11/19/2021: Major Settlement Changes How USCIS Adjudicates Work Permits for Nonimmigrant Spouses

Goss Associates joins our colleagues from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and its litigation partners to celebrate the historic settlement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas, which provides structural changes for nonimmigrant H-4 and L-2 spouses suffering from long delayed processing times for the processing of applications for employment authorization. The litigation successfully achieved the reversal of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy that prohibited H-4 spouses from benefiting from automatic extension of their employment authorization during the pendency of standalone employment authorization document (EAD) applications. Although this is a giant achievement, the parties’ agreement will further result in a massive change in position for USCIS, which now recognizes that L-2 spouses enjoy automatic work authorization incident to status, meaning these spouses of executive and managers will no longer have to apply for employment authorization prior to working in the United States.

Elizabeth Goss, Founder and Principal of Goss Associates stated “We are glad that USCIS will follow the law and acknowledge L-2 spouses enjoyment of automatic work authorization incident to status along with H-4 spouses meeting the regulatory test for automatic extension of their EADs. We strongly encourage the Agency to implement the settlement’s provisions as soon as possible and well-before the 120 day deadline for doing so. Continued delays in EAD issuance and ongoing reform of the regulations will have a negative impact on these workers, their families, and the overall U.S. economy.”

Goss Associates is currently in the process of analyzing the implications of the settlement. In the coming weeks we will be identifying and contacting clients affected by this lawsuit, and advising them about potential eligibility factors for work authorization if they have been unable to work due to USCIS delays in issuing EADs.