Feds extend work authorization for Haitians in US, affecting hospital employees: 6 things to know

Haitians working under protected status at U.S. hospitals will be able to keep their jobs after the federal government reopened the work authorization process.

Here are six things to know.

1. The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security designates foreign countries for Temporary Protected Status "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." Haiti was designated for TPS following the earthquake that occurred Jan. 12, 2010. This means eligible Haitians in the United States could apply for TPS, allowing them to stay in America and work legally here for a certain time period.

2. The federal government reexamined Haiti's TPS designation, as it was set to expire Jan. 22. Ultimately, the Department of Homeland Security decided "conditions in Haiti no longer support its designation for TPS" and that the designation would be terminated, according to federal officials. The effective date of that termination was delayed until July 22, 2019.

3. As of Jan. 17, the Department of Homeland Security had not published a required notice of the delayed termination in the Federal Register. This means Haitians working under protected status at U.S. hospitals faced losing their jobs because they couldn't renew their work authorizations until that occurred, according to The News-Press.

4. However, the required notice was published Jan. 18. Affected Haitian hospital employees in the U.S. now have until March 19 to re-register for TPS and complete employment authorization documents.

5. One organization especially affected by the news is Fort Myers, Fla.-based Lee Health, which has a number of Haitian employees. Mary Briggs, spokesperson for Lee Health, declined to give an exact number of affected employees because she says the organization uses the Department of Homeland Security's e-verify system to ensure new hires are eligible to work in the U.S. That system does not specify whether the employee is in America on TPS.

6. Ms. Briggs praised the news, telling Becker's, "We are very pleased that the federal government is extending work authorization for our team members and other Haitians in our community."


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