Visa Regulations and Labour Market Restrictions: Implications for Indian Immigrant Women in the United States


This article documents the everyday experiences of Indian immigrant women living in the US on H4 visa – given to dependents of H1B visa holders, that disallows them from entering the labour market. The study is located within the framework of ‘gender and international immigration’ and uses a qualitative research approach to understand how visa regimes that bestow unequal rights on the primary and dependent visa holders shape the immigration experience, and have a bearing on the personal well-being, socialization processes and career graphs. The findings from open-ended interviews point out that the H4 visa affects women’s confidence and idea of self-worth, constrains them financially, disables them in social settings, and provides no opportunities to build economic or human capital and skill sets.