In a recent move, the US has said it will provide employment authorisation cards to some non-immigrant categories, including those waiting for green cards, for five years. The latest move by the US administration is expected to benefit around 10.5 lakh Indians living in the country, who are awaiting employment-based Green Cards.
On Friday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that it was extending the maximum validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) to 5 years for initial and renewal EADs for certain non-citizens who need to apply for employment authorization.
These include applicants for asylum or withholding of removal, adjustment of status under INA 245, and suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal, the federal agency said.
By increasing the maximum EAD validity period to 5 years, the US is aiming to reduce the number of new Forms I-765, applications for Employment Authorization, it receives for renewal EADs over the next several years, contributing to its efforts to reduce associated processing times and backlogs.
The agency also said that the employment authorization of the noncitizen depends on their underlying status, circumstances, and EAD filing category.
For example, if someone received an EAD under the category based on a pending adjustment of status application for 5 years, and then their adjustment application is denied, their employment authorisation may end before the expiry date on their EAD.
A Green Card is a permanent resident card that allows immigrants the right to live permanently in the US. There are limits on how many green cards can be issued to people from certain countries.
A study published in September noted that more than 10.5 lakh Indians are in the queue for an employment-based Green Card in the US. Of these 4 lakhs of them may die before they get the permanent residency document in the US. Another nearly 250,000 cases are from China (14 per cent), it said.
The study carried out by Washington DC-based Cato Institute’s David J, Bier stated that Indians account for 63 per cent of the total 18 lakh backlog cases among Green Card applicants this year.
Another nearly 250,000 cases are from China (14 per cent), it said.
More than 50 per cent of the backlog is in the EB-2 category for employees of US businesses with advanced degrees and another 19 per cent is in the EB-3 category for employees with at least bachelor’s degrees, says the study, adding that a major chunk of these applicants are Indians.
“For new applicants from India, the backlog for the EB-2 and EB-3 categories (which are combined because applicants can move between them) is effectively a life sentence: 134 years. About 424,000 employment‐based applicants will die waiting, and over 90 percent of them will be Indians. Given that Indians are currently half of all new employer‐sponsored applicants, roughly half of all newly sponsored immigrants will die before they receive a green card,” it stated.
(With agency inputs)
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