On March 8, the Department of Homeland (DHS) announced the designation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The designation is for 18 months, until September 2022.
This new designation allows eligible Venezuelan nationals currently residing in the U.S. to file initial applications for TPS. Only individuals who can demonstrate continuous residence in the United States as of March 8, 2021 may be eligible.
About Temporary Protected Status
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. TPS may also be designated under certain circumstances to a country that is unable to adequately handle the return of its nationals.
TPS can be extended to a country with conditions that fall into one or more of the three statutory reasons for designation:
- Ongoing armed conflict
- Environmental disasters
- Extraordinary and temporary conditions
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas designated Venezuela for TPS due to extraordinary conditions, including a complex humanitarian crisis.
In a recent press release, Secretary Mayorkas stated, “It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.”
Individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible during a designated period:
- Are not removable from the United States
- Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)
- May be granted travel authorization
Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the U.S.
TPS Work Authorization and Form I-9 Documents
Eligible Venezuelans may apply for TPS within the 180-day registration period. They may also apply for Employment Authorization Documents. EADs can be presented to employers as proof of identity and employment eligibility for Form I-9 purposes.
TPS beneficiaries are authorized to work in the U.S. and they are not required to get an EAD. Although it can be helpful in order to provide acceptable proof of identity and work authorization for Form I-9 purposes. These employees may present an unexpired EAD or any other combination of documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents.
Details about the eligibility criteria to submit an initial TPS application and apply for an EAD can be found in the Federal Register Notice (FRN). The FRN also provides information about Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Venezuelan nationals.
Individuals who apply for and receive TPS and who are also covered by DED do not need to apply for Employment Authorization Documentations under both programs.
More information about Form I-9 and DED EADs can be found in our recent blog: Form I-9 and Deferred Enforcement Departure for Liberians.
TPS Considerations for employers during the Form I-9 process
Employers are responsible for making sure that employment authorization documents remain current. Certain expiring documents need to be updated, while others have automatic extensions. Staying on top of which documents need to be reverified and notifying employers to provide updates can be challenging. Learn more about how to reverify and update Form I-9 in our on-demand webinar, Form I-9 Reverifications, Retention, and Rehires.
Automate Reverifications with I-9 Management
The I-9 Management service from Equifax can help you to stay on top of TPS and EAD extensions. The I-9 Management system helps you to track expiration dates and sends automated reminders for Form I-9 reverifications. Additionally, you can outsource your reverifications to our nationwide network of trained I-9 Anywhere Local Completers. Watch a demo to learn more.
The information provided herein is intended as general guidance and is not intended to convey specific legal advice. Please consult with your own legal or human resources professional(s) for guidance specific to your organization.