There are many reasons why individuals immigrate to the United States. For many, residing and working in the country full time is the goal, with the obtainment of permanent residency status or citizenship. For those relocating to the United States for a job, family members often follow under a specific visa.
While it is beneficial to keep the family together, a spouse is not always authorized to work while the other spouse is in the country on a work visa. However, if a situation were to arise where the spouse authorized to work is no longer supporting the spouse not authorized to work, it might be possible to get that spouse employment authorization.
Exception for battered alien spouses
When an alien spouse is admitted into the United States by accompanying or following to join their spouse who is the principal alien admitted into the country has suffered battery during their marriage, they may seek authorization to work in the United States.
In other words, the battered alien spouse can seek authorization to engage in employment in the United States as long as they demonstrate that they or their child suffered domestic violence at the hands of their spouse admitted to work in the United States. This matter creates a situation in which relief can be requested, and the Secretary of Homeland Security may provide the spouse with employment authorization.
In this and other complex and devastating situations, an immigrant can feel lost and afraid. Not knowing the laws of a foreign country, especially during a traumatic event, can make the matter even more complex. As such, immigrants should understand that they do have rights and options when it comes to addressing employment authorization and other issues concerning immigration law.