In order to ease its immigration backlog of over 9.5 million, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has decided to expand its “premium processing” service to the applications for an Employment Authorization Document.
The Employment Authorization Document, or Work Permit, equips the holder to work in the US as a non-immigrant, seeking asylum, or any other eligible legal status. The whole process, both new issue and renewal, takes about 5-7 months, as reported by the USCIS.
According to the USCIS released data, around 2 million applications are received for Employment Authorization Document every year. These applications consist of both fresh authorizations and renewal of expiring permits.
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The backlogs in applications have recently skyrocketed, especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In February 2022, the authority had more than 9.5 million pending applications to process. This was 66% more than the pending number at the end of 2019.
The processing period is proving to be too lengthy in comparison to the number of applications received. Hence, the government has decided to extend the premium processing services over the Work Permits processing.
The applicants can now choose to get their permits processed within 30 days at a fee of USD 1,500. The premium fees may go up to USD 2,500 depending upon the kind of employment for which the Work Permit application has been made.
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The authority hopes that people who have been awaiting their Work Permits for a long time shall choose the faster processing path. The authority is hopeful that this new extension shall help in cutting down the backlog.
USCIS is the authority under the US government which processes the requests for Work Permits, Asylum, Green Cards, US Citizenship, and other immigration subjects. The authority also oversees the application processes of H-1B temporary Work Permits for highly skilled workers.
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Source: The Economic Times