President Joe Biden has authorized thousands of Hong Kong residents currently residing in the United States to remain in the country pursuant to Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for up to 18 months. In addition, he authorized employment for covered Hong Kong residents and the relaxation of employment rules for F-1 students from Hong Kong.

DED is not a specific immigration status, but a humanitarian measure that exempts certain individuals from removal for a designated time period. DED is fully within the president’s discretion to authorize. Currently, there are two other countries with DED designation: Liberia and Venezuela. Venezuela also carries the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation.

Eligibility requirements for Hong Kong DED include the following:

  • The applicant must have continuously resided in the United States since August 5, 2021; and
  • The applicant cannot have voluntarily returned to Hong Kong or the People’s Republic of China (PRC) after August 5, 2021.

President Biden authorized DED in recognition of “the significant erosion of . . . rights and freedoms in Hong Kong by the People’s Republic of China” and stated that “[t]he United States will not waver in our support of people in Hong Kong.”

DED is a temporary measure, but a State Department representative has noted that Hong Kongers could still be referred for consideration as refugees. Since the PRC’s crackdown in Hong Kong, other countries have already offered certain immigration benefits. Britain created a new visa that could lead to citizenship. Canada and Australia have also started to facilitate immigration and permanent residency.

More information on how to apply for Hong Kong DED should be forthcoming in the Federal Register. Applicants should review that notice before attempting to apply for DED.

For more information about Hong Kong DED or other DED or TPS statuses, Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist.

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.