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Article: Receiving Covid-19 Stimulus Check, Unemployment Insurance Will Not Hurt Your Immigration Status By Charlotte Immigration Law Firm

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  • Article: Receiving Covid-19 Stimulus Check, Unemployment Insurance Will Not Hurt Your Immigration Status By Charlotte Immigration Law Firm

    Receiving Covid-19 Stimulus Check, Unemployment Insurance Will Not Hurt Your Immigration Status

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    Here at Charlotte Immigration Law Firm, we have received a lot of questions about the various COVID-19 related financial relief programs and how they affect foreign nationals’ immigration status.

    For foreign nationals in the US with lawful permanent resident status or unrestricted employment authorization documents (EAD)—such as those based on pending Adjustment of Status applications, pending asylum applications, TPS, DACA, OPT students, etc., the answer is generally that yes, you are eligible for COVID-19 related “Recovery Rebates” stimulus funds and unemployment benefits, and no, receiving such funds will not harm your immigration status.

    Here’s our explanation:

    Yes, lawful permanent residents (i.e., “green card” holders) and those with unrestricted employment authorization documents (i.e., “EAD’s” or “work permits”) are most likely eligible to receive COVID-19 “Recovery Rebates” and, if necessary, expanded unemployment insurance (UI) compensation under the CARES Act. Such individuals qualify as “resident aliens”—even if one only has an EAD and their green card is still pending, the term “resident” has a different definition under the CARES Act than under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The CARES Act definition is based on one’s time spent in the US and the fact that such individuals have valid Social Security Numbers. Those conditions meet the qualifications as a “resident alien” for CARES Act purposes. As far as UI is concerned, in North Carolina and many other states, one must be “able and available to work” in order to qualify for UI. Those with green cards and unrestricted EAD’s are permitted to work for another employer if laid off from their current jobs. Thus, they are “able and available” to work for UI purposes—though, for those with EAD’s based on having pending Employment-Based Adjustment of Status applications, I-485 “portability” rules would be required such new work in the “same or a substantially similar” positions if required to change jobs.

    This “able and available to work” requirement in many states will exclude most temporary nonimmigrant visa holders—including most E, H, J, L O, P, and TN visa workers—from UI benefits. Not to mention, such nonimmigrant workers’ status in the US depends on their employments, and any period of unemployment may trigger the risk of being deemed out of status. Such nonimmigrants facing lay-offs should confer with experienced immigration counsel before taking any action such as applying for unemployment benefits.

    No, if green card holders and those with unrestricted EAD’s accept CARES Act Recovery Rebates or UI their immigration status is most likely not in jeopardy. As explained by the Congressional Research Service, such recovery rebate and unemployment insurance income are explicitly excluded from the “public charge rule” and is not considered “government welfare” for green card eligibility purposes. Recovery rebate and unemployment are generally not “means tested” benefits.

    Of course, this general information should not be accepted in lieu of a personal consultation with experience immigration counsel. If you’re concerned about how applying for or receiving CARES Act COVID-19 financial relief may affect you, or a loved one, or your business, please do not hesitate to contact Charlotte Immigration Law Firm to schedule your consultation with one of our immigration lawyers by calling 704-944-3239,  using this form, or emailing us at contact@charlottelaw.net 

    This post originally appeared on Charlotte Immigration Law Firm. Reprinted with permission.


    About The Author

    Charlotte Immigration Law Firm Our Immigration Lawyers in Charlotte NC practice exclusively in the area of U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law. We offer assistance to individuals, their families, and companies of all sizes as well as foreign investors and entrepreneurs. Our immigration attorneys will work closely with you to create a custom strategy and process your case in a professional and cost-effective manner. We handle various types of applications and petitions including Family/Marriage Green Cards, US Citizenship, Business Immigration, Waivers of Inadmissibility, US Visa, K1 Fiance Visas, Removal of Conditions on Green Card, Consular Immigration Assistance, Applications for LGBT Immigrants, Deportation/Removal Defense , Deferred Action Process, and more. read more immigrant visas Our Charlotte Immigration Lawyer will advise you at all stages, prepare your forms, assemble your materials, and ensure that they are timely filed with the immigration services. An Immigration Lawyer in Charlotte will also advise you on the legal requirements, your eligibility, the range and content of documentation required, and processing time frame.


    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

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