DHS Softens Deadline for Automatic Extensions for Highly Skilled Foreign Workers

In November, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a Final Rule affecting highly skilled foreign workers in an effort to retain these workers in the U.S. workforce.

One of the provisions provides automatic extensions for individuals with Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) bearing the following category codes: (a)(3), (a)(5), (a)(7), (a)(8), (a)(10), (c)(8), (c)(9), (c)(10), (c)(16), (c)(20), (c)(22), (c)(24), and (c)(31). These individuals are eligible for an automatic extension for up to 180 days, provided that the extension application was submitted—requesting the same category—prior to the current EAD expiration date.

Initially, DHS only provided automatic extensions to individuals in this group who submitted EAD extension applications on or after January 17, 2017. However, DHS has since changed its position and now allows the new automatic extension provisions to also apply to EAD extension applications pending as of January 17, 2017.

Employers should determine whether there were any employees in the above-listed categories who were suspended or terminated but had EAD extension applications pending as of January 17, 2017. If so, employers should notify those employees that they can return to work, provided they are able to provide documentation demonstrating their eligibility for automatic extension.

Please contact MSEC’s Immigration Services Department with any questions.