Posted on September 21, 2023

Biden Administration to Offer Work Permits to Roughly 470,000 Venezuelan Migrants

Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2023

In a significant concession to New York City Mayor Eric Adams and other blue-state officials, the Biden administration has agreed to make roughly 470,000 Venezuelan migrants eligible for work permits aimed at easing the financial strain on major migrant destinations.

Venezuelans who arrived in the U.S. by July 31 will be eligible for the program, known as Temporary Protected Status. It offers them deportation protections and the ability to work legally for at least 18 months.


TPS for Venezuela had become a top political ask for blue-state officials, who saw it as a shortcut around the law prohibiting asylum seekers from receiving a work permit for at least six months after submitting an asylum application.


The government also announced it would begin expediting work-permit processing for migrants who have recently entered the U.S. legally, either via an appointment at the southern border or through a sponsorship program designed for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans. It aims to process requests for work permits from these groups in an average of 30 days.

Because expediting work permits for some populations would prolong the wait for others, the government also said it intends to begin issuing work permits to some immigrants for five years rather than the standard two years. The move could prove controversial because a work permit wouldn’t be up for renewal for a longer time, giving the government fewer opportunities to take it away if someone is later found ineligible to stay legally in the U.S.

The Biden administration previously granted Venezuelans TPS in 2021, and approximately 242,000 signed up out of an estimated 343,000 who were eligible at the time.