Department of Homeland Security Takes Steps that May Help Ukrainian Employees in US

By Marylou Fabbo - Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C.

March 8, 2022

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that due to the ongoing conditions in Ukraine, it will designate Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. TPS is a temporary immigration status granted by the Secretary of the DHS to a foreign country due to conditions that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely.

To be eligible for TPS, an individual must have continuously resided in the United States as of March 1, 2022, and be cleared through security and background checks. Those who entered the country after March 1 are not eligible for TPS. In addition, not everyone is eligible simply because they are from Ukraine and meet the deadline. The DHS is expected to publish a Federal Register notice providing instructions for applying for TPS and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).    

In addition, USCIS may provide assistance to those who are affected by the invasion of Ukraine depending on the facts of the individual’s particular situation. Some of the possibilities include the following:

•  Changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States

•  Excusing delays in applying for extensions or change before expiration of an authorized period of admission when the delay is due to extraordinary circumstances beyond control

•  Expediting adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship

•  Expediting adjudication of petitions or applications, including employment authorization applications

Affording flexibility to those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to submit evidence or otherwise respond in a timely manner

•  Expediting replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), Employment Authorization Document, or Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record

More information about how USCIS can assist those affected by extreme situations and unforeseen circumstances can be found on USCIS’s Special Situations page. TPS, issuance of EADS, and the expedited immigration processes may provide US companies that employ Ukrainians peace of mind and open up a new labor pool in the current employee shortage crisis.

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