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Employment Authorization granted to Hong Kong residents on Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)

Individuals who are currently present in the United States under President Biden’s Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Hong Kong residents are now eligible to apply for both Employment Authorization and Advance Parole.

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    Employment Authorization for Hong Kong Residents

    Hong Kong residents who are seeking safe haven in the United States under President Biden’s August 5th memo directing Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for residents of Hong Kong can now apply for employment authorization through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    Those who are eligible under the deferred removal plan can also apply for ‘advanced parole’ which will allow Hong Kong residents to travel outside the United States without losing their deferred status. All information regarding how to apply for both employment authorization and advance parole can be found on the USCIS’s official website.

    protest in Hong Kong

    Why was deferred removal granted to Hong Kong residents?

    On August 5th, 2021, President Biden issued a memorandum calling for the deferred removal of Hong Kong residents in recognition of “the significant erosion of [the] rights and freedoms in Hong Kong by the People’s Republic of China”. The memo went on to state that the following:

    “Since the imposition of the NSL in June 2020, Hong Kong police have continued a campaign of politically motivated arrests, taking into custody at least 100 opposition politicians, activists, and protesters on NSL-related charges including secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements. Over 10,000 individuals have been arrested for other charges in connection with anti-government protests. Over the last year, the PRC has continued its assault on Hong Kong’s autonomy, undermining its remaining democratic processes and institutions, imposing limits on academic freedom, and cracking down on freedom of the press. “

    In support of the human rights of Hong Kong residents, President Biden issued the 18-month deferment of any Hong Kong resident currently residing in the United States meaning those whose U.S. visas have expired do not have to leave the U.S. due to possible political persecution upon their return to Hong Kong.

    Hong Kong residents who were present in the United States as of August 5th, 2021 are eligible for DED for the next 18 months provided that:

    • They do not wish to voluntarily return to Hong Kong of the People’s Republic of China
    • They have continuously resided in the United States since August 5th, 2021
    • They are eligible to stay under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
    • They have not been convicted of any felony or serious crime
    • They are not subject to extradition
    • They are do not present a danger to public safety
    • Their presence in the United States would not have a potentially serious consequence to the U.S.’s foreign policy

    It should be noted that Hong Kong residents do not need to apply for DED as there is no application for the deferred removal program.

    How to apply for Employment Authorization and Advance Parole

    Hong Kong residents who are interested in applying for an Employment Authorization Document will need to submit Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) to USCIS. Those who would also like to apply for advance parole must file Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document) if they wish to travel outside the United States and return without losing their deferred status which is valid until February 5th, 2023.

    For more information regarding the fees for employment authorization and/or advance parole along with guidance on what documents to submit with your forms, visit the USCIS’s Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Hong Kong residents webpage.

    Hong Kong protests

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