.S. click here.

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