It is estimated that there are millions of immigrants living and working in the United States. While some may have legal status, many do not, and are working without employment authorization. There may be severe immigration consequences for those who work without authorization.
What is unauthorized employment?
USCIS defines unauthorized employment as any service or labor performed for an employer within the United States by a noncitizen who is not authorized by the INA or USCIS to accept employment or who exceeds the scope or period of the noncitizen’s employment authorization. In general, if you are working for either money or other valuable consideration, which can include, but is not limited services, items, or a promise to do or keep from doing something that you are legally entitled to, then you may be considered to have worked without authorization.
What are the Consequences of Working without Employment Authorization in the United States?
Unfortunately, there are too many consequences to list for working without authorization, but with regards to immigration consequences, there are some major ones to be aware of if you are interested in eventually obtaining legal status.
First, you may be placed in removal proceedings and ordered deported if you’re found to have worked without authorization and violated the terms of your visa. Once deported, the ability to legally return to the United States goes down considerably due to a number of requirements to apply to come back in and a number of waivers that may be needed.
Second, working without employment authorization may result in you being barred you from adjusting status in the United States. The bar to adjustment of status will be based on how you might qualify Additional consequences can also include the inability to change or extend your current immigration status and having your visa cancelled. A person with a cancelled visa may have a difficult time applying for any sort of visa to re-enter the United States.
In short, working without employment authorization can have a major negative impact on any plans you may have in obtaining legal status in the United States. The attorneys here at Elmore & Peterson Law Firm, P.A. have years of experience assisting people who have worked without authorization and successfully gained lawful immigration status here in the United States. If you are interested in a consultation, please schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.