Seeking Asylum and the Right to Work

Being forced to flee your home to escape danger is a terrible ordeal. People who arrive in the United States seeking asylum face an uncertain and stressful future.

Part of the problem comes from the additional feeling of helplessness that comes with an inability to work. Despite widespread labor shortages affecting many American industries, migrants face an uphill battle in securing the right to work.

A Slow Process

Applying for asylum isn’t easy. Without the assistance of an experienced lawyer, many people are hard-pressed to navigate the obstacles placed before them by the legal system.

Once an immigrant has managed this difficult step, they must wait 150 days before they can file a work permit application. Once filed, it takes another month for a successful application to be approved. Six months without work is a heavy burden for people who often arrive here under dire circumstances.

The Work Permit Is Just the Beginning

As is often the case, one step in the process can hold up many others. In some states, you need a work permit to get a driver’s license. Without the ability to work, many immigrants can’t get access to health insurance. The path to becoming a productive, participating member of society runs directly through the work permit.

Calls for an Expedited Procedure

People seeking asylum have the right to be here until their applications are decided one way or another. Many states are calling for an expedited process to allow these people to work while they await a final decision. It’s taxing on city and state resources to support people who can’t work and have no safe place to call home.

While there’s legislation under consideration that would theoretically shorten the 6-month wait time to 30 days, it’s not clear that it would solve the problem even if it passed.

The bottleneck is also tied to a lack of personnel at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS is understaffed, which leads to longer wait times and severe consequences when there are mistakes in an application.

Call for Assistance With Asylum or Work Permit Issues

In most cases, the help of an experienced attorney is vital when dealing with the USCIS. Mark E. Jacobs offers more than 30 years of experience working with immigration issues such as asylum and work permitting. If you need help working through the process, call our Dallas offices at 972-445-7577.

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