Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a program administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows foreign nationals who are in the United States to remain temporarily in the country if it is unsafe for them to return to their home countries, such as the case for Afghan and Ukrainian Immigrants. TPS is granted to individuals who are in the United States when certain conditions in their home countries, such as natural disasters or armed conflicts, make it dangerous for them to return home.
TPS grants individuals the ability to legally work in the United States while they are granted temporary protection. The protection is typically granted for six to eighteen months, and can be extended if the unsafe conditions in the home country persist.
Afghan and Ukrainian individuals who have been granted parole are also allowed to work in the United States. Parole is a status granted to individuals who are not eligible for admission to the United States but who need to enter the country for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
Recently, USCIS announced that certain Afghan and Ukrainian parolees are now employment authorized in the United States via an incident to parole status. This means that they can work in the United States without having to apply for employment authorization separately, provided they meet certain qualifications.
“Effective Nov. 21, 2022, Ukrainian and Afghan parolees, and their qualifying family members, with certain classes of admission are considered employment authorized incident to parole, which means that they do not need to wait for USCIS to approve their Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, before they can work in the United States,” according to USCIS.
What does this mean for Afghan Parolees?
Afghan nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan and are at risk of retribution as a result of their service can apply for parole under the “Humanitarian Parole Program for Afghan Nationals Employed by or on Behalf of the U.S. Government” to come to the United States. Eligible individuals can include those who worked for the U.S. government, U.S. media organizations, or U.S. government-funded projects.
Once in the United States, eligible Afghan parolees can now be authorized to work without having to apply for employment authorization. This applies to individuals who entered the United States on or after August 1, 2021, and who have not yet applied for employment authorization.
In addition to the ability to work in the United States, Afghan parolees may also be eligible for other forms of assistance, such as housing, healthcare, and education. USCIS has partnered with various organizations to provide resources and support to Afghan parolees, including assistance with obtaining a Social Security number, driver’s license, and other necessary documents.
Furthermore, Afghan parolees may be eligible for permanent residency in the United States through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. The SIV program is designed for Afghan and Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in those countries, and who face the threat of retribution as a result of their service. Eligible individuals who apply for a SIV could potentially get approved to become a permanent resident in the United States.
“Section 1059 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, authorizes the issuance of up to 50 Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) annually to Iraqi and Afghan translators and interpreters working for the U.S. military and who meet certain requirements,” according to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.
What does this mean for Ukrainian Parolees?
Similarly, Ukrainian nationals who have been granted parole under the “Uniting for Ukraine” program are also eligible to work in the United States. The Uniting for Ukraine program is a humanitarian program that allows certain eligible Ukrainian nationals to come to the United States temporarily due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
In 2014, President Obama announced the “Ukraine Support Act,” which allowed Ukrainian nationals to apply for parole into the United States due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. This program, known as “Parole under Uniting for Ukraine,” allowed eligible Ukrainian nationals to come to the United States for up to one year and to apply for work authorization while they are here.
“On April 21, 2022, the United States announced a key step toward fulfilling President Biden’s commitment to welcome Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion. Uniting for Ukraine provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to come to the United States and stay temporarily in a 2 year period of parole,” according to the USCIS.
To be eligible for parole under the Uniting for Ukraine program, individuals must demonstrate that they are at risk of harm if they remain in Ukraine. Once granted parole, eligible Ukrainian parolees can be authorized to work in the United States without having to apply for employment authorization.
It is important to note that while TPS and parole provide temporary protection and the ability to work in the United States, they do not provide a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship. However, eligible individuals may be able to apply for other forms of relief or assistance, such as housing and healthcare, through various programs and organizations.
Take Next Steps
Temporary Protected Status and parole are programs that provide a lifeline for individuals who are at risk in their home countries and need a safe haven. By granting them the ability to work in the United States, they are able to support themselves and their families while they are under temporary protection.
To ensure the greatest chance of success with your immigration case, consult with our experienced immigration attorney today. With over 22 years of experience, we will work with you to find the best available option to legally achieve your immigration goals. Call now at +1 (714) 432-1333.