On December 31, 2015 the Department of Homeland Security published a proposed rule to amend its regulation with intentions of improving certain regulating of immigrant and non immigrant visas. A part of the proposed rule included eliminating the 90 day adjudication/interim EAD Rule. This has been a longstanding rule requiring USCIS to either adjudicate an employment authorization within 90 days of applying or provide an interim employment authorization document for up to 240 days to certain applicants.
This proposal could affect thousands of applicants including highly skilled workers, low-skilled, and many applicants for employment authorization under the family-based and other categories. This proposition is a bad idea for three reasons.
First, the delay in providing employment authorization to eligible non-citizens could cause financial hardships to applicants and their families. They could potentially lose job opportunities and/or interruption or termination of employment. In addition to financial hardships, applicants could lose their driver’s licenses and/or benefits. Both financial and benefits losses for applicant’s could impact their families, which in many cases include U.S. citizens.
Second, employers could lose authorized workers, and would have to temporary fill positions for lack of employment authorization. This would potentially lead to a financial loss for the business because they are left without an authorized employee. Third, businesses would be more inclined to hire unauthorized workers, which of course goes against the whole idea of employment based immigration.
DHS says that they will continue to grant work permits within the 90 day period, but from previous experience we know this is not always the case. USCIS is already backlogged, and if this new proposition was to be implemented applications could get lost in the process. Furthermore, many individuals would be waiting for far more than 90 days for a valid work authorization.
This proposition is not only a bad idea, but detrimental to many families, employers, and employees, which is why we say to DHS, “if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.”