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Certain immigrants can now legally work in United States for 18 months after their work permit expires

The United States will extend expiring work permits for a year and a half for tens of thousands of immigrants due to lengthy backlogs to process renewals, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on Tuesday.

Work permits can be renewed after expiration, but lengthy delays in immigration processes, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, created a problem for hundreds of thousands of applicants and their employers as their work suddenly was disrupted as the permit’s renewal did not arrive on time.

On Tuesday, the USCIS announced that immigrant workers, under certain categories, whose employment permits expire, will be able to continue working legally for 18 months after expiration.

The temporary rule, effective May 4th, “will help avoid gaps in employment for noncitizens with pending EAD renewal applications and stabilize the continuity of operations for U.S. employers,” the agency said in press release.

Currently, USCIS grants a 180-day automatic extension to workers with an expired EAD who apply for a renewal with Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. 

This reprieve has been insufficient as the immigration agency faces a backlog of roughly 1.5 million employment authorization applications, which has left tens of thousands of people without the ability to work legally in times of labor shortages.

“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,” said USCIS director Ur M. Jaddou, who is director of the US citizenship and immigration services, said in a statement.

U.S. employers have faced difficulties finding workers in recent months, as pandemic restrictions have been lifted across the country, making the work permits even more relevant.

The delays have created a “grave situation” for applicants who have lost their employment authorization while waiting for a renewal, USCIS said in the rule, which was posted online on Tuesday.

Jaddou tweeted Tuesday: “We’re taking crucial steps to permanently address our backlogs. Work permit renewal applicants now have an opportunity to maintain employment and provide critical support for their families, while avoiding further disruption for U.S. employers.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: ROLLCALL.COM

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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