CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s been over a month since Venezuelan asylum seekers were granted a Temporary Protected Status (TPS). It allows them to apply to start working earlier than the required 180-day wait period. NEWS10 spoke with community-based organizations and asylum seekers and found out it will take much longer to work than expected. 

“They are telling us that that process could take three, six, or even 8 months before receiving those permissions,” said Jennifer, an asylum seeker from Venezuela. 

Jennifer further elaborated on why this process is so delayed. “The lawyers told us that that’s how long it takes to do this process in the United States.” 

Since the migrants in the Capital Region came from New York City, officials there are responsible for their care. When NEWS10 contacted the Mayor’s Office and the City Housing Department, they referred us to the federal government. We have reached out to immigration and labor agencies at the federal and state levels for a clearer understanding of what might be causing the additional wait time. Unfortunately, none have commented at this time.  

The mayor’s office did confirm in a statement to NEWS10 the following: 

“We estimate that there are about 15,000 asylum seekers in our care that qualify for TPS (Venezuelans who have arrived here before the end of July 2023) through the Biden administration’s new policy. There are about 65,700 asylum seekers currently in our care, but more than 130,000 have come through our care since the Spring of 2022. Migrants who apply for asylum are also eligible for work authorization 150 days after they submit their application. In addition, asylum seekers that have parole are eligible for work authorization.”  

Kayla Mamelak | Deputy Press Secretary, Office of New York City Mayor Eric Adams

Eden’s Rose Foundation’s Executive Director, Greg Sheldon, has been working on the front lines from day one helping the asylees integrate into American society.  “I think once we see a few people actually accomplish getting the work permissions from the new opportunity that was passed, then everybody will be really excited and follow suit. But so far, we don’t know any individuals of the about 20 or 30 that we work with that have been able to receive that documentation,” he said.  

NEWS10 has contacted other community-based organizations working with the migrants, and they too are being told about the months long wait period.