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ALERT: USCIS Has Made Big Changes to the Rule on Employment Authorization for Asylum Applicants

| Jul 8, 2020 | Immigration Law

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), issued a regulation on June 26, 2020, that will come into effect on August 25, 2020, making it more difficult for persons with pending asylum applications to obtain Work Authorization (work permit).

The new rule changes several things as listed below:

1. It will increase the time an asylum applicant has to wait before they can file for a work permit from 150 days to 365 days. This wait time is usually called the “asylum clock”. This will apply to a person whose asylum application was received on or after March 28, 2020.

2. It will prevent anyone who crosses the border without inspection after August 25, 2020, from being able to receive a work permit while their asylum is pending. There are a few exceptions to this new obstacle.

3. It will prevent anyone who applies for asylum more than one year after they enter the United States from obtaining a work permit while their asylum application is pending with a few exceptions such as if the adjudicator finds an exception to the one-year filing deadline. It is important to keep in mind that this change will affect anyone who is in valid status that have a clear extraordinary or changed circumstances exception.

4. It will allow the denial of work permits while the asylum is pending for “unresolved applicant delays.” These delays can range from: A) a request to amend a pending application for asylum or to supplement the application if “unresolved” on the date the work permit application is adjudicated; B) an applicant’s failure to appear to receive and acknowledge receipt of the decision following an interview, and C) submitting additional evidence fewer than 14 calendar days before the asylum interview or a request for an extension to submit additional evidence.

5. It will prevent anyone seeking asylum who has certain criminal convictions (such as aggravated felonies and certain lesser convictions) from obtaining a work authorization while their asylum case is pending.

6. It will allow USCIS to limit the time period a work permit is valid.

7. It will allow USCIS to terminate a person’s work permit after the asylum office denies their case; and terminate the work permit 30 days after a immigration judge denies the asylum unless the case is appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

8. It will prevent an individual who is paroled into the United States after a credible/reasonable fear interview from being eligible to obtain a work permit.

9. It will prevent a person who has a pending federal court petition for review from being eligible to obtain a work permit.

This new rule does not apply to work permit applications or renewal that are pending on or before August 25, 2020.

Please note that the above is only a summary of some of the changes.

If you or someone you know has a pending asylum application or is thinking about seeking asylum please contact our office for up to date sound advice from experienced immigration attorneys such as those at Rotella & Hernandez, 305-596-3618.