Biden administration’s immigration-friendly move to provide automatic work authorization permits to spouses of H-1B visas holders, would benefit thousands of Indian-American women.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows US firms to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
The Obama administration had given work authorization to certain categories of spouses of H-1B visa holders. So far, more than 90,000 H-4 visa holders, a significant majority of whom are Indian-American women, have received work authorizations.
The Department of Homeland Security reached to this settlement in a class-action lawsuit, filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) on behalf of immigrant spouses this summer.
An H-4 visa is issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders. The visa is normally issued to those who have already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status in the US.
Jon Wasden from AILA said, “H-4 visa holders always met the regulatory test for automatic extension of EADs (employment authorizations documents), but the agency previously prohibited them from that benefit and forced them to wait for reauthorization. People were suffering. They were losing their high-paying jobs for absolutely no legitimate reason causing harm to them and US businesses,”.
This litigation is the reverse of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy which prohibits H-4 spouses from benefiting from the automatic extension of their employment authorizations during the pendency of stand-alone EAD applications.
AILA said, “Although this is a giant achievement, the parties’ agreement will further result in a massive change in position for the USCIS, which now recognizes that L-2 spouses enjoy automatic work authorizations incident to status, meaning these spouses of executive and managers will no longer have to apply for employment authorization prior to working in the United States,”.
AILA director of federal litigation, Jesse Bless said, “We are delighted to have reached this agreement, which includes relief for H-4 spouses, through our litigation efforts with Wasden Banias and Steven Brown. It is gratifying that the administration saw that settling the litigation for non-immigrant spouses was something that should be done, and done quickly,”.
Source: The Indian Express, Financial Express