TPS Status For El Salvadorans: How Does This Affect HR?
This week the federal government decided to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of approximately 200,000 El Salvadorans living in the U.S. The result is that, as of September 9, 2019, tens of thousands of employees will be without work authority.
START WITH I-9 CARDS
For employers examining their workforce for impact from this most recent TPS decision, El Salvadorans on TPS can be identified by looking at the Employment Authorization Cards presented for the Form I-9 (Section 2, List A) for an expiration date of “March 9, 2018.” The government federal register announcement extending TPS can be used to let the employee continue to work beyond March 9, 2018, for an additional 18 months until September 9, 2019. If you do not have a copy of the Form I-9 documents presented by employees, this date of March 9, 2018, should be written in Section 1, Box 4 – “an alien authorized to work until March 9, 2018.” Section 3 should be completed to re-verify the continued work authority through September 9, 2019.
TRUMP and TPS
The Trump administration’s decision to terminate TPS status for El Salvadorans was not the first notice given to people on TPS status they will need to leave the country. In November 2017 USCIS similarly announced its decision to terminate TPS for all Haitians and Sudanese living in the U.S., effective July 22, 2019 and November 2, 2018, respectively. In all, approximately 250,000 of the 300,000 people living and working in the U.S. from countries designated for TPS have been notified by the current administration that their ability to lawfully live and work in the U.S. is coming to an end. This will undoubtedly have a direct impact on many employers dependent upon these workers.
GET PREPARED FOR THE CHANGE
Employers and those on TPS status will have some time to prepare for the transition. Relief in the form of an immigration option is not likely to come to them absent an Act of Congress (unlikely). Employers could sponsor these workers for Green Cards, though time is running out if the process has been started. Concerned employers should be analyzing their work forces to determine whether there will be an impact from the prospective loss of any employees on TPS status, and contact Thompson Coe or other legal counsel to explore Green Card options for valued employees.
You are invited to contact Thompson Coe with any questions regarding Green Cards, immigration visas or other options for your TPS or other employees.
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