A leaked memo reveals that Pres. Obama’s new executive action will fast-track thousands of work permits to green card applicants, even if the applicant is in the country illegally. This program will increase the number of foreign citizens who are able to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) and work in the United States.
Currently most guest workers who want to remain in the U.S. permanently must be “sponsored” by an employer through an I-140 application, putting them in line to receive a green card. Once a temporary worker reaches the front of the line they can apply to change their status to a permanent resident alien. Then they receive an EAD, which allows them to work anywhere in the country and apply for welfare, while waiting for their green card. EADs also allow temporary guest workers to remain in the country even when their visas, such as a H-1B visa, expire. There is a limit to how many green cards are given out each year based on country of origin. No country can receive more than 7% of the visas, this can lead to an average wait time of 8 to 10 years to receive a green card.
This rule change would cut the need to file an adjustment-of-status application and give any alien who merely has an approved I-140 petition to receive an EAD. This could allow illegal aliens to receive EADs since you only need an official ID to file an I-140; proving lawful presence is not required. It would also benefit tech companies by flooding the market with cheaper, foreign labor and by getting rid of H-1B visa renewal and administrative fees. Though the EAD permit will not be tied to the employer and provides the worker the ability to work anywhere in the country, unlike the H-1B visa.
According to the memo the USCIS is planning on going through the normal regulatory process to issue these executive changes, allowing the public the opportunity to submit comments, though no details on this proposal are up yet.
Read more at The Hill.
Updated: Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 2:20pm EST