US announces 1.5 year extension of work visas, Indians among major beneficiaries

The Homeland Security Department announced this decision which came into effect from 4 May, 2022. Extension of work permits will now allow many immigrants to use their expired work visas for an additional 18 months. The categories that would fetch the benefit includes, people seeking Green Cards(permanent resident card) and those who are married to H1-B visa holders.

The Biden administration, on Tuesday announced that certain categories of immigrants, including those seeking green cards and spouses of H-1B visa holders,  would be allowed to extend their work permits by 18 months more.

The Homeland Security Department announced this decision which came into effect from 4 May, 2022.

Extension of work permits will now allow many immigrants to use their expired work visas for an additional 18 months. The categories that would fetch the benefit includes, people seeking Green Cards(permanent resident card) and those who are married to H1-B visa holders.

As per the department of homeland security, the extension of 180 days will automatically be extended up to 540 days from the expiration date mentioned on the current Employment Authorisation Cards(EADs).

Also Read | Joe Biden declares New Mexico wildfires 'a major disaster'

This new rule will ensure the job security of the employees and would help the US employers to run their work and business smoothly.

As USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) works to address the pending EAD caseloads, the agency has determined that the current 180-day automatic extension for employment authorisation is currently insufficient. This temporary rule will provide those non-citizens, otherwise eligible for the automatic extension, an opportunity to maintain employment and provide critical support for their families, while avoiding further disruption for US employers," said USCIS director Ur M Jaddou.

This new extension policy would enable the immigrants who are still under the previous extension period of 180 days, with an additional 360 days, which totals upto 540 days from the expiration of the current EAD.

Those people with valid EAD and have applied timely for its renewal before 27 October 2023, will be given a 540 days extension, if the renewal process fails, before the expiration of EAD.

This new rule is meant to address the unprecedented backlog of over 1 million work permit applications at the nation's legal immigration agency, following which thousands of immigrants are unable to work legally in the US.

Also Read | Sharifs have made preparations to launch character assassination drive: Imran

"The change will immediately help about 87,000 immigrants whose work authorisation has lapsed or is set to in the next 30 days. Overall, the government estimates that as many as 4,20,000 immigrants renewing work permits will be protected from losing their ability to work for the duration of the policy, an Indian-American community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria, told news agency PTI.

The H1-B visa allows US companies to hire foreign workers with expertise in technology. Thousands of employees in such companies, every year, are hired from countries like India and China.