Work Authorization Change for Certain Asylum Seekers

Employers with employees who were granted asylum into the United States because their countries were designated as having Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) should be aware that the Trump administration is reviewing TPS designations for countries around the world.

TPS is a designation given by the Secretary of Homeland Security for foreign countries with conditions that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely (e.g., ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, and epidemics). We often think of these countries’ nationals as asylum seekers.

If you have any employees from Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone with work authorization under TPS, be advised that each of these countries is losing its TPS status as of May 21, 2017. Employees from these countries with no other lawful immigration status on May 21, 2017 will no longer be protected from removal or eligible for employment authorization based on TPS. USCIS has made clear that TPS-related Employment Authorization Documents for these three countries will not be renewed or extended after May 20, 2017.

The Department of Homeland Security is urging individuals who do not have another immigration status to use the time between now and May 21, 2017 to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States- or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.

Employers too should prepare themselves for May 21, 2017, if any of their employees are in the United States as asylees from Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone. As of May 21, 2017, those employees, unless they have an alternate lawful immigration status, will be ineligible to continue lawful employment in the United States.

 
 
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