Raise Your Hand If You’re Confused about I-9 Reverifications for Employees with TPS

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a humanitarian benefit available to foreign nationals who are unable to return to their home countries because of certain temporary conditions including ongoing armed conflict such as civil war, an environmental disaster like an earthquake, hurricane, epidemic, or other extraordinary conditions. During TPS designation, qualifying foreign nationals are not removable from the US and can obtain work authorization and travel permission.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently terminated TPS for nationals of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan but has granted a period of orderly departure to allow time for this population to wind up their affairs in the US. This has left employers in a quandary about which TPS holders remain able to work and how to comply with Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verifications.

To help ease the confusion, the chart below illustrates TPS-designated countries, the dates by which beneficiaries were required to re-register and, for those who do re-register, how long their current Employment Authorization Cards (EAD) are automatically extended pending decisions of EAD renewal applications. The TPS termination dates for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan are also included.

Country

Re-Registration Period Ends

EAD Auto-Extended Until

TPS End Date

El Salvador

03/19/2018

09/05/2018

09/09/2019

Haiti

03/19/2018

07/21/2018

07/22/2019

Honduras

02/13/2018

07/04/2018

Nepal

12/27/2016

06/24/2017

Nicaragua

02/13/2018

07/04/2018

01/05/2019

Somalia

03/20/2017

South Sudan

11/20/2017

05/01/2018

Sudan

12/11/2017

05/01/2018

11/12/2018

Syria

09/30/2016

03/31/2017

Yemen

03/06/2017

09/03/2017

As reflected in the chart above, sometimes DHS issues a blanket automatic extension of the expiring EADs for TPS beneficiaries of a specific country in order to allow time for EADs with new validity dates to be issued. The automatic extension periods are available to those TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply to renew their EADs.

Although an employer cannot specify which documents an employee can present in connection with the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification process, TPS beneficiaries with automatic EAD extensions may present an expired EAD bearing the C19 eligibility code along with a Form I-797C Notice of Action indicating the eligibility category code A12 or C19. The codes need not be the same.

The M-274 Handbook for Employers is an excellent resource in determining how to complete the Form I-9 for those employees with automatic EAD extensions. It specifies that:

“For a current employee, update Section 2 of Form I-9 with the new expiration date as follows:

  • Draw a line through the old expiration date and write the new expiration date in the margin of Section 2;

  • Write EAD EXT in Section 2;

  • Initial and date the correction.”

For TPS beneficiaries, the new expiration date should correspond with the respective date as noted in the chart above. An employee whose employment authorization is automatically extended along with his/her EAD may cross out the “employment authorized until” date in Section 1, write the new expiration date as reflected in the chart, initial and date the change.

A new employee may present the expired EAD and Form I-797C Notice of Action indicating USCIS’s receipt of the employee’s timely filed renewal application. When completing Section 1, the employee should enter the corresponding date from the chart in the “employment authorized until mm/dd/yyyy” field.

When completing Section 2, the employer should enter into the Expiration Date field the date the automatic extension period expires, not the expiration date on the face of the expired EAD. The employer should enter the receipt number from the I-797C Notice of Action as the document number on Form I-9. Note that reverification is required when the employee’s automatic extension ends.

While an employer is not required to be an expert in I-9 documents and review, having access to reliable resources comes in handy and will take you to the head of the class.

 

Copyright © 2018 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, All Rights Reserved.
This post was written by Jennifer Cory of Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP.

Federal Register Announces TPS Extended for Somalia – I-9 Update Temporary Protected Status

As published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2015, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation was extended for Somalian nationals currently living in the United States.  Somalia’s TPS extension and re-designation is for an additional 18 months, from September 15, 2015 through March 17, 2017.  This action was taken after the Secretary of Homeland Security determined the ongoing armed conflict in Somalia posed a substantial threat to living conditions in the country.  Employers should alert all company representatives responsible for the completion of I-9 forms about this development.

TPS Extension and Re-Designation

A country can be designated for TPS due to temporary conditions in the country that prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.  Individuals granted TPS benefits are not removable from the United States, can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) to work in the United States, and may be granted travel authorization to travel outside the United States.  The granting of TPS does not, however, result in or lead to permanent resident status.

Somalia was initially designated under the TPS provisions in 1991, with re-designation in 2001 and 2012.  The announced extension of TPS designation for Somalia for an additional 18 months, from September 15, 2015 through March 17, 2017, allows current TPS beneficiaries from Somalia to retain TPS through March 17, 2017, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS.

For individuals who have already been granted TPS under one of the previous designations, the 60-day re-registration period runs from June 1, 2015 through July 31, 2015.  USCIS will issue new EADs with a March 17, 2017 expiration date to eligible Somalia TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension.  DHS is NOT granting interim work permission through an automatic extension of work authorization, so applicants should file their EAD renewal applications as soon as possible before their current EADs expire in September 2015.

Certain individuals of Somalia who have never applied for TPS may be able to apply under the late initial registration provisions, as long as they (a) can satisfy one of the late initial filing criteria; and (b) meet all TPS eligibility criteria.

©2015 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved.