Good news: Spouses of H-1B visa holders to get automatic work authorisation permits in US
The spouses of non-immigrants visa-holders will no longer have to fear employment gaps and resultant financial hardship owing to delays in processing of their employment authorization documents (EADs).
In a huge respite, thousands of spouses of non-immigrant visa holders – such as H-1B and L-1 will be provided automatic work authorisation permits, a step that would benefit thousands of Indian-American women. Dependents such as the spouses of L-1 visa holders are issued the L-2 visa. H-4 visas are held by dependents including the spouses of H-1B visa holders. The American Immigration Lawyers' Association filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of immigrant spouses in which this settlement has been reached by the Department of Homeland Security, PTI reported.
"This (H-4 visa holders) is a group that always met the regulatory test for automatic extension of EADs (employment authorisation documents), but the agency previously prohibited them from that benefit and forced them to wait for reauthorisation. People were suffering. They were losing their high-paying jobs for absolutely no legitimate reason causing harm to them and US businesses," Jon Wasden from the association said.
"Although this is a giant achievement, the parties' agreement will further result in a massive change in position for the USCIS, which now recognises that L-2 spouses enjoy automatic work authorisation incident to status, meaning these spouses of executive and managers will no longer have to apply for employment authorisation prior to working in the United States," the association said.
The spouses of non-immigrants visa-holders will no longer have to fear employment gaps and resultant financial hardship owing to delays in processing of their employment authorization documents (EADs). For H-4 spouses who have lawful status and merely need to renew their employment authorisation, they will now enjoy an automatic extension of their authorisation for 180 days after expiration should the agency fail to process their timely-filed applications, the settlement says. Dependents of H-1B visa holders are issued H-4 visas.
As Forbes reported, one of the original plaintiffs in the suit was Divya Jayaraj who came to America as an international student and returned as the spouse of an H-1B visa holder. She worked in the health care sector. “Concurrent with her spouse’s extension, on August 25, 2020, she filed applications to extend her H-4 status on Form I-539 and EAD on Form I-765,” according to the lawsuit which claimed that Divya lost her job "because of agency inaction.”