ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–Venezuelan asylum seekers who arrived on or before July 31, 2023 are eligible to apply for temporary protective status starting Tuesday. This allows the work authorization process to be sped up.
“They came to work, let’s put them to work,” said Governor Kathy Hochul at a press conference on Monday.
New York City estimates more than 15,000 Venezuelans will be able to obtain legal work status within 30 days.
In preparation for this, New York businesses were asked to notify the state if they were interested in hiring asylum seekers.
“We already have nearly 400 employers who stood up and said yes, yes. We will embrace them, we’ll hire them,” said Hochul. “We’ll give them that shot at the American Dream.”
The governor said this means 18,000 jobs are currently available with 25% in the food service industry.
“We have been built off of a lot of immigrants you know,” said Melissa Fleischut, President of New York State Restaurant Association. “People bringing their food and their culture from all over the world to New York, making us a restaurant capital of the world.”
Fleischut said the industry is still trying to recover from the pandemic.
“Despite the fact that we are now offering probably record high wages, across-the-board for any position in the restaurant industry, we’re still struggling to find staff.”
Through the New York State Department of Labor’s website, eligible asylum seekers can register for career assistance. https://dol.ny.gov/
State leaders say temporary protective status will help with the workforce shortage and will reduce the number of people needing shelters.
The state plans to focus on the migrants and asylum seekers already here.
“We also have to be cognizant of the fact that this is not an open invitation to the entire world,” explained Hochul. “We don’t have enough capacity to house people. We just don’t. Our hearts are big, but sometimes you have to realize our resources are limited.”
Governor Hochul said she will continue to press the federal government to speed up work authorization for other migrants and asylum seekers.