Indians likely to benefit as US announces 5-year employment cards

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A major update has been announced by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that will benefit Indians, especially those waiting for the US green card. According to the latest development, the US has announced that it will provide employment authorisation cards to some non-immigrant categories (including people waiting for green cards) for five years.

The US immigration services have increased the maximum validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) to 5 years for initial and renewal EADs for certain non-citizens who must apply for employment authorisation. 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 extending the EAD validity to five years, the agency aimed to reduce the number of new Forms I-765, contributing to its efforts to reduce associated processing times and backlogs.

According to the USCIS, whether the noncitizen maintains employment authorisation remains dependent on their underlying status, circumstances, and EAD filing category.

For instance, if an individual received an EAD under the category based on a pending adjustment of status application for the maximum validity period of 5 years, and the adjustment application is then denied, their ancillary employment authorisation may be terminated before the expiration date listed on their EAD.

Notably, more than 10.5 lakh Indians are in the queue for an employment-based Green Card and 4 lakh of them may die before they receive the much-sought-after legal document of permanent residency in the US.

What is a green card?

A Green Card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently. The per-country caps are numerical limits on the issuance of green cards to individuals from certain countries.

The employment-based Green Card backlog reached a new record of 1.8 million cases this year, according to the study by David J Bier of the Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank.

About 1.1 million of the 1.8 million cases in the backlog are from India (63%). Another nearly 250,000 are from China (14%), the think tank said.

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Updated: 14 Oct 2023, 09:38 AM IST

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