A new class action lawsuit in the U.S. court raises hope, because the spouses of Indian H-1B visa holders who have been affected by the long-term delay in processing H-4 visas and work authorization.

The lawsuit was filed against the US Department of Homeland Security on March 22, which also included L-2 visa holders and spouses of L-1 workers.

The L-2 visa is a visa document used by dependent spouses and unmarried children of eligible L-1 visa holders under 21 to enter the United States. It is a non-immigrant visa and is only valid during the L-1 visa period of the spouse.

According to the lawsuit, nearly 91,000 such persons have lost their jobs in the past few years, which was accelerated by the situation during the pandemic. The lawsuit further added that the USCIS “excessively delayed visa processing, which in turn canceled current and future work authorizations.”

The delay in the biometric processing process for H4 visa and EAD renewal has forced many Indians in the United States to take legal measures because they cannot schedule biometric appointments even after waiting for several months.

Immigration experts point out that this is the only way since H-4 visa holders have exhausted traditional remedies, such as contacting USCIS for the latest information and seeking help from the local congressman’s office.

AILA President Jennifer Minear pointed out in a statement that DHS has the legal tools and powers to grant work authorization to affected individuals whose financial status is very difficult. “DHS can and must revoke the unnecessary biometrics requirements for H-4 and L-2 non-immigrants, and provide automatic work authorization,” she said.

Minear added that it should also allow EAD applicants to submit renewal applications within 180 days before the EAD expires to prevent gaps in work authorization.