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USCIS increases work authorization extension period

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USCIS increases work authorization extension period

A new measure will help noncitizens in the U.S. with pending work authorization avoid employment gaps and stabilize the continuity of operations for U.S. employers, according to a new press release.

On May 3, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a Temporary Final Rule (TFR) that increases the automatic extension period for employment authorization and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), available to certain EAD renewal applicants, to up to 540 days.

The release cites USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou, who said that given pending EAD caseloads, “the agency has determined that the current 180-day automatic extension for employment authorization is currently insufficient.”

According to Jaddou, the 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.”

USCIS said in the release that a “precarious financial situation” — exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic — has hindered the agency’s ability to process caseloads.

The TFR only applies to those EAD categories currently eligible for an automatic up to 180-day extension, according to the release, and “will temporarily provide up to 360 days of additional automatic extension time (for a total of up to 540 days) to eligible applicants…while USCIS continues to work through pending caseloads that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

USCIS said that this timeframe will aid the agency through staffing shortages and allow it to implement “additional efficiencies”.

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