USCIS to expedite EAD renewals for healthcare workers

The move may bring relief to some working in critical areas, but many see it as yet another half-baked measure

As USCIS continues to deal with a large number of expedite requests from applicants who have been awaiting their EADs or work permits that have been delayed for more than a year now, a new move may help certain categories of EAD holders.

USCIS just announced that the agency will be expediting the EADs for healthcare workers employed in the US. The new ruling, which can bring immediate relief to several people who have been working in critical areas, will be implemented on certain conditions.

USCIS will be expediting the EADs for healthcare workers only if an EAD renewal is pending and their EAD is expiring within 30 days or has already expired.

Read: USCIS seeks to include work permits in premium processing (December 15, 2021)

The new USCIS guidance on expedited EADs for health care workers states, “Effective immediately, if you are a healthcare worker who has a pending Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewal application and your EAD expires in 30 days or less or has already expired, you can request expedited processing of your EAD application.”

While this may be seen as a big step considering the large number of EAD holders who lost their jobs due to processing delays during the pandemic, some others think that this yet again proves to be a half-baked measure.

Vermont based H-1B holder, Mahesh T. Srikumar asks, “Why does USCIS continue to create complications by creating categories and sub-categories. Won’t it be much simpler if there was an automatic extension of 180 days on all EAD applications?”

Some others echo the sentiment as they expressed confusion over whom USCIS categorizes as healthcare workers.

Read: Everything you need to know about H-4 EAD, L-2 settlement (November 16, 2021)

Raja S. says, “my wife works in a laboratory and while her EAD is not pending, we would definitely like to know if she qualifies as a healthcare worker or if the move only qualifies doctors and nurses.”

For those wondering on who all qualify to request expediting under this category must know that the DHS advisory memorandum has a detailed list of essential critical infrastructure workers.

This includes workers, including laboratory personnel, that perform critical clinical, biomedical and other research, development, and testing needed for Covid-19 or other diseases.

Read: USCIS Releases Guidance on Expedited EADs for Health Care Workers (December 28, 2021)

It also includes healthcare providers including, physicians, dentists; psychologists; mid level practitioners; nurses; emergency medical services personnel, assistants and aids; infection control and quality assurance personnel; phlebotomists; pharmacists; physical, respiratory, speech and occupational therapists and assistants; social workers; optometrists; speech pathologists; chiropractors; diagnostic and therapeutic technicians; and radiology technologists.

Another EAD holder Khushi Shah says, “Well, a welcome move! But it solves the problem for maybe 5 percent of those awaiting EADs. What happens to 95 percent of others? Why does no one think about them?”

(Some names have been changed in the story on request)

One Comment

  1. I feel that we are missing the point: we are not looking at USCIS decision with the right narrative. Maybe the point is not to solve the problems of a population of immigrants. That is why many do not understand how this decision would make sense. I think we are beyond an immigration question: the point is to help solve the problem of understaffed hospital and raging COVID.
    We want all capable healthcare workers at work, as soon as possible. Point.

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