Washington, DC – The United States has announced that Ukrainians in the country on a temporary basis can remain for another 18 months, extending what’s known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine.
The decision by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday shields those who qualify for TPS from deportation and opens the door for Ukrainians to apply for work permits.
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TPS was first issued for Ukrainians in March 2022, days after Russia launched an all-out invasion of their country.
The extension on Friday was coupled with a TPS redesignation of Ukraine, allowing new people who were in the US as of August 16 to apply for protected status.
“Russia’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis requires that the United States continue to offer safety and protection to Ukrainians who may not be able to return to their country,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
“We will continue to offer our support to Ukrainian nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.”
Russia’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis requires that the United States continue to offer safety and protection to Ukrainians who may not be able to return to their country. https://t.co/OC8gcv9CxX pic.twitter.com/iyMAZ7519U
— Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (@SecMayorkas) August 18, 2023
Friday’s directive also eases requirements for Ukrainians on student visas in the US, allowing them to work more and take fewer classes. Those seeking to extend their status must reregister with the DHS between August 21 and October 20, the department said.
The department said the extension affects about 26,000 people and the redesignation makes an estimated 166,700 more people eligible for TPS.
The Russian invasion displaced millions of people, and while some Ukrainians have returned after the fighting became largely confined to eastern parts of their country, many remain in neighbouring European countries and across the world.
On Friday, DHS described the war in Ukraine as “the largest conventional military action in Europe since World War II”.
“Russia’s expanded military invasion has led to high numbers of civilian casualties and reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russian military forces and officials,” the department said.
“This invasion has caused a humanitarian crisis, with significant numbers of individuals fleeing and damage to civilian infrastructure that has left many without electricity or access to medical services.”
TPS allows the US to offer protection to people who cannot return to their home countries due to armed conflict, natural disasters and other “extraordinary” conditions. The status does not offer a path to permanent residency or citizenship in the country.