There are unofficial reports that indicate that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is preparing to make an announcement regarding the end of temporary protected status (TPS) for approximately 9,000 Nepali citizens. DHS originally granted TPS to Nepali citizens three years ago following a severe earthquake that devastated the country and killed thousands of people.
The secretary of homeland security may designate a country for TPS if conditions in the country temporarily prevent its nationals from safely returning (due to civil war, natural disaster, epidemic, etc.) or the country cannot adequately handle the return of its nationals. TPS provides temporary humanitarian relief but does not lead to lawful permanent resident status. Nationals of a country designated for TPS may obtain temporary work authorization and travel authorization for specific periods as authorized by DHS.
In recent months, the Trump administration has announced plans phasing out TPS programs for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. As with those programs, it is reported that Nepali citizens who have TPS status may receive a one-year grace period to prepare for their departure and would face deportation after June 24, 2019. The current 18-month grant of TPS for Nepali TPS holders will expire on June 24, 2018, unless it is extended by DHS. If DHS indeed makes a formal announcement to extend the program, TPS holders will be required to submit requests for extension and work authorization since TPS status and work authorization are not granted absent an application.