Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers
Author: New York Immigration attorney
An important agreement was reached in connection with asylum clock and ability of asylum seekers to obtain an EAD (employment authorization). The law states that if an application for asylum has been pending for more than 180 days, an asylum seeker can apply and be granted a work authorization.
In reality, however, many asylum seekers were deprived of the opportunity to apply for an EAD due to the stopped asylum clock. Hence, the work authorization for asylum seekers was a matter of timing the process “right” and luck.
A class action law suit A.B.T. et al. v. USCIS, et al. challenged this practice, and it looks like the government and the plaintiffs were able to reach a resolution to ensure that Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers will be available.
If approved by the judge, the settlement will give an opportunity to many asylum seekers to receive work authorization and support themselves legally while they are waiting for the finality of their cases.
It is even more important in the light of increased wait periods in Immigration courts.
The settlement provides for an opportunity to challenge work authorization application denials; strengthens the notice and due process rights of asylum seekers and provides for new rules as to asylum clock procedures.
The reached agreement is an important step in improving the application process of work authorization for asylum seekers.