U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced an 18-month extension of TPS (Temporary Protected Status) for eligible nationals of El Salvador from September 9, 2010 to March, 2012. To maintain TPS status, Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries must re-register during the re-registration period from July 9 until September 7, 2010. Qualified Salvadorans receive an automatic employment authorization from September 9, 2010 through March 9, 2011.  More information on this TPS extension can be found on the USCIS website.

TPS beneficiaries are authorized to remain in the United States and obtain employment authorization for a designated period of time. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily 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. TPS status has been available to Salvadorans since 2001 when a series of earthquakes caused major damage to the region.

Employers need to be mindful of the automatic six-month extension of employment authorization when hiring these TPS beneficiaries or reverifying the employment authorization of affected TPS employees on Form I-9. Automatically extended Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) will bear the annotation “A-19” or “C-12” under “Category” and an expiration date of September 9, 2010 for Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries. These individuals ARE employment authorized through March 9, 2011 according to the Federal Register announcement. Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries are encouraged to present a copy of the applicable Federal Register notice to employers to establish employment authorization during the six-month extension period.

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