Skip to content

Collins, Sinema Introduce Bill to Help Asylum Seekers Obtain Jobs More Quickly

The legislation, co-sponsored by Senator King, would make asylum seekers eligible to receive work authorizations starting 30 days after filing an asylum application

Washington, D.C.—In a bipartisan effort to allow asylum seekers find employment more quickly and become self-sufficient, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced legislation today to shorten the waiting period before asylum seekers are allowed to receive work authorizations.  The bill was co-sponsored by Senator Angus King (I-ME).


“The law currently prohibits asylum seekers from working for extended periods of time, which prevents them from supporting themselves and their families as they want to do.  It also inadvertently places the burden of care on states and municipalities,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bipartisan legislation would permit these individuals to work and contribute to the local economy while their asylum claims are being adjudicated.  This commonsense bill would help cities like Portland and their partners in the nonprofit community that are currently caring for a large number of asylum seekers.”


“Arizona’s economy depends on a robust workforce. Our bipartisan bill helps asylum seekers get jobs, support themselves, and participate in Arizona’s economy,” said Senator Sinema, Chair of the Senate Border Management Subcommittee.


“Maine has always welcomed asylum seekers, who have made our communities stronger and richer – but current federal laws are blocking these people from pursuing a job to help them support their families and contribute to their local economies,” said Senator King. “This extended waiting period prevents asylum seekers from earning a paycheck, limits the worker pool for businesses desperately seeking employees, and increases the financial burden on municipal governments. With the economic recovery story in full swing, now is the time to shorten the waiting period for asylum seekers who are looking for employment opportunities.”


Since asylum seekers cannot currently work to provide for themselves or their families for extended periods of time according to existing law, cities and towns where asylum seekers live are under pressure to support them, often by using local general assistance from taxpayers and volunteer contributions. 


The Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act of 2022 would allow individuals seeking asylum to be eligible for work authorizations starting 30 days after they apply for asylum. 


Click HERE to read the text of the bill.