Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘EAD’

18th December 2010

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE), an agency operating under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, is tasked with enforcing the Immigration and Customs laws of the United States of America. This blogger recently came across a news release from the USICE which took note of the fact that an ICE investigation resulted in the conviction of a former FBI agent. To quote directly from the ICE.gov website:

DALLAS – A former special agent with the FBI in Dallas was sentenced on Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to two years probation and ordered to pay an $18,000 fine, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General.

Ann Cox, 49, of Rockwall, Texas, pleaded guilty in September to the misdemeanor offense of unlawfully employing aliens.

According to documents filed in the case, from at least August 1997 until December 2008, Cox operated a Schlotzky’s Deli in Rockwall. While operating the deli franchise, she hired and employed individuals knowing that they were not either admitted for permanent residence in the U.S. or authorized to be employed. The documents name a total of six such individuals.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Casey Jr. stated, “When FBI internal security procedures first detected the possibility that former Special Agent Cox may have committed this crime, I immediately referred this matter to our headquarters in Washington, D.C. Pursuant to established procedures within the Department of Justice, an investigation was then conducted by the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with the full cooperation of the FBI. While it is disappointing that an FBI special agent chose to break the law, it is important for citizens to understand that the FBI has an unwavering commitment to take appropriate action when transgressions are committed by its employees, the overwhelming majority of whom are above reproach in their professional and personal conduct.”

For those unfamiliar with matters pertaining to United States Immigration law, it should be pointed out the American authorities take immigration matters seriously and it is becoming ever more apparent that law enforcement agencies are stringently enforcing immigration regulations especially in the area of unlawful employment. As can be seen from the above quotation, intentionally employing undocumented immigrants is a serious matter that can lead to harsh legal penalties. For this reason, it is prudent to ascertain the lawful status of those being employed by a business in the United States in order to be certain that those employed in the US are either US Citizens, lawful permanent residents, or have been granted employment authorization by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

For related information please see: US visa fraud.

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27th May 2010

For those who bring a foreign fiance or fiancee to the United States of America, an often asked question is: “What if my fiancee wants to work in the USA prior to her adjustment of status?” The answer to this question is somewhat complicated. When a foreign fiancee or spouse enters the United States on a non-immigrant K1 visa or K3 Visa, the entrant is generally not authorized to take up employment in the USA until that alien either adjusts status to permanent residence (Green Card) or obtains employment authorization. Recently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that, in an effort to decrease immigration fraud, new Employment Authorization Documents are to be issued. The following is a direct quote from USCIS’s official statement:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that it has revised the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), or Form I-766, to incorporate the addition of a machine-readable zone on the back of the card.. This update to the EAD is part of USCIS’s ongoing efforts to deter immigration fraud. Starting May 11, USCIS began issuing the revised EAD cards. The machine-readable zone is compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization standards. USCIS also removed the two-dimensional bar code on the backside of the card and moved the informational box of text to just beneath the magnetic stripe on the card. The revised card retains all of its existing security features.

In most cases, foreign fiancees or spouses of US Citizens opt to wait for permanent residence before taking up employment. However, in some instances this is not the case as there are increasing numbers of foreign fiancees and spouses who work for multi-national companies. These international businesses sometimes wish to have their non-US Citizen employee start work in the USA as soon as they can. Therefore, there are situations in which speedy employment authorization is a necessity.

In the past, K3 Visa holders could seek employment authorization at the port of entry when they entered the USA. As the K-3 Visa is being increasingly phased out, this method of receiving employment authorization is being employed less frequently. Another issue that often arises in the context of Employment Authorization is that of advance parole. Holders of a US fiance visa cannot leave the United States prior to adjustment of status and simultaneously maintain their lawful K1 status unless they apply for, and receive, an advance parole travel document.  In some cases, couples making an application for advance parole will also make an application for an EAD in order to work in the USA.

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24th July 2009

The K-1 visa is a very popular visa for Thai nationals who have a US Citizen loved one. The US Embassy in Bangkok processes a large number of fiance visa cases each year. Many of those who apply for a United States K-1 visa have questions about their status once they reach the USA. In most cases, the answers are cut and dried, but there are some questions that have more nuanced answers.

Many people who travel to the United States on a K1 visa seem to immediately ask the question: Can I work now that I’m here? The answer to that question would be a qualified “yes.” Under the relevant provisions of 8 CFR 274a.12(a)(6), a K-1 visa holder may be entitled to apply for what is known as work authorization. Work authorization is sometimes referred to as a “work permit.” Similar to a work permit in Thailand, the work authorization document in the United States must be obtained by petitioning the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

The work permit’s technical name is: Employment Authorization Document (EAD). There are those who are under the mistaken impression that work authorization is a right. In fact, under current United States Immigration laws the K-1 visa holder is not entitled to work authorization as a matter of right, but is simply entitled to submit an application for said status.

A downside of obtaining an Employment Authorization Document while in K-1 status is the fact that the Employment Authorization only lasts as long as the applicant is in K1 status. So it is subject to expiration as soon as the K-1 visa holder’s status changes. This results in employment authorization that lasts for a negligible duration. In most cases, obtaining Work Authorization is often not a net benefit to the prospective applicant except in certain rare circumstances.

That being said, there are other methods of gaining work authorization. A possibly more beneficial option for the prospective work authorization applicant would be to submit an EAD petition in conjunction with an I-485 petition for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence (green card). This method is advantageous because the fee for the Employment Authorization Document is included in the adjustment fee and the result is a net reduction in expenses. Also, the Employment Authorization Document will be valid for one year.

Further, A Thai spouse of a US Citizen present in the United States on a non-immigrant K-3 visa is eligible for work authorization. In the case of the J-1 visa and F-1 visa, the visa holder may be able to obtain a work permit depending upon the situation. Although, particularly in the case of the US Student Visa, work authorization will be severely restricted.

All of this being said, it should be noted that once the K-1 visa holder successfully adjusts status to permanent residence they will have a green card and be legally allowed to work in the United States of America.

(This post is meant for educational purposes only. No Attorney-Client relationship is formed by reading this content.)

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