On May 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras would be terminated, effective January 5, 2020. Beginning January 1999 following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch, the TPS designation allowed certain Hondurans with continuous residence in the United States since December 30, 1998, to remain, live, and work in the United States for over 19 years. By January 5, 2020, over 86,000 Honduran nationals holding TPS status must either depart the United States or change their U.S. immigration status.
TPS designation for the countries of El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua is also slated for termination by the Trump Administration in 2019.
Potential Alternate Immigration Strategies for TPS Holders
Employers of TPS holders should seek legal advice as soon as possible to evaluate other potential U.S. visa options for their employees to retain work authorization. Such options may include:
- H-1B for Specialty Occupation Workers;
- For employees of multinational companies, temporary employment transfer to an affiliate abroad, and potential future eligibility for U.S. L-1 Intracompany Transferee visa after at least one year of qualifying employment abroad;
- Employment-based permanent residency process;
- Family-based U.S. permanent residency process; and,
- If placed in removal proceedings, cancellation of removal under certain extraordinary circumstances.
TPS employees also should seek legal advice to help determine if there are any impediments to obtaining a work visa or permanent residence, such as unlawful presence, unauthorized employment or other issues. These impediments may be overcome in some situations but could create a gap in employment authorization and so employers would need to plan accordingly.
TPS Designated Countries
The following chart shows TPS-designed countries, upcoming expiration dates, and the approximate number of TPS holders from each country utilizing recent DHS data: