DHS Designates Ethiopia for TPS and Expands Employment Authorization for Ethiopian Students

Authorization for Ethiopian Students
December 19, 2022

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated Ethiopia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Ethiopia will have this status for eighteen months, starting on December 12, 2022, and continuing through June 12, 2024. This designation will allow eligible Ethiopians and individuals to file for TPS, advance parole, and a related employment authorization document (EAD). Qualified Ethiopians and individuals include those with no nationality who last habitually resided in Ethiopia. The Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consider the designation warranted. This belief is due to the armed conflict occurring in the country and the difficult conditions resulting from significant climate shocks.

The DHS will also suspend some employment authorization rules for Ethiopians with F-1 statuses undergoing severe economic difficulties due to the crisis occurring in their country.

All employees must present documentation to their employer that proves their eligibility to work in the United States. TPS beneficiaries can obtain an EAD, showing they have the right to work in the US. TPS beneficiaries must file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) to get an EAD. With this application, they must either pay the fee for the form or request a fee waiver. Parties can submit this waiver with the Request for Fee Waiver (Form I-912). Ethiopians applying for TPS may file Form I-765 along with their TPS application or file it later if their TPS application is either still pending or approved.

There are also relaxed employment authorization rules that will help some Ethiopian students with F-1 status. The rules allow eligible students to maintain their designation as having full courses of study if they experience severe economic difficulties. For example, the rules would allow them to request employment authorizations, permitting more work hours while school is in session and decreasing the required courses. These rules will be effective from December 12, 2022, through June 12, 2024. However, according to the DHS, F-1 students who want to qualify for this relief must meet the following conditions:

  • “Are a citizen of Ethiopia regardless of country of birth (or an individual having no nationality who last habitually resided in Ethiopia);
  • Were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 USC 1101(a)(15)(F)(i), on the date of publication of this notice;
  • Are enrolled in an academic institution that is Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified for enrollment for F-1 nonimmigrant students;
  • Are currently maintaining F-1 nonimmigrant status; and
  • Are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current crisis in Ethiopia.”

Those F-1 students who obtain permission to work off-campus from their Designated School Officer must apply for an EAD. To do this, they must submit Form I-765 and pay the required fee or submit Form I-912 to request a fee waiver. It is not necessary for students who work on-campus to file for an EAD. However, they will still need authorization from their Designated School Officer.

Employers that hire these workers must complete a lot of paperwork, including Form I-9. This form can prove more complicated for these workers due to the different types of documentation they may present. The easy way to ensure a completed Form I-9 is to invest in an electronic I-9 management system. This system will guide employers through the entire process. It will also safely and securely store the form and any accompanying documentation.

Automate your employment eligibility verification today with the ensured compliance of I-9 Compliance.