Immigrant without valid work permit cannot collect unemployment

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This case from March 30, 2009 illustrates New Jersey’s rule that an immigrant who does not have a valid green card or work permit while employed is ineligible for unemployment benefits.

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division denied unemployment benefits to a Polish immigrant, despite the fact that he had worked in New Jersey.  The claimant entered the U.S. in 1995 on a tourist visa and had a work permit from 2002 to 2003.  He said that he had already bee working for a few years by the time he got his work permit in 2002.

Then in 2006, after his work permit had expired, the claimant got another job, from which he was laid off in February 2007.  This was the employment from which he tried to claim unemployment benefits.  He did not get another work permit until May 2007.

Unfortunately, the claimant could not be eleigible for unemployment benefits since he did not hold a valid work permit while he was employed.  His pleas of ignorance of the English language as a reason for failing to renew the work permit fell on deaf ears.

The lesson in this decision is simple:  Immigrants must have a valid green card or work permit in place while they are working in New Jersey if they want to be able to claim unemployment benefits when needed.

The decision is here:  Cieslewicz v. Board of Review, et al. Docket No. A-2120-07T1 (March 30, 2009).

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