The Philippines has officially asked the United States to place the country under temporary protected status (TPS), which will allow eligible Filipinos to stay and work there for a period of time to help in the recovery efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the formal request was made on Friday, December 13.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said that placing the Philippines under TPS will allow eligible Filipinos to stay and work in the US in order for them to assist in the country’s continuing recovery efforts after Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) devastated central and eastern Visayas last month, killing more than 6,000 people and affecting more than 16 million.
“The request will be evaluated first by US authorities and may take some time,” Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said.
“If approved, eligible Filipinos can start filing their applications which will be reviewed on a case-to-case basis.”
Four other countries—El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras—were placed under TPS after going through similar natural disasters.
The said request was officially conveyed by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. to the Department of Homeland Security through a Note Verbale sent to the US Department of State.
According to Cuisia, the TPS will “enable eligible Filipino nationals to support relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines by allowing them to legally stay and work in the US for a certain period.”
The US immigration services announced on November 15 that immigration relief measures may be extended to Filipinos currently in the US who may have been affected by the super typhoon.
The US Department of Homeland Security may designate a country under TPS when the circumstances of that country prevent the safe return of its nationals or when the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals.
A country may be put under TPS because of armed conflict (civil war), natural disasters such as earthquake and hurricane and other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
Once an individual is eligible for TPS, he/she is irremovable from the US, will be granted an employment authorization document and can obtain travel authorization.
An eligible individual for TPS cannot be detained on the basis of his/her immigration status.
The department, however, warned those who will benefit from TPS that it “is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status.”
Countries currently under the TPS are Haiti, South Sudan, El Salvador, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Nicaragua and Honduras.
In order to be eligible, the individual must be a national of the designated country, he/she should register during the period alloted, he/she should be present in the United States
“Since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country” and should be a resident of the US since the date specified for the country.
Those who committed felony won’t be eligible for the benefits of TPS.
BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON