US extends validity of Employment Authorization Documents, how it will benefit Indians awaiting green cards


The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will extend validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) to five years for certain non-immigrant categories.

These include initial and renewal EADs for certain non-citizens who must apply for employment authorisation, according to the US immigration agency. Applicants for asylum or withholding of removal, adjustment of status under INA 245, and suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal come under this.

The validity extension is applicable to those awaiting Permanent Resident Cards, popularly known as Green Cards. The Green Card is a document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently.

How will it benefit Indians?

This move is expected to benefit Indians as around 10.5 lakh people from the country are awaiting the employment-based Green Cards. According to the federal immigration body, the EAD validity extension period will bring down the number of new Forms I-765, which is the application for employment authorization, over the next several years, and there by cut the processing time and reduce the backlogs.

According to a study by David J, Bier, associate director of immigration studies at Cato Institute, a Washington. DC-based libertarian think tank, published in August, Indians account for 63 per cent of the total 18 lakh backlog cases among Green Card applicants this year. And four lakh of the 10.5 lakh Indians awaiting Green Card may die before they could get the document, revealed the study.

“Because no country may receive more than 7 per cent of the green cards (the country caps) unless they would otherwise go unused, the 1.1 million cases from Indians in the backlog bear most of the burden of the broken system,” the study pointed out.

More than 50 per cent of the backlog is in the EB-2 category for employees of US businesses with advanced degrees and another 19 per cent are in the EB-3 category for employees with at least bachelor’s degrees, says the study, adding that a major chunk of these applicants are Indians.

“For new applicants from India, the backlog for the EB-2 and EB-3 categories (which are combined because applicants can move between them) is effectively a life sentence: 134 years. About 424,000 employment‐based applicants will die waiting, and over 90 percent of them will be Indians. Given that Indians are currently half of all new employer‐sponsored applicants, roughly half of all newly sponsored immigrants will die before they receive a green card,” it stated.


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