Work permit regulations are complicated across the world. One organisation we work with is the Permits Foundation. The foundation campaigns globally to improve work permit regulations to make it easier for partners & families of expatriate staff to gain employment during an international assignment.

Now we need your help! Do you have assignees in the US? Permits need your feedback on these issues:

  1. If/why your organization would support direct work access incident to dependent status for all H4/03 spouses?
  2. If/why your organization would support direct work access incident to dependent status for other family members e.g. non-married partners, working age children?
  3. If/how the granting of direct work access for L/E spouses has positively impacted your global mobility program/facilitated talent attraction and retention?
  4. If issues around spouse employment authorization processing remain – what are they, what is the impact?
  5. Any other issues relating to dependent work access that you would like to raise.

Results from this will help produce a new Permits Foundation US Position Paper.

Note: Permits Foundation never mention any company or individual names without securing permission. Rather they want to gain as full an understanding as possible of the concerns organizations face so that they can raise key issues with policy makers when making constructive recommendations for change.

Should you wish to reply, we ask that feedback (on the five questions above) be sent before 29 May to AIRINC or via email to

AIRINC see how important this work is to enable successful assignments and admire the work achieved by Permits so far over the past 20+ years. We hope by sharing these details and gaining feedback from our clients we can play our small part in supporting the foundation.


As a recap, Permits previous 2021 US position paper outlined a number of recommendations in response to the Biden Administration’s program for immigration reform. This paper was the basis of Permits subsequent communication with representatives at Congress, the USCIS and DHS.
Since 2021, largely as a result of litigation, several areas have seen progress, including:

  • the granting of direct work access for L-2 and E spouses incident to their dependent status.
  • where the EAD applies, automatic extension of the dependent spouse’s EAD for a period of up to 180 days as long as certain conditions are met.
  • the practice of bundling L-2 and H-4 applications for dependent status and employment authorization together with the principal (L1 or H1-B) application via form I-129 (*this is a temporary measure until at least January 2025).
  • suspension of the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, requesting an extension of stay or change of status to H-4, L-2, and E nonimmigrant status (*this is a temporary measure until at least September 2023).
  • the ruling on 29 March 2023, whereby the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the legality of the H-4 spousal work program.

Though improvements have been made to facilitate work access for partners of international employees, there are still many areas that require attention. Permits Foundation continues to seek direct work access for other categories of accompanying spouses (H4, 03) as well as for other family members (non-married partners, children of working age). They would also like to see the temporary policy measures above* made permanent.

For more information about partner employment authorization in the US, recent updates and advocacy, you can always visit the US country page of the Permits Foundation website.