The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the redesignation and extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalia. This extension includes an additional 18 months, making over 2,000 Somali immigrants eligible for work permits and deferral of deportation. In addition, this redesignation and extension of TPS statutes will allow Somali nationals residing in the United States to apply if they meet eligibility requirements. However, this redesignation and extension apply only to those who lived in the United States as of January 11th, 2023.
Due to continued civil unrest, terrorism, outbreaks of disease, and natural disasters, Somalia has suffered from a severe humanitarian crisis that has been ongoing for several decades. According to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, “Through the extension and redesignation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status, the United States will be able to offer safety and protection to Somalis who may not be able to return to their country due to ongoing conflict and the continuing humanitarian crisis.”
In 1990, Congress established the TPS status. It permits certain immigrants to remain in the U.S. and receive employment authorization if their home country is undergoing a humanitarian crisis that would make it unsafe for them to return. So long as an immigrant meets the eligibility requirements, this temporary relief will permit individuals to live and work in the U.S. for a specified time. However, it does not provide eligibility for permanent legal status.
The current TPS extension will allow an estimated 430 current beneficiaries of TPS status to retain their status through September 17th, 2024, if they remain eligible. In addition, the redesignation of Somalia will allow an estimated 2,200 eligible Somali nationals and individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia to file an initial application for TPS status.
This extension will provide an additional 18 months of TPS from March 18th, 2023, through September 17th, 2024. In addition, the DHS will soon publish a notice in the Federal Register to provide more details on eligibility criteria. This notice will also inform how beneficiaries may file an initial application for or renew Employment Authorization Documents to complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9). Furthermore, it will also provide employers with information on completing Form I-9 for the existing EADs that would renew under this extension.
As these changes show, the Form I-9 process changes often. This constant shifting can prove challenging for employers to keep up. However, an electronic I-9 management tool can help ensure that employers remain compliant with complete and accurately completed employment eligibility verification forms for each employee.
Learn more about automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9 Compliance.