DHS Settlement Will Benefit L-2 and H-4 EAD Workers

In a consequential coverage reversal, the Division of Homeland Safety entered right into a settlement settlement following a lawsuit relating to validity of L-2 and H-4 Employment Authorization Doc (EAD) playing cards. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers (USCIS) will quickly permit automated extensions of employment authorization, in sure circumstances, whereas an EAD renewal utility has been filed and is pending with USCIS for H-4 and L-2 spouses. As well as, after 120 days USCIS will change its statutory interpretation and afford employment authorization incident to standing for L-2 spouses.

Background

L-2 nonimmigrant spouses (married to L-1 nonimmigrant visa holders) are eligible to use to USCIS for an EAD. In sure circumstances, H-4 nonimmigrant spouses (married to H-1B nonimmigrant visa holders) are additionally eligible to use to USCIS for an EAD. As soon as issued, the EAD gives unrestricted work authorization.

L-2 and H-4 spouses who’ve an EAD card might apply to USCIS to resume their EAD, however can solely apply for an extension when their present EAD is inside 180 days of expiration. For the previous few years, USCIS processing of EAD functions has been dramatically delayed, generally taking 11-12 months to course of. The end result has been the lack of work authorization for these people, usually for durations of a number of months.

Settlement Settlement

On November 10, 2021, the Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) agreed to make important and long-awaited adjustments as a part of its settlement in Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas, the category motion litigation introduced by H-4 and L-2 spouses affected by these long-delayed processing instances and the ensuing loss in work authorization.

Particularly, USCIS will present the next advantages:

Computerized Extension of EADs

H-4 and L-2 spouses:

USCIS will quickly concern steering in order that an H-4 or L-2 nonimmigrant will qualify for automated extension of his/her legitimate EAD for 180 days past the date of the EAD expiration if the nonimmigrant partner:

  • Correctly information a Type I-765 EAD renewal utility to USCIS earlier than the present EAD expires; and

  • Continues to take care of H-4 or L-2 standing past the expiration of the prevailing EAD as evidenced on Type I-94.

The validity of the expired EAD can be prolonged till the earliest of:

  • 180 days following the EAD expiration;

  • The expiration of the H-4 / L-2 nonimmigrant’s I-94 report; or

  • When a remaining choice is made on the EAD extension utility by USCIS.

For I-9 functions, an H-4 or L-2 worker might current: a facially expired EAD indicating Class C26 or A18; Type I-797, Discover of Motion for Type I-765 with Class requested indicating (c)(26) or (a)(18) and displaying that the I-765 EAD renewal utility was filed earlier than the EAD expired; and an unexpired I-94, displaying legitimate H-4 or L-2 nonimmigrant standing.

L-2 spouses can be granted work authorization pursuant to standing.

Inside 120 days, USCIS will concern coverage steering offering that L-2 spouses are employment licensed incident to standing, which means {that a} separate Type I-765 EAD utility won’t must be filed to acquire work authorization, and that the L-2 partner is allowed to work upon being admitted to america. USCIS, in cooperation with CBP, will change Type I-94 to point the person is an L-2 partner in order that the I-94 can be utilized for I-9 functions.

Within the meantime, L-2 spouses will qualify for an automated extension of their legitimate L-2 EAD for 180 days past the date of the EAD expiration, as described above.

This coverage change represents a major profit to H-4 and L-2 staff, as USCIS delays have resulted in a lack of work authorization and a disruption to employment.

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