Work Visa For Spouses Of H1B Employees Won’t Renew Automatically; 85,000 Indians Impacted

Work Visa For Spouses Of H1B Employees Won't Renew Automatically; 85,000 Indians Impacted
Work Visa For Spouses Of H1B Employees Won’t Renew Automatically; 85,000 Indians Impacted

H-4 visa holders are not entitled to get their employment authorisation documents automatically renewed as announced by a US district court. 

This is bound to affect as much as 85000 Indians working in the US through the H-4 visa. Read on to find out all the details!

US District Court Judge Says H-4 Visa won’t Be Renewed Automatically

Judge Jacqueline S. Corley observed in a US district court that the H-4 visa holders are not entitled to the automatic renewal of their employment authorization document (EADs). She has also denied the motion for a preliminary injunction and a plea to expedite discovery.

To expedite the trial process, the court needs to be provided with adequate information through the discovery process.

She said, “The regulation’s text is clear: when an EAD renewal petition relies on the adjudication of another petition, the petitioner is not eligible for automatic renewal of the work authorization. For H-4 visa holders, the EAD renewal petition requires adjudication of two applications before the petitioner is eligible for renewal of the EAD: the spouse’s H1-B renewal petition and the H-4 visa renewal. Thus, H-4 visa holders are not entitled to automatic renewal of their EAD.”

A law was filed y 45 H-4 visa holders who were given this visa in their capacity as the spouses of H-1b visa holders. Among these, the number of Indian spouses with H-4 visa holders was significant. The lawsuit stated that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has withheld a 180-day automatic extension of work authorization from them unlawfully after the expiration of their EADs.

They also allege that delays in the adjudication of their work reauthorizations were created by the USCIS without significant reasons. 

As per the plaintiffs, the biometric requirements as regards work re-authorization applications and USCIS’s decision to adjudicate H-1B visa status, H-4 visa status, and H-4 work reauthorization in sequential order results in major delays and therefore indicate bad faith.

85000 Indians To Be Impacted; H-4 Visa Holders Can Lose Jobs?

As per official reports, as much 84,360 Indians hold an EAD up until December 2017. This number also makes up for 93% of the total EADs issued. And now, the number is now estimated to be more than one lakh.

The H-4 visa extension and the work authorisation renewal cannot be done earlier than 6 months before the expiry of the visa status. And because the USCIS’s delays in adjudication, and no automatic extension of the work authorization document, there is a possibility that H-4 visa holders might lose their jobs.

The EAD program was introduced by the Obama administration in 2015 in order to clear the long line of green card backlogs that was made up of immigrants from some specific countries such as India.

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