U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a policy change that would benefit non-citizens with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The new policy will allow the USCIS to issue new travel authorization documents, amending the process by which those individuals under TPS could receive foreign travel permission. This policy significantly changes the processing time because it clears non-citizens with the new TPS travel authorization as inspected and admitted. Because of this, they might qualify for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident status (a green card) if they have a family-based or employment-based immigrant visa petition.
Congress created the TPS in 1990, allowing non-citizens to remain in the U.S. regardless of their immigration status. This policy also protected them irrespective of how they entered the country and if they were foreign nationals designated for temporary protection by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
USCIS issued a policy memorandum on July 1st, 2022, that will give individuals with TPS a way to travel outside the States. The memorandum will also allow them to return with a legal status that can permit them to qualify for a green card.
TPS prevents individuals from being removed from the country and comes with a right-to-work authorization. It also allows the individual with TPS to apply for advance permission to travel abroad and be readmitted to the U.S. This new policy is effective immediately, and people with TPS can use Form I-512T to apply for travel authorization from the USCIS.
The new policy may affect employers in various ways, two of which stand out. Specifically, there is likely to be an increase in leave requests and the need for employers to sponsor their workers for permanent residency. This sponsorship requires an available immigrant visa, no obstacles to the adjustment, and a favorable decision. In addition, some employers may help their employees financially to obtain this status or by obtaining legal counsel.
This change could also change the Form I-9 process, though it is difficult to say. For now, employers must remember that TPS beneficiaries can choose to present any acceptable documents they want from List A, B, or C when completing Form I-9.
Completing Form I-9 can be complicated due to the many documents an employee may present. Investing in an electronic I-9 management system allows for quick, accurate, and completed Form I-9s. In addition, the system guides hiring personnel through the entire process, securely stores the Form I-9s, and has them easily accessible as needed.
Learn more about automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9 Compliance.