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Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Old Apr 2nd 2007, 4:09 pm
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Default Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Hi

I have the chance to relocate to the US with my company sometime in the next year. The arrangement would probably be for 2 years, extendable if we were all happy to do so.

A question please: what would my wife's work status be? Would she be able to take a legit job in the USA?

Thanks

Will
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 4:17 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Originally Posted by willcarter View Post
Hi

I have the chance to relocate to the US with my company sometime in the next year. The arrangement would probably be for 2 years, extendable if we were all happy to do so.

A question please: what would my wife's work status be? Would she be able to take a legit job in the USA?

Thanks

Will
Sounds like you would be an L1, so she would be L2 and could file for work authorisation.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

I'll second Elvira's reply.

A transfer from the UK offices of a company to its US offices would most likely fall under the L1 category, and the accompanying spouse (and kids, if you have them) get L2 visas which allow them to work in the US.

If, however, you are sponsored by a US company to come over on an H1 visa, then your family get H4 visas and cannot take any paid employment in the US.

Personally, I think this sucks. The families of senior managers who come over on L1 visas should not get different treatment to the families of skilled workers who come over on H1 visas... but them's the rules, and we sure ain't going to win any arguments with USCIS over them!
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Thanks for the info.

A rather obvious supplementary question, if I may.... why do some people get L1 visas, and others only H1?

The company I work for is a US company.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 5:31 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Originally Posted by willcarter View Post
Thanks for the info.

A rather obvious supplementary question, if I may.... why do some people get L1 visas, and others only H1?

The company I work for is a US company.
L1 is only for managers and executives while H1 is not.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 5:45 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

I have a friend who is an IT tech.. came over for 4 years on L1.. only recently (2 months back) returned to the UK....

L1 as far as I know is inter company transfer... not sure about other requirements.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 5:49 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Originally Posted by dbj1000 View Post
I'll second Elvira's reply.

A transfer from the UK offices of a company to its US offices would most likely fall under the L1 category, and the accompanying spouse (and kids, if you have them) get L2 visas which allow them to work in the US.

If, however, you are sponsored by a US company to come over on an H1 visa, then your family get H4 visas and cannot take any paid employment in the US.

Personally, I think this sucks. The families of senior managers who come over on L1 visas should not get different treatment to the families of skilled workers who come over on H1 visas... but them's the rules, and we sure ain't going to win any arguments with USCIS over them!
Thirded - I am currently L1 and my wife can work. Also on the E visas spouse can work.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 6:04 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Originally Posted by abboy View Post
L1 is only for managers and executives while H1 is not.
Not true.

L1 is inter-company transfer, i.e. the employee is transferred from the UK operation to the US operation of the same company.

H1b is a work visa sponsored by a US employer. It is for new appointments.

I have never understood the logic of why, as the wife of a head-hunted university professor, I was not allowed to work for FOUR years, whereas the wife of a fairly junior inter-company executive would get an EAD within three months.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 6:12 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Both are temporary visa's, the idea was they would be used for those coming on short assignments, not long term.

Those who want to come in long term have another route.

But as this so backlogged, those coming in long term use the short term visa to get by.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 6:22 pm
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Exclamation Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
Not true.

L1 is inter-company transfer, i.e. the employee is transferred from the UK operation to the US operation of the same company.

H1b is a work visa sponsored by a US employer. It is for new appointments.

I have never understood the logic of why, as the wife of a head-hunted university professor, I was not allowed to work for FOUR years, whereas the wife of a fairly junior inter-company executive would get an EAD within three months.

No, it seems very unfair doesn't it?

L2 spouses have only been allowed to work in the past 2 or 3 years and the young adult children of L1 visa holders are still unable to work in the US.

As far as I know, the reason that L2 spouses were given permission to work is that many multi-national companies were finding that a high proportion of their senior managers were refusing to take an expat posting in the States; the primary reason being that their spouses refused to accompany them if they were unable to work here. (It's highly likely that some of these spouses had highly successful or high-profile careers of their own).

I do know that there was some lobbying with congressmen from MNC's and eventually President Bush signed an Act to allow L2 spouses to work. I only found out by chance, my husband's company HR office knew nothing about it until I notified them. They authorised their immigration attorneys (Fragomen's) to apply for an EAD for me and the good thing is that I was eligible to get my own social security number.

