Only 2,100 New York migrants applied for work authorization — none have been approved yet to fill reported 18,000 job openings

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New York City officials reported Wednesday that only 2,100 of the more than 40,000 adult migrants in its shelter system have applied for work authorization.

In September, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security extended temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers. Since the announcement, no migrant has received federal approval to work.

Approximately 472,000 Venezuelans who arrived in the country before July 31, 2023, are eligible for Temporary Protected Status for 18 months and legally able to work. The DHS extended the TPS status to the migrants “due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent individuals from safely returning.”

The TPS program previously granted work authorization to 242,700 Venezuelan migrants who arrived in the U.S. before March 2021. Those who arrived after July are not eligible for the program.

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Following the DHS’ announcement, Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul stated that her office identified 18,000 private-sector job openings in the state that migrants with legal work status would be eligible to fill.

Hochul and Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams proclaimed earlier this month that the state would earmark $38 million to provide legal services to migrants on top of a previously committed $50 million.

“After months of coordinated advocacy from New Yorkers, the federal government has made thousands of migrants from Venezuela newly eligible for Temporary Protected Status. Our job now is to ensure these individuals fill out all the appropriate paperwork so they can attain work authorization, find a job, and exit taxpayer-funded shelter,” the governor stated.

The Labor Department reported that it created a registration process for migrants eligible for the TPS program to fill out. The agency stated that its portal will match individuals with available work opportunities.

On Wednesday, New York City officials admitted that a little over 2,000 migrants had applied for work permits and that not one individual had been approved so far.

Asylum Application Help Center executive director Masha Gindler stated that only 300 applications were for Venezuelan migrants, the New York Post reported.

During the City Council Committee on Immigration hearing this week, it was also revealed that the city has not prioritized Venezuelans at its migrant center.

Gindler explained, “We [had] booked through all of October when the TPS was announced, so we could not have additional clients come in because we fully book our appointments as much as possible.”

According to Gindler, the Labor Department’s assessment “will give us a lot of the information to see who is eligible and who we are able to call back and schedule appointments at the center.”

“Our goal is to identify, screen, and schedule appointments for all Venezuelans by the end of the year,” she added.

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