In August, Joseph & Hall, through the IMMPact Immigration Litigation collaboration, filed a lawsuit against United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Northern District for Illinois. The lawsuit, titled Shumilina v. Jaddou, argued that USCIS was unlawfully requiring those who enter under the Uniting for Ukraine program to file for and receive work permits before they could legally work in the United States. The law, IMMPact argued, actually authorized Uniting for Ukraine entrants to work upon their entry to the United States without any need to wait for USCIS to produce a work permit (a process that regularly takes over a year). In addition, for those who did choose to file for a work permit, the law required the initial application to be processed without fee. USCIS had been charging $410 for the initial application.
Following months of discussions, the government announced on November 21 that it would be changing policies to comply with the law. Effective November 21, 2022, those who entered through the Uniting for Ukraine program are considered work authorized and are not required to file for a work permit. For those who choose to file for a work permit, there will be no fee for the initial application.
The government has not yet made any commitment to refunding filing fees to those illegally charged $410 prior to November 21. IMMPact is exploring options to seek the refund of those fees.
For information on the policy changes, see the “After the Beneficiary Is Paroled into the United States” drop-down tab on the USCIS website here: https://www.uscis.gov/ukraine
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