On Tuesday, the immigration service (USCIS) extended temporary work authorization for certain individuals. USCIS granted an 18-month extension for those awaiting final immigration papers. This decision comes as the agency faces a record-high backlog of pending applications.
In March, USCIS announced a plan to reduce the backlog. However, the agency is still working to reverse many Trump-era policies that slowed down processing, as well as underfunding. The pandemic has compounded the backlog as well.
With the extension, existing applicants will not need to pay new fees for an Employee Authorization Document (EAD), and gives some security to immigrant workers. However, people with an expired EAD, even with the automatic extension, can have trouble proving to employers that they are able to work. Additionally, this extension does not allow for travel abroad. Immigrants awaiting formal processing are still unable to travel internationally.
The extension will apply to certain EAD applicants, including asylees and asylum-seekers, refugees, green card applicants, certain spouses of work visa holders, and others. Find out more here.