For many years it has been a struggle for families who moved internationally: what will my spouse do? Can he or she work?
H-1B spouses on an H-4 typically do not get a work permit, unless their H-1B spouse has obtained an approved I-140 (or the 2nd step of a PERM based green card). This addition is fairly recent, but what was happening in practical matters was an H-4 spouse would get their work authorization card, and it would expire before the next one was approved. In many cases, people would have to stop working and would lose their jobs. This is both cruel and unnecessary. However, on November 10th, 2021, a case has changed the fate of these spouses:
DHS in Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas, provides fundamental changes for nonimmigrant H-4 and L-2 spouses suffering from long-delayed processing times for the processing of applications for employment authorization. L-2 nonimmigrant spouses will, after 120 days, enjoy work authorization incident to status. In the interim, L-2s will enjoy automatic extension of work authorization if they have a pending standalone application for an employment authorization document (EAD). H-4 spouses will also benefit from automatic extension of their employment authorization during the pendency of standalone EAD) applications.
So in addition to H-4s, the L-2 visa holders also may work without having to wait for an extension and in fact, are considered to be work authorized because of their status and do not have to apply for an EAD or I-765.
This is good news and further progress for spouses of work visa recipients.