However...... to be honest, I don't have any enthusiasm to work in the USA. I (very) briefly had a job here but decided that 10 days annual leave was not conducive to a decent quality of life with all of my family living in the UK and I also love to travel, so I resigned. (Note that if I was doing the very same job for the same company in the UK I would have got 6 weeks annual leave!).

I don't know if the OP has children or planning a family but he or/and his wife might be surprised about the maternity and paternity leave provisions in the US compared to the UK....
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 6:27 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Originally Posted by Englishmum View Post
No, it seems very unfair doesn't it?

L2 spouses have only been allowed to work in the past 2 or 3 years and the young adult children of L1 visa holders are still unable to work in the US.
.............

I don't know if the OP has children or planning a family but he or/and his wife might be surprised about the maternity and paternity leave provisions in the US compared to the UK....
There is simply NO way we would have come if we had known. But DH's uni assured us we would have our GCs 'within a few months'. Flucking bastards :curse: This 4-year break just about ruined my career (try building up a business again at my advanced age... )

Absolutely agree about working in the US. No way would I want to be employed here.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 6:57 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
Not true.

L1 is inter-company transfer, i.e. the employee is transferred from the UK operation to the US operation of the same company.

H1b is a work visa sponsored by a US employer. It is for new appointments.

I have never understood the logic of why, as the wife of a head-hunted university professor, I was not allowed to work for FOUR years, whereas the wife of a fairly junior inter-company executive would get an EAD within three months.
Grrr.:curse: don't understand this either. My OH was headhunted over here by a company that has no UK office and so he was a new hire. I have never not worked and it is driving me slowly mad. Yes, I can volunteer and I do, but it isn't the same as working.
And we have older children who want part time jobs and can't work:curse: :curse: :curse:
As you can see this is a very sore point but I suppose we knew all of this before we came.
I will probably never get back to what I was doing in the UK. I was self employed and if I do that here I have to come off our health insurance and buy my own. Fair enough if I earned a ton but I doubt I would earn enough in the first few years to be able to buy good insurance.
Anyway that is all probably a long way off so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 7:01 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Originally Posted by jumping doris View Post
Grrr.:curse: don't understand this either. My OH was headhunted over here by a company that has no UK office and so he was a new hire. I have never not worked and it is driving me slowly mad. Yes, I can volunteer and I do, but it isn't the same as working.
And we have older children who want part time jobs and can't work:curse: :curse: :curse:
As you can see this is a very sore point but I suppose we knew all of this before we came.
I will probably never get back to what I was doing in the UK. I was self employed and if I do that here I have to come off our health insurance and buy my own. Fair enough if I earned a ton but I doubt I would earn enough in the first few years to be able to buy good insurance.
Anyway that is all probably a long way off so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it
Good point about the kids. Not being able to work was VERY tough on our oldest and contributed in no small measure to his disillusionment with life in the US. (And of course that applies to L2 kids as well, not just H4s.)

But why do you need to come off your DH's insurance if you become self-employed? I run my own business but no one ever suggested that I could not continue on it.

Anyway, I thought you were close to filing for AOS, so you could be working in a few months from now.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 7:16 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
Good point about the kids. Not being able to work was VERY tough on our oldest and contributed in no small measure to his disillusionment with life in the US. (And of course that applies to L2 kids as well, not just H4s.)

But why do you need to come off your DH's insurance if you become self-employed? I run my own business but no one ever suggested that I could not continue on it.

Anyway, I thought you were close to filing for AOS, so you could be working in a few months from now.
This year his employer has decided that if an employee's partner works and the job they do offers health insurance then they must use that and come off the company policy. In fact each year from now on I am not automatically added onto the policy, he has to ask for me to be put on and to confirm that I don't have any form of employment that gives health insurance
A colleague's wife is self employed and they have said she should be buying her own insurance. I don't know what she does, she may be able to afford health care.

I am a calligrapher and it took me a long time to get get where I was in the UK. I taught, I had lots of steady clients and masses of seasonal work.
I don't know if there is a similar demand here so I'm not sure what I will do.
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Old Apr 2nd 2007, 7:20 pm
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Default Re: Can my wife work in the USA if I relocate?

Thanks very much for all the info -- this is obviously a responsive and helpful forum.

Sounds like we would be OK for L1/L2 visas.

It does sound rather arbitrary and unfair though, and even if you're a spouse who doesn't want to work for whatever reason, it would be nice to have the option, I should think.
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