Everything You Need to Know About Employment Eligibility in the U.S.

Are you a full-time jobseeker?

Navigating the labor market as an immigrant or refugee can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to find a job that you qualify for, but you also have to make sure that you’re filling out all of the proper forms and applications.

It can start to feel like the world is against you. Whatever you do, don’t give up.

Employment is possible if you know the proper steps to take. Read on to learn the truth about employment eligibility in the United States.

Immigration Status Hiring Laws

What hiring rules exactly are going to affect immigrant job seekers? It’s important to understand that immigrant job seekers are a broad category. These can be highly skilled individuals such as doctors or even business executives from other countries.

Job seekers might come from the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Sometimes immigrants are even individuals already living in the United States but aren’t living here as citizens.

Immigrants also include the category of individuals living overseas who want to come to the United States but haven’t made the trip over yet. Some of these immigrants are seeking citizenship while others aren’t.

Now that you have a better understanding of the legal definition for immigration status job seeker let’s move on. What documents will you need if you’re not a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States? For starters, you might need to apply for an employment authorization document or EAD.

Employment Eligibility Approval Process

Understanding employment eligibility with the I-765 form or EAD can be a little bit tricky at first glance. But don’t let all the information overwhelm you. Instead, break things up into a simplified checklist.

As you move through the application, you can reference the checklist to ensure that you’re on track. We suggest dedicating a physical binder to your application needs.

Keep track of what documents you have vs. still need. If you need a document but don’t have one, write down the steps towards obtaining it.

The more realistic you can make your application goals, the easier it’ll be to meet them. Instead of having a vague idea about what you need, you’ll have to be specific.

Getting a Job With an EAD

What exactly is an employment authorization document or EAD?

US employers have the responsibility to check the personal information of all of their employees. Tools like I9 everywhere make verification easy. However, verification responsibilities need to be upheld whether the employees are citizens or not.

What does the form do? The EAD will let employers know the specific time period you’re eligible for employment.

Who will need to apply for an EAD? If you have a pending form I-485, you’re probably going to need an EAD. If you have an awaiting form I-589, an application for withholding removal by seeking asylum, you’ll also need an EAD.

Do you have a non-immigrant status that lets you be in the United States but doesn’t allow you to work in the United States without permission? Then you guessed it! You’ll also need an EAD.

You don’t have to apply for an EAD if you’re already a lawful permanent resident of the United States. For instance, let’s say that you already have your green card.

A green card is a permanent resident card, so you won’t need to apply for an EAD as well. You also don’t need to apply for an EAD if you already have a non-immigrant visa to work for a specific employer.

Full English Translation for Job Services

As you submit your different documents or copies of documents, you’ll need to provide a complete English translation. For instance, if you’re submitting original documents in your native tongue, you’ll need a full English translation and certification.

The certification will show that all of the information you’re providing is accurate and competent. The form also proves the translator is capable of performing the translations.

Approval Letters

Prepare to give a copy of your Form I-94, the arrival and departure record. You’ll also need to provide a final notice of eligibility for resettlement which is sometimes referred to as an approval letter.

However, the documents don’t stop there! Next, you’ll need to provide a form I-797 to approve your derivative refugee status. Additionally, include a form I-730 showing your approval for the derivative refugee status.

How to Renew or Replace an EAD

What about employment eligibility if your EAD is about to expire? No worries.

You can submit a renewal request online. You’ll need to file a new form I-765 along with a possible filing fee.

Did you lose your EAD, or did someone steal it? Request a replacement by filling out form I-765 along with a possible filing fee.

Does your EAD have information on it that’s incorrect? Then submit a new form i-765 and any requested documents in the form instructions.

Afghan Parolee Immigration Services

Are you an Afghan parolee seeking help? Then you’re going to need to provide a copy of form I-94, which is a non-immigrant arrival-departure record, along with a passport or travel document.

If you’re Afghan national parole, you will need a social security number. You can apply for social security number using the I-765 form and following all instructions.

During the second part of the form, ensure that you fill out everything correctly. Any small mistakes could set you back for weeks or even months.

Are You Eligible for Permanent Residency?

Do you live outside of the United States, but you want to permanently work in the United States? When you want to live and work in the United States permanently, you’ll have to determine if you’re eligible for permanent residency. However, before you decide if you’re eligible, you’ll need to see if there are any employers out there who want to hire you.

After finding an employer who’s willing to hire you, they’re going to have to fill out a petition for alien worker form or form I-140. You’ll also have to fill out an immigrant visa application with the USCIS.

Permanent Work Status Categories

There are 5 categories of employment skills used to determine eligibility for a permanent work/resident Visa. The first category of employment skills used to evaluate your eligibility is EB-1.

