Federal government extends temporary work authorization for immigrants

This should be a relief for companies during this extremely tight labor market

Federal government extends temporary work authorization for immigrants

Immigrant workers will be able to work for an additional 540 days while they are awaiting their final immigration papers.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a Temporary Final Rule (TFR) that increases the automatic extension period for employment authorization and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), effective May 4, 2022.

“As USCIS works to address pending EAD caseloads, the agency has determined that the current 180-day automatic extension for employment authorization is currently insufficient,” said Ur Jaddou, USCIS director. “This temporary rule will provide those noncitizens otherwise eligible for the automatic extension an opportunity to maintain employment and provide critical support for their families, while avoiding further disruption for U.S. employers.”

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This new rule applies to those who:

  • properly filed Form I-765 for a renewal of their employment authorization and/or EAD before their current EAD expired
  • those whose renewal application is under a category that is eligible for an automatic 180-day extension
  • those whose category on current EAD matches the “Class Requested” listed on their Form I-797C Notice of Action

The rule change on the automatic extension period will be valid until Oct. 27, 2023, according to USCIS. The additional 360 days will give the agency an opportunity to address staffing shortages, implement additional efficiencies and meet Jaddou’s recently announced goal of achieving a three-month cycle time for EAD applications by the end of FY23, it said.

The automatic extension generally will end upon notification of a final decision on the renewal application or the end of the up to 540-day period, whichever comes first.

In December 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that President Joe Biden will allow an additional 20,000 seasonal, guest-worker visas available for winter.

In March, Biden announced that the U.S. will accept up to 100,000 Ukrainians and other displaced people fleeing the war-torn country. More recently, the president announced the “Unite for Ukraine” program, which will allow individual Americans and nonprofits to sponsor Ukrainian refugees, provided they can financially support them.

Several California companies are striving to hire Ukranians fleeing from their country, especially as the Great Resignation is not slowing down. In fact, 4.54 million Americans quit their jobs in March, the highest in history, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In February, Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, a Democrat from Coachella, CA, introduced Assembly Bill-2847 into the California Legislature. If passed, the bill would establish the Excluded Workers Pilot Program. Administered by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the program would provide income assistance to excluded workers not eligible for the state or federal benefits administered by the Employment Development Department and who are unemployed.

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