The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced an additional 18-month extension and redesignation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries from Ukraine. According to the announcement, qualifying individuals may remain in the U.S. and qualify for employment authorization through the effective date of the Federal Register notice. As such, they may continue working and living in the U.S. beyond their normal timeframe.
Furthermore, the Department also extended the Special Student Relief program for Ukrainian F-1 nonimmigrant students. This decision expands the students’ ability to work while school is in session. It also maintains the eligible students’ F-1 status while school is in session.
This effort extends and redesignates TPS for Ukraine from October 30, 2023, through April 19, 2025. According to the DHS, the continued armed conflict and dangerous conditions prevent individuals from safely returning to the country. As DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas explained:
“Russia’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis requires that the United States continue to offer safety and protection to Ukrainians who may not be able to return to their country. “We will continue to offer our support to Ukrainian nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.”
This extension will allow current beneficiaries of TPS status to retain their status through April 19, 2025. The decision affects approximately 26,000 beneficiaries, assuming they continue meeting the eligibility criteria. Under the re-designation, nationals of Ukraine may prove eligible to file for TPS.
It also extends eligibility to those without a nationality who last resided in Ukraine and are in the U.S. now. However, this extension applies to those with a non-immigrant status or lacking a lawful immigration status. According to the DHS, an estimated 166,700 individuals may become eligible to file an initial TPS.
Current beneficiaries may re-register to extend their TPS status in the registration period between August 21, 2023, and October 20, 2023. This permission allows them to retain their employment authorization and prevents disruptions to their employment. In addition, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) declared it would help registrants and their employers when reverifying employment authorizations. The agency assured all affected parties that it would automatically extend EADs previously issued under this TPS through October 19, 2024.
Anyone filing an initial TPS request must submit an Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). They may do so through the registration period from August 21, 2023, to April 19, 2025. These individuals may also request EADs by submitting an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765). Additional information is available within the Federal Register Notice.
Changes like these can prove complex for employers needing to reverify their workers. For example, these cases often involve a wide range of identity and work authorization documentation to submit as proof of employment eligibility. Employers can improve the process by using an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool can guide employers through every step of the verification process and provide useful features, including electronic storage and helpful reminders.
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