Changes to Temporary Protected Status Could Affect Employers
The federal government recently announced that it is ending temporary protected status (TPS) for many foreign nationals in the United States. That may mean that some employers will lose workers who will have their right to remain in the United States rescinded.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Web site, there are two types of TPS.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals in the U.S. from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.
Alternatively, the USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of individual countries (or parts of countries) who are already in the United States.
Once granted TPS, an individual may not be detained by DHS due to his or her immigration status in the U.S. and can obtain permission to work. TPS currently applies to people from the following countries - Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Recent TPS terminations
The federal government recently announced the end of the TPS designation for qualified Nicaraguans effective January 5, 2019. The 12-month period is designed to allow them to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible, or to arrange for their departure.
The federal government also announced the TPS for qualified Hondurans will continue for at least six more months until July 5, 2018, because the U.S. government needs additional information regarding their TPS designation. TPS is due to end some point after that.
The federal government announced that TPS for qualified Haitians would end on July 22, 2019, after a delayed effective date of 18 months to allow for an orderly transition.
Impact on Employers
TPS recipients from all three countries will be required to reapply for Employment Authorization Documents to work legally in the United States until their respective termination dates or extension periods.
So, a Nicaraguan, Haitian or Honduran employee working for you may approach you with questions about what this means for their legal status and their ability to work for you. While it is best not to offer immigration-law advice, you may direct them to the USCIS TPS Web site.
If and when a TPS-covered employee successfully changes his/her status allowing him or her to continue to work in the U.S., it is possible that the employee may present new documents to you to amend their I-9. Assuming the new documents appear genuine, you may accept them and modify the I-9.