USCIS to Accelerate EAD Process for Refugees

USCIS to Accelerate EAD Process for Refugees

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a new process for providing eligible refugees with work permits. The USCIS intends to streamline the program with this process. Should it succeed, it would allow eligible refugees to acquire a work permit almost immediately after entering the United States. The goal is to cut the timeline down to 30 days.

Refugees may legally work in the U.S. according to their status. Like U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and all other work-eligible individuals, they must provide proof of their eligibility to complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9). Unfortunately, acquiring this proof has proven difficult and time-consuming for many. This struggle has caused significant administrative delays.

The updated process should expedite the process for refugees to receive their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). Formerly, refugees had to apply for an EAD using a paper version of the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765). Now, the program will make the application process entirely digital.

Once a refugee receives approval to enter the country, the USCIS will create a digital Form I-765 on the refugee’s behalf. This step is where many potential mistakes refugees can make, which often delays the process. As such, creating a form for refugees will significantly ease their entrance into the United States. After this, the USCIS will immediately begin adjudicating the completed form.

Once the USCIS approves their forms, refugees may receive their EADs as quickly as one to two weeks. However, the USCIS warned that the precise timeframe may vary widely based on delivery times. The USCIS also communicated that it would provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with the necessary information to provide the refugee with a Social Security Number. This action is crucial for the SSA to mail a Social Security Card to the refugee.

This new procedure will affect all eligible refugees admitted on or after December 10, 2023. Many expect it to significantly reduce wait times, which often stretched into several months under the previous policy.

As such, employers and workers will both benefit from the new policy. One such benefit is completing Form I-9s faster. However, employers must ensure they complete the process correctly. One way to ensure compliance with Form I-9s is by using an electric I-9 management system. This system can guide users through the process, provide electronic storage, integrate with E-Verify, and notify users of when to take further action.

Automate your employment eligibility verification today with the ensured compliance of I-9 Compliance.