The Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, recently announced an 18-month extension and re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuela. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that this TPS expansion for Venezuela will make almost half a million newcomers eligible for work authorization and provide protection from deportation.
Secretary Mayorkas remarked, “Temporary protected status provides individuals already present in the United States with protection from removal when the conditions in their home country prevent their safe return. That is the situation that Venezuelans who arrived here on or before July 31 of this year find themselves in. We are accordingly granting them the protection that the law provides. However, it is critical that Venezuelans understand that those who have arrived here after July 31, 2023, are not eligible for such protection, and instead will be removed when they are found to not have a legal basis to stay.”
Many local leaders have called for the current administration to provide a large wave of migrants the ability to work legally. Such leaders include those in New York, and they agree that those from Venezuela deserve this ability. This redesignation of TPS will allow an estimated 472,000 migrants the chance to apply for work authorization.
Eligible individuals without TPS may file an Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). This group includes Venezuelan nationals and those without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela. However, interested parties have yet to hear when the registration period for filing Form I-821s will begin. When it starts, filing parties may also apply for employment authorization documents (EADs) by filing Form I-765 with the I-821 or separately.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also provided answers for those with pending Form I-821 or Form I-765s. The USCIS revealed it would not require these individuals to file new applications to access the extended timeframe. Once either form receives approval, the TPS or EAD will have the extended date.
The DHS has yet to publish a Federal Register Notice detailing the extension and re-designation. Until the DHS publishes this notice, many hope for answers on when and how to apply for either form. Interested employers also expect details on completing the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process with the extended EADs.
Until then, employers should watch for further updates and changes to I-9’s compliance regulations. Integrating an electronic I-9 management system into the hiring process is one means to comply. This tool guides employers through every step, offers digital storage for forms and documents, and provides other features that ensure continued compliance.
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