Presidential Advisory Commission Discusses Work Permits for Skilled Workers Awaiting Green Cards

Work Permits for Skilled Workers
March 29, 2023

A presidential advisory commission debated ideas concerning the early stages of the green card applications and work permits. In the debates, the commission proposed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could issue employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel authorization to individuals in this stage of the Lawful Permanent Resident application process.

In addition, this proposal would affect approved Immigrant Petitions for Alien Worker (Form I-140) visas. The affected visas include the first, second, and third employment-based categories. This recommendation aims to reduce the wait time that has plagued the process for many highly-skilled workers. This proposal would also include applicants that have waited in the current visa backlog for five or more years. It would affect applicants regardless of whether they have a pending application for adjustment of status.

These proposed changes began in a discussion held by the President’s Advisory Commissioner for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander commission. This discussion highlighted many challenges highly skilled foreign workers face. They also stressed how the challenges affected those with H-1B visas the most.

These workers have long faced significant backlogs for Lawful Permanent Resident status. In many cases, the backlogs have left many workers and employers with few options when a worker’s existing non-immigrant status expires. According to the commission, these changes will help attract and retain talent. For example, they hope to attract those in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields who otherwise might have to leave the country when their non-immigrant visas expire.

By granting these workers EADs, they could continue working while the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reviewed their adjustment of status applications. In addition, these EADs would allow employers to retain their talent and complete the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9).

It would also provide financial security and stability for foreign-born talent. This security would help employers retain and attract the highly skilled workers they need. However, the future of these recommendations remains highly uncertain. For now, the commission decided to resume the discussion in the next full commission meeting.

One certainty remains, however: changes like this will continue appearing in legislation. As such, employers must stay current with the ever-shifting regulations, such as the rules concerning Form I-9. The regulations surrounding Form I-9 are complex and continuously evolving. As such, it has proven challenging for many employers to remain compliant.

The best way to ensure uniform compliance is to invest in an electronic I-9 management system. This system can provide step-by-step guidance and a suite of features. For example, it offers reminders when action is necessary to maintain compliance and storage for forms and documentation.

Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9 Compliance.