By Jason Fry
On May 24, the Department of Homeland (DHS) announced the designation of Burma (Myanmar) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The designation is for 18 months, until September 2022.
This new designation allows eligible Burmese 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 11, 2021, and continuous physical presence in the United States since May 25, 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
Extraordinary and temporary conditions
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the designation of Burma for TPS for 18 months. Secretary Mayorkas stated, “Due to the military coup and security forces’ brutal violence against civilians, the people of Burma are suffering a complex and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in many parts of the country. After a thorough review of this dire situation, I have designated Burma for Temporary Protected Status so that Burmese nationals and habitual residents may remain temporarily in the United States.”
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 Burmese nationals may apply for TPS within the 180-day registration period that runs from May 25, 2021 through November 22, 2021. 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 processes.
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 Form I-9 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).
TPS Considerations for employers during the Form I-9 process
I-9 management can be a challenge, even beyond day one. 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. And learn how the I-9 Management system from Equifax can help you and your team.
Automate Form I-9 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 send 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.