EB-1 covers foreign nationals who display exceptional abilities in the arts and sciences could qualify. This includes extraordinary skills and business, teaching, and management skills.

EB-2 is for professional workers who have advanced degrees. This category can also extend to any individual with exceptional ability.

EB-3 is for any skilled or professional workers. This could include someone such as a carpenter or a locksmith.

EB- 4 specifically applies to special religious workers looking for permanent residence. For instance, preachers and pastors could fall under this category.

EB-5 is a particular category reserved for any immigrants who are investors. Immigrants who are well versed in the stock market could apply under this category.

Seeking Seasonal or Temporary Work

Did you want to work in the United States as a temporary worker? Perhaps you’re only interested in coming for a season rather than looking to live in the United States permanently.

Seasonal and temporary workers will only need to obtain temporary work visas. There are different classifications for temporary work visas. In many cases, the work visa is going to depend on the type of request that the employer is making.

The employer will also have to file an I-129 petition to be eligible to hire temporary workers. Often temporary work visas will last anywhere from 1 to 3 years. In some situations, you’ll be able to renew your temporary work visa for an additional term.

Immigration Services for COVID Grant Relief

Good news! Undocumented workers can enjoy all of the same legal rights as documented workers. There are a few exceptions to this rule regarding unemployment insurance and Union organizing. However, undocumented workers definitely have a leg to stand on when referring to fundamental human rights.

For instance, let’s say that you’re an undocumented worker and suffer hardship because of COVID-19. If you live in the state of California, will there be any government of benefits available to you? Yes.

Beginning May 18th, 2020, California decided to help undocumented workers with special grants. The California department of social services will provide a one-time grant worth $500. The grant applies to anyone 19 years or older who meets the particular criteria.

The criteria include proving that you’re undocumented. Next, prove that you’re ineligible for other types of COVID assistance. You’ll also have to prove that you’ve experienced hardship because of COVID.

A maximum of 2 individuals per household can receive the $500 grant for undocumented workers. The grant disaster relief assistance for immigrants project or DRAI can be a big help.

Your personal information isn’t shared with any type of government agency. To apply for DRAI funds, follow this link.

Wage and Hour Laws for Undocumented Workers

In most situations, undocumented workers will have the same wage and hour rights as other workers too. These laws give you the ability to establish your request for a minimum wage, breaks, tips, and overtime pay.

For instance, an employer can’t refuse to pay you overtime simply because you don’t have papers. If you suffer a violation, you can reach out to the US Department of Labor.

You won’t have to worry about the US Department of Labor questioning you about your immigration status. If your lack of status does come up for some reason, there won’t be any repercussions. Instead, you’ll just get access to the legal information you need to take action.

Temporary Visitors for Business

Are you planning on visiting the United States for business but don’t need to work there permanently? Then you’ll need to obtain a temporary visitor for a business visa. You might also be able to qualify for admission without a visa using the visa waiver program.

There are a few different temporary visitors for business visas available. For instance, there’s the b-1 temporary business visitor visa.

The b-1 Visa allows visitors to conduct activities for commercial purposes. You’ll be able to work business meetings, negotiate contracts, and attend conferences.

There’s also a specific visa for anyone looking to enter Guam. This is the GB temporary visitor to Guam Visa.

Employment Resources for Refugees and Immigrants

There’s hope if you lose your job as an immigrant or refugee. There’s a wide variety of community resources and organizations dedicated to helping you find another job. You can even visit English language learning centers to explore different career paths, set goals, and get help.

One of our favorite community-based employment services is CLUES. CLUES are an excellent resource for Latino job seekers. They can help identify anything stopping you from getting a job and work towards overcoming it.

Is newcomer status, hunger, homelessness impacting you? Let CLUES know about it. They might not fix all of the problems, but they can definitely point you in the right direction.

We also suggest checking out Lutheran social services. Lutheran social services help refugees and Minnesota residents who need to become self-sufficient.

The refugee program can even assist federally approved refugees in reuniting with family members. Their employment program is beneficial for job placement and retention assistance.

For government-based resources, we suggest hiring foreign workers’ organizations. The government employment service allows employers to hire foreign workers permanently.

To qualify, you’ll have to fill out a labor certification application. Then file it with the appropriate employment and economic development department.

Do you need help with your work permits and licensing requirements? Then check out CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop helps you search for licenses specific jobs might require. You can search by state, agency, or occupation. You’ll be able to get all of the information you need so that you can formulate a plan for success.

Take Responsibility for Your Future

You can be a tremendous force of good in your own life if you’re willing to take action. Use all of the tips about employment eligibility from this article today to start applying for new jobs.

If you don’t have the necessary visas or forms completed, work towards completing them today. If you’re stuck, reach out to one of the resource groups we listed in this article. Whatever you do, don’t stop trying.

Want more tips? Read another blog!

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