Biden expedites employment processing for H-4 and L-2 visa holders
On November 10, providing a resolution to a lawsuit filed in August, the Biden administration reached an agreement to expedite the employment process for H-4 and L-2 visa holders.
To understand the issue at hand, it is important to explain:
- The H-4 visa is available to spouses of H-1B visa holders, who are highly qualified workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields and other industries.
- The L-2 visa is available to spouses of L-1 visa holders, who are businessman or managers participating in inter-company transfer programs.
What is the new agreement?
Once the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) officially implements the new agreement:
- L-2 visa holders will not have to apply for EADs (Employment Authorization Documents), but instead, their visas will serve as proof to work legally in the US.
- With respect to H-4 visa holders, they will have an automatic extension of their employment authorization for 180 days if the USCIS does not respond to their renewal applications in a timely manner.
Why was this agreement reached?
- The alarming backlog of immigration cases across the US led to hundreds of thousands of L-2 and H-4 visa holders losing their jobs due to the USCIS failure to timely respond to their renewal applications.
- As a result, the lawsuit sought to expedite the EAD renewal process for H-4 and L-2 visa holders to avoid unemployment.
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The benefits of expediting the employment process for H-4 and L2 visa holders
Since the Biden administration reached the agreement, several experts in the field have commented on the potential benefits of this new rule that will optimize the employment process for spouses of H-1B and L-1 visa holders.
Let’s look at some important facts:
- The USCIS officials will be able to expedite other pending processes and reduce the nationwide immigration backlog by not having to renew the employment permits of L-2 visa holders, who most likely still meet eligibility requirements.
- H-4 and L-2 visa holders will be able to have stable jobs by having continued employment protection, which will undoubtedly stimulate the national economy and allow immigrant families to have financial stability.
- Waiting times will be reduced for certain immigration processes thanks to this new agreement.
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