Recently, individuals from Burma, Yemen and Somalia received TPS. So, what does TPS mean for employers? Let’s start at the beginning.
What is TPS?
TPS stands for Temporary Protected Status.
According to immigrationforum.org, TPS is granted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to eligible foreign-born individuals who are unable to unable to return home safely due to conditions or circumstances preventing their country from adequately handling the return. This protection allows recipients to work, pay taxes, and contribute to society without the fear of deportation.
Congress established TPS in 1990 for people whose countries cannot handle their return because of a specific condition or circumstance.
What qualifies as a condition or circumstance?
Countries receive TPS designations for several reasons. For example, an ongoing armed conflict (civil war), an environmental disaster (tsunami, hurricane, etc.), epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
Who is eligible for TPS?
TPS rules are typically published after an extenuating circumstance occurs in a country. Then, any individuals in the United States from the country, are eligible for TPS.
There are currently over 400,000 foreign national TPS holders from countries around the world.
TPS designations for Yemen and Somalia will expire in September 2021.
Can I hire someone with TPS?
Once an individual has TPS, they are granted work authorization. Remember, TPS is temporary. Thus, it can end at any time.
If you have someone on staff that has work authorization through TPS, you should:
- Make sure they do what they need to do to apply for new EAD (employee authorization document)
- Support employees to maintain work authorization
- Reverify I-9 forms once they have updated evidence of work authorization.
Where do TPS holders work?
According to immigrationforum.org, around 130,000 TPS holders are working as “essential critical infrastructure workers” – many in healthcare and food services – working with Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and helping with the economic recovery in the U.S. Each year, TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti contributed $4.5 billion in pre-tax wages or salary income to the U.S. GDP.
As an employer, it is important to remember TPS is temporary respite for individuals from another country until conditions in their country that caused the turmoil are better and they can safely return. There is no direct pathway to become a permanent resident or U.S. citizen for an immigrant with TPS.
Hopefully, this blog answers the questions – what does TPS mean for employers? If not, please call me with questions about this or other immigration law issues.