Temporary Protected Status

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s Compliance News Flash from AGG:

  • The California Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act, which is relevant to California employers and their background screening process.
  • Still in California, a new law on its way to the Governor for signature will require software updates for certain consumer reporting agencies.
  • Employers note for purposes of the Form I-9 that the federal government has again auto-extended the work authorization period for Salvadorans and Haitians under the Temporary Protected Status program.
  • Another write-up about the new notice requirement under the Fair Credit Reporting Act related to security freezes.

Click here to read it.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will be extending work permits for Haitian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries while separately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published a notice extending benefits for certain Haitian students with F-1 visas.   

USCIS is extending the TPS designation for Haiti for 18 months, from January 23, 2013 through July 22, 2014.  This means Haitian TPS beneficiaries can remain in the United States through that period. USCIS will issue new works permits with a July 22, 2014 expiration date to eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for the work permit.   USCIS has also stated that since all re-registrants may not receive new work permits until after their current one’s expire on January 22, 2013, they are automatically extending the validity of work permits for 6 months from January 22, 2013 through July 22, 2013.  This is important for the Employment Eligibility Verification form (form I-9) because for both new hires and existing employees it may appear as if the work permit has expired, when in fact it has been automatically extended. 

Generally speaking, an employer can determine if an employee qualifies for an extension of their work authorization pursuant to this TPS extension if the work permit lists A12 or C19 under Category and expires January 22, 2013.   Eligible individuals may continue to work until July 22, 2013.   

Practice Pointers: This only applies to eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries and the form I-9 must be annotated accordingly depending on whether they are a new hire or an existing employee.  Finally, as of today, this auto-extension is only valid until July 22, 2013, at which point your tickler system should alert you to the fact that you need to re-verify the employee’s work authorization.  You should include a copy of the Federal Register notice with the employee’s form I-9.

Check out the latest edition of E-Verify Connection, a publication of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Clocking in at one page, it is packed with interesting information, including:

  • The expanded list of  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) designated degree programs that qualify eligible graduates for Optional Practical Training (OPT).  Quick programming note — in order to receive a STEM OPT extension an employer must be enrolled in E-Verify.
  • Employer resources en Español (Spanish).
  • Syrian students and employment authorization.
  • Temporary Protected Status and Forms I-9.

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced a re-designation and a new designation to the list of nationals eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) — Somalia and Syria, respectively. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. In the instant cases, TPS was granted due to the ongoing armed conflict.

From an employment perspective this means that if a Somali or Syrian national residing in the United States qualifies for TPS they may be granted work authorization. In some instances, TPS beneficiaries may continue to work despite having an expired work permit as long as the Federal Register announcement allows for an automatic extension of time with respect to their work permit. In all instances, in order to qualify for TPS individuals must apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).