BREAKING NEWS: Changes to Work Authorization for H-4 and L-2 Spouses

Fox Rothschild LLP
Contact

Fox Rothschild LLP

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is making “structural changes” to work authorization for H-4 and L-2 spouses.  The changes result from an agreement settling litigation brought against the agency by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and others,

Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the automatic extension provision will apply to an H-4 spouse of an H-1B worker when their EAD (employment authorization document) extension application is timely filed.  The auto-extension of up to 180 days would only apply while the applicant is in H-4 status (i.e., until the H-4’s current I-94 expiration date) or 180-days, whichever is earlier. A decision on the extension application (approval or denial) would also supersede the automatic extension.  As such, the potential benefit of this change will apply differently depending on the circumstances, which must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The auto-extension provision applies to an L-2 spouse too, but it’s not clear whether it is meaningful in the L-2 context  because the settlement agreement also provides that an L-2 spouse will be authorized to work “incident to status”.  This means that an L-2 will not need an EAD as evidence of work authorization.  Instead, an L-2 will receive an I-94 that includes an annotation indicating that they are the spouse of an L-1 (rather than an L-2 child).  It’s not clear when the agencies will have the capability to annotate I-94s in this manner and what interim measures will be taken until then.

Although clarification is needed regarding implementation of the settlement agreement, these changes are momentous.  Delays in the issuance of EAD cards have been felt by US employers and by H-4 and L-2 employees who have sometimes terminated employment relationships that would otherwise have continued.  In this tight job market, the impact of losing an employee is significant, as is the loss of a job to an H-4 or L-2 spouse.

The settlement agreement resulted from the Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas lawsuit filed by AILA, et al. 

[View source.]

Written by:

Fox Rothschild LLP
Contact
more
less

Fox Rothschild LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.