Approximately 50,000 green cards and 75,000 work permit documents for approved cases were not printed until July 16, 2020. The reasons for this are reportedly different from COVID-19 delays, limited financial and human resources within USCIS, and current administrative guidelines.
In a statement by the USCIS Ombudsman on July 21, the agency said it expects these backlogs to persist for the foreseeable future and may even increase if USCIS employees take a vacation on August 3, 2020.
Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) allow foreign nationals who are temporarily in the United States to be eligible to work and apply for employment. An LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident) card is also known as a green card and enables non-nationals to legally live permanently in the United States
Jennifer Behm, partner at Berardi Immigration Law, explains how this delay can affect foreigners.
- How does the pressure build-up affect people waiting for their EADs? The EEAS backlog can affect both foreigners who are waiting for a new job and foreigners who want to extend their current work permit. In order to start a new job, foreigners must present a valid EAD card. The card itself must be renewed and submitted for re-examination after the expiry so that the foreigner can continue working. The delay in printing these physical cards can lead to work stoppages that can unfairly harm both the employee and the employer.
- How does the pressure build-up affect people waiting for their green cards? The backlog of green card printing means that a person may not be able to demonstrate that they are permanent residents of an employer in the United States. This could affect their ability to travel and, similar to the EADs, their ability to work.
- Why do physical cards need to be printed? EADs require the physical card because the card must be presented when completing an I-9 form. LPRs are legally obliged to prove their permanent residence status.
- Is It Possible For The Government To Allow Approval Announcements To Be Sufficient? Even though a foreigner has received an approval notification stating that they are entitled to the documents, they usually do not replace the physical card. The government is unlikely to change its policies so that the approval notice takes the place of the physical card, especially in the EEAS context. The work permit is a complex scenario that varies greatly depending on the individual case and the basis for applying for the EEAS. In some situations, the foreigner’s work permit can automatically be extended by 180 days after expiration. In other situations, the work permit ends when the card expires. Working without a permit can have a significant negative impact on a person’s status in the United States and should be closely monitored.
- Is there a course of action that those waiting for their EADs or LPR cards can take to speed up the process? In the LPR context, a foreigner may be able to contact USCIS to make an appointment with a local USCIS field office to receive an I-551 stamp in their passport that would serve as temporary proof of LPR status. The Ombudsman supports those whose applications have been approved but whose cards have not yet been submitted by sending weekly tables to USCIS to check whether card requests should be processed. If the receipt of your secure document is delayed, you can submit a request to the Ombudsman to support the case.
If you have any questions about your EADs or LPR card and would like to know how this delay may affect you, contact Berardi Immigration Law today!
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