** LEGAL UPDATE **
In the latest in a string of terminations of country designations for the humanitