Employment Law

Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Haiti to cease in 2019

On January 8, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced that temporary protected status (TPS) for El Salvador will cease. The termination date will be delayed for 18 months, until September 9, 2019. Approximately 260,000 individuals are currently registered with the program.

Immigration

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The decision came pursuant to a review of the disaster-related conditions upon which the original TPS designation was issued and an assessment of whether those conditions continue to exist and require further extension of TPS and its related benefits. This decision comes shortly after Acting Secretary Elaine Duke announced a similar determination to terminate TPS for Haiti; that designation will end July 22, 2019.

Trump Administration: The Effect on Immigration Management

The Trump Administration wants to repeal TPS for 200,000 El Salvadorians living and working in the United States. How do companies prepare themselves for situations like these? How concerned are employers about their foreign national workers? What would they like to see happen next? Find out in this great report.

Download Now

What is TPS?

TPS, or temporary protected status, is a temporary immigration status that is granted to eligible nationals from designated countries. Often granted on humanitarian grounds such as civil war, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary conditions, the duration of TPS and subsequent extensions will vary from country to country and situation to situation.

During a TPS period, eligible individuals who have been continuously physically present/residing in the United States may not be removed from the country. Further, and most significant to employers, TPS beneficiaries can obtain employment authorization and may legally work in the U.S. during the duration of protected status.

Currently, individuals from the following countries may be in the U.S. in TPS: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. However, the Department of Homeland Security has opted not to extend status for several of these countries, including Nicaragua, Haiti, and, most recently, El Salvador.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

As is the case with any employee currently working legally under a temporary employment authorization, employers should refrain from taking any direct action, such as reviewing documentation or I-9s, for workers until the authorization actually expires.

However, employers do need to be cognizant of the likelihood that TPS will expire for many workers and that these workers may no longer be eligible for employment after the expiration of their EADs. Employers should ensure that they have a means of being alerted to the expiration of these statuses—preferably, at least 90 days in advance—so that affected employees can be provided with notice of their expiring documentation. However, no employment action or document review should occur before that expiration date.

Each worker’s situation should be handled on an individual basis; keep in mind that some workers in the U.S. on TPS may obtain valid employment authorization under other categories. Thus, if the employee is able to provide authorization to continue work upon the expiration date of his or her TPS-related documentation, then this documentation should be noted on Form I-9.

Otherwise, if the employee cannot provide valid, unexpired work authorization, then employment must cease. For additional guidance on managing expiring employment authorization, see this FAQ entry from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

If TPS recipients have questions about their status, DHS recommends contacting 800-375-5283 or visiting https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status for further guidance.

 

Trump Administration: The Effect on Immigration Management

The Trump Administration wants to repeal TPS for 200,000 El Salvadorians living and working in the United States. How do companies prepare themselves for situations like these? How concerned are employers about their foreign national workers? What would they like to see happen next? Find out in this great report.

Download Now

 

HollyHolly K. Jones, JD is a Senior Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. She understands the existing and emerging needs and challenges of human resources professionals thanks to several years of experience managing, writing, and editing key legal and compliance publications for BLR. Prior to joining BLR, Ms. Jones worked for the Tennessee Legislature’s Office of Legal Services.

She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in English Rhetoric and Writing, Political Science, and Psychology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she also received a 2001 Citation for Extraordinary Academic Achievement. She received her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School and is licensed to practice law in Tennessee.

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Questions? Comments? Contact Holly at hjones@blr.com for more information on this topic.