Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Update on Nicaragua and Honduras

Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) is a program run by the federal government providing for temporary legal status to immigrants from certain designated countries.  TPS designation is generally provided when the conditions in a certain country (or area within a country) are unsafe for its residents, including when there is ongoing armed conflict within the country, an environmental disaster (such as a hurricane or earthquake), epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.  Immigrants in TPS status are able to legally live and work in the U.S. due to unsafe conditions in their home countries and are not deportable.  This article provides an update on TPS status for Nicaragua and Honduras.

On December 15, 2017, the government published the federal register notices extending TPS status for Nicaragua and Honduras

Here are important dates that all workers in TPS status from Nicaragua and Honduras must know:

Nicaragua

* TPS designation for Nicaragua is terminated effective January 9, 2019.  This does not mean workers in TPS status who are from Nicaragua are not in a protected status or are not legally able to work. 
* Current Nicaraguan TPS expires on January 5, 2018.  To remain in TPS status, folks must re-register for TPS and apply for a new employment authorization document (“EAD” or “work permit”) by February 13, 2018. 
* EADs (or work permits) for Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries are automatically extended through March 6, 2018.
* The EADs for Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply to renew their EADs will be automatically extended to July 4, 2018.

Honduras

* TPS designation for Honduras is set to expire on January 5, 2018.  The government has not decided whether to extend, redesignate, or terminate Honduran TPS, therefore, it has been extended automatically for 6 months.
* Honduran TPS status has been automatically extended to July 5, 2018.
* To remain in TPS status, Honduran TPS beneficiaries must re-register by February 13, 2018.
* EADs (or work permits) for Honduran TPS beneficiaries will be automatically extended to July 4, 2018.  
* Honduran TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs will receive EADs with a July 5, 2018 expiration date.
     
Reverification of work authorization for Nicaraguan or Honduran TPS beneficiaries

Should an employer seek to reverify the work authorization of a beneficiary in TPS status after the expiration date on the beneficiary’s EAD (or work permit), that worker should show the employer a copy of the applicable Federal Register Notice. 

The Federal Register Notice—linked above—provides specific instructions for employers on what steps to take in order to comply with I-9 requirements based on the automatic extension of the EAD. 

Finally, it is important for individuals in TPS status to investigate whether they may be eligible for any other type of immigration relief. 

For more information, please contact your immigration or labor law counsel. 

By Monica Guizar and Tiffany Crain Altamirano | December 21, 2017

Legal Developments