USCIS Unveils New Policy Offering Relief to H-1B, L-1 Visa Holders

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has rolled out a new policy, PA-2023-18, to assist Indian immigrants in the US who face uncertainties due to recent layoffs. The policy provides guidance on Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and offers a legal path for those experiencing delays in visa availability.

Amidst the cloud of uncertainty following recent layoffs across major tech firms, there is a glimmer of hope for Indian immigrants living in the United States.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has rolled out a new policy, PA-2023-18, that unveils a new blueprint providing guidance on Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) in the face of pressing circumstances.

Policy Framework to Alleviate Disruptions

The new policy framework carves a legal path for beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions who encounter delays due to backlogs in visa availability.

A reform that can prove to be a vital lifeline for Indian workers in the US, the policy aims to alleviate the disruptive impact of unexpected job loss or other unfavourable circumstances that may jeopardize their status.


Benefits for Indian Professionals

Predominantly, Indian professionals working in the US under H-1B or L-1 nonimmigrant visas stand to gain from this policy pivot.

As per the updated provisions mentioned in the press statement issued by USCIS, they may apply for EADs under compelling circumstances, such as serious illness and disability, employer dispute or retaliation, other substantial harm to the applicant, or significant disruption to the employer.

Must Read: USCIS Expands Premium Processing for Non-Immigrant Status Change Applications

Financial Support for Immigrants During Job Loss

While uncertainty often clouds the prospect of sudden job loss for Indian immigrants, this policy measure works as a safety net, ensuring their financial stability while they navigate their way towards more secure opportunities.


The policy also outlines the categories of evidence that applicants can furnish to demonstrate compelling circumstances.

These may include school or higher education enrollment records or mortgage documents, substantiating the potential hardship if forced to sell their property at a loss, disrupt children’s education, and relocate to India.

USCIS’s Pragmatic Approach

This fresh directive from the USCIS serves as a pragmatic approach to address the plight of immigrant workers, especially those from India, who make up a significant portion of the US IT workforce.

The policy further underlines that an individual with a valid EAD based on compelling circumstances will not accrue unlawful presence, safeguarding them against abrupt disruptions in their journey towards permanent residency.


Also Read: US Embassy to Release Student Visa Interview Dates Soon, Urges Applicants to Stay Updated

Dependents Eligible for EADs

Furthermore, this move bolsters the sense of security for the families of these professionals, their dependents, too, can apply for EADs based on compelling circumstances, adding another layer of assurance in an otherwise complex immigration landscape.

Eligibility Criteria: Who Can Benefit from the Policy?

According to the details mentioned in the policy, the eligibility criteria extend to applicants who are principal beneficiaries of approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd employment-based preference category.

Applicants need to be on a valid E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 nonimmigrant status or authorized grace period when they file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. For more information on eligibility criteria, click here.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

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