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Employment Authorization Document Renewal Delays May Impact Manufacturers

January 31, 2020

Under current U.S. laws, regulations, executive orders, policies and adjudication trends, employing foreign workers to meet the product development, process innovation and production demands facing U.S. manufacturers is not for the faint-hearted or impatient. However, a substantial number of U.S. manufacturers continue to find creative and successful ways under our immigration laws to obtain U.S. work authorization for foreign workers needed at all levels of their workforce.

Many U.S. manufacturers legitimately employ unskilled, semi-skilled or skilled foreign workers with U.S. work authorization based on an unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Unless automatic extensions of such EADs are available, such foreign workers often lose their U.S. work authorization temporarily and must drop out of the workforce for indeterminate periods because of the current processing delays for EAD renewal applications. Such delays can range from 5.5 to 7.5 months. The temporary loss of foreign workers in need of an EAD renewal is often disruptive to the manufacturing process and adds costs for the recruitment and training of replacement workers. Additionally, there is a very real and looming threat that H-4 visa holders with the job skills and knowledge necessary for manufacturing jobs will soon have their eligibility for an EAD revoked. This prospect already has some U.S. manufacturers scrambling to find other visa options for these foreign workers in order to retain their vital skills and realize the investment in their training.

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