NJ Human Services & Labor Departments Highlight Efforts to Support Newly-Arrived Migrants Eligible to Work in the United States
NJ’s Efforts Build on Recent Actions by Biden Administration to Expedite the Work Permit Application Process, Extend Work Access for Newly Arrived Migrants
October 2, 2023
(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of Human Services and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development today announced the State is investing $2.5 million in federal funds to raise awareness about the work authorization application process and provide application support, and creating two new web portals to help connect migrant arrivals to job opportunities and employers to migrant arrivals who are looking for work. These efforts aim to amplify recent actions by the Biden Administration to assist newly arrived migrants authorized to lawfully work in the United States.
The New Jersey Department of Labor has set up a new website for newly arrived migrants interested in finding work and employers interested in hiring. Visit the website at https://www.nj.gov/labor/ayuda/. The employee and employer portals can be accessed in English and Spanish from the landing page.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it was accelerating processing for work authorization applications for certain migrants, as well as extending and redesignating Venezuela and Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which grants migrants from these two countries employment authorization and temporary protection from removal.
These efforts help protect the safety of migrant arrivals who have escaped dire situations in their home countries, and allow them get their work permits sooner so they can seek employment. These individuals have been lawfully permitted to enter the country through the CBP One App, a free online tool available to migrants in Central and Northern Mexico to schedule appointments for processing at a Point of Entry along the Southwest Border.
“New Jersey is a state that believes in providing equal opportunities for people to build a life for themselves and their families,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “By helping eligible migrants more easily acquire work permits and find employment, we will also bolster our state’s workforce on behalf of businesses throughout New Jersey. I thank the Biden Administration for enabling these efforts to ensure new arrivals to our state and country have access to the American Dream.”
“We appreciate the Biden Administration’s actions to remove barriers and provide legal pathways for New Americans to enter the workforce more quickly, so they can provide for themselves and their families. For many migrants, getting here is the beginning of their journey. Navigating the immigration system can be daunting. We look forward to working with the New Jersey Department of Labor and other stakeholders to ensure newly arrived migrants in New Jersey have the information and support that they need to prosper and build their own American dreams,” said New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman.
“The Labor Department is proud to play a role in assisting every new arrival with job support as they embark on a new life. We know many of these migrants fled life-threatening circumstances in their home countries and completed harrowing journeys to get here. One key to their success is the ability to earn wages for basic necessities like food and housing. We want newly arrived migrants to know we are here to help them find a pathway to gainful employment, and, once they receive their work authorization, we will provide the results-driven workforce services we provide all New Jerseyans, which has led to a strong labor market and the highest labor participation rate in more than 10 years,” said New Jersey Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.
In the United States, employers are required to verify that employees are allowed to work in the country. Certain foreign nationals may need to prove their eligibility to work in the United States by presenting an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit.
Certain new arrivals are immediately eligible to apply for an EAD to legally work in the United States, including individuals paroled into the U.S. through the parole processes for nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela (CHNV), or after receiving a CBP One App appointment and presenting at a Port of Entry. These individuals are not subject to a waiting period.
Despite their immediate eligibility, only a small percentage of working-age individuals paroled after making an appointment through CBP One, have applied for employment authorization, according to a White House press release.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services is dedicating $2.5 million in federal SFRF funds to enhance employment authorization document application assistance and awareness statewide. Over the next few months, the Department’s Office of New Americans (ONA) will develop outreach, education, and application assistance efforts to reach newly-arrived immigrants who are immediately eligible to apply for a work permit.
These efforts will include application assistance as well as support to navigate the eligibility determination process and applications for waivers of the $410 processing fee.
Some individuals may be eligible for a fee waiver if their household income is at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines at the time of filing, if they are facing financial hardship, or if they are a recipient of a means-tested benefit such as Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, or SSI.
The Biden Administration has been sending email and SMS notifications to individuals already eligible to work, informing them of their eligibility to apply for a work permit. New Jersey is building upon these awareness efforts through outreach and education, and is working to adapt, translate, and distribute information about work permit eligibility and the application process to the public, including targeted outreach to community-based organizations and service providers.
“Many migrants who are eligible to work continue to face hurdles that keep them from securing work. These challenges include lack of information about work permits, difficulties gathering the documentation needed to file for a work permit, lack of computer and internet access, and insufficient resources to cover filing fees. New Jersey is building upon the Biden Administration’s efforts to improve access to employment among New Americans by taking steps to mitigate these barriers,” said New Jersey Human Services Deputy Commissioner for Social Services Elisa Neira.
For more information on how to apply for a work authorization document, please see this one-pager developed by the USCIS. Individuals who think they may be eligible should confirm eligibility prior to submitting any application, being aware of potential fraud and misinformation. Individuals who believe they may have been victims of fraud can file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/ or calling 1-800-242-5846.