In light of recent announcements from the Department of Homeland Security, many foreign nationals from Ukraine and Sudan that are currently in the U.S. may possess eligibility for employment through Temporary Protected Status TPS. However, these individuals must meet certain requirements in order to apply for the status. The registration period will extend for 18-months from April 19, 2022 to October 19, 2023.
TPS permits eligible individuals from designated countries to remain in the U.S. due to conditions in their country of origin that would prevent them from safely returning. This is commonly due to armed conflict, health emergencies, and environmental disasters, among other issues. In order to qualify for TPS, individuals must be a national of the designated country and must have resided continuously in the U.S. since the effective date the country was designated for TPS. After an individual is granted TPS, they are protected from removal from the U.S. and are eligible to receive employment authorization documents.
The registration process for nationals of Ukraine and South Sudan present in the U.S. is similar. For Ukrainian nationals to qualify, they must be capable of showing that they have resided in the U.S. continuously from April 11, 2022. They must file Form I-821 Application for Protected Status in order to register, which may be done online. This may be accompanied by a filing of Form I-765, Request for Employment Authorization, in order to receive authorization to work. Alternatively, this may be done at a later date.
For Sudanese nationals, they must show proof that they have resided in the U.S. continuously from March 1, 2022. As with Ukrainian nationals, they must file Form I-821 in order to register for protected status and Form I-765 to receive employment authorization. The deadline for both Sudanese and Ukrainian nationals is October 19, 2023. Nationals from either country that reside outside of the U.S. are ineligible for TPS.
For employers, TPS status means the potential to recruit from a large pool of Ukrainian and Sudanese nationals. In total, the USCIS has estimated that 62,690 individuals might qualify for TPS. For employers, it is important to keep in mind that those who file for work authorization alongside their filing for TPS will receive their EAD dated October 19, 2023. It is uncertain after this date if either of these countries may receive an extension of eligibility. However, during the current labor shortage, this will offer employers access to thousands of additional workers.
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