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This article is more than 2 month old.

US to give spouses of H-1B visa holders automatic work permits; here’s how it will help Indians

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Nearly a lakh Indian spouses of H-1B visa holders, who have employment authorisation documents, will be able to auto-extend their employment authorisation by a maximum of six months. There's excellent news for spouses of L-1 visa holders as well.

US to give spouses of H-1B visa holders automatic work permits; here’s how it will help Indians
In a decision that will benefit lakhs of Indian-Americans, the United States has agreed to provide automatic work authorisation permits to the spouses of H-1B visa holders. A significant beneficiary of the H-1B visas in the US are Indian IT professionals.
The move will make the employment extension process simpler for the spouses of H-1B holders, thereby directly benefiting Indians.
The decision, however, has not come voluntarily from the Joe Biden administration. The American Immigration Lawyers' Association (AILA), on behalf of immigrant spouses, had filed an action-class lawsuit in March. On November 11, the US District Court for the Western District of Washington directed the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) -- the immigration arm of Department of Homeland Security -- to allow spouses of H-1B visa holders automatic extension of their work permit.
“This (H-4 visa holders) is a group that always met the regulatory test for an automatic extension of EADs (employment authorisation documents), but the agency previously prohibited them from that benefit and forced them to wait for reauthorisation,” AILA’s Jon Wasden was quoted as saying in a report by news agency PTI.
AILA said the agreement between the parties is a “giant achievement” and will result in a landmark policy shift for USCIS, which has now recognised that L-2 spouses enjoy automatic work authorisation status.
L-2 visas are given to the spouses of L-1 visa holders, while spouses of H-1B visa holders get H-4 visas. Nearly a lakh Indian spouses of H-1B visa holders, who have EADs, will be able to automatically extend their employment authorisation by a maximum of six months.
The L-1 and L-2 visa holders are highly-paid individuals, but require work permits which take a long time to process. A big population of these visa holders are Indian women. The lawsuit was filed by a group consisting of a majority of Indian nationals.
Once the court order gets implemented, the L-1 and L-2 visa holders would no longer need to apply for work permits or require EADs as proof to work in the United States.
During the Barack Obama administration, work authorisation permits were granted to specific categories of spouses of H-1B visa holders. The US has so far given work authorisation permits to 90,000 H-4 spouses, most of whom are Indian-American women.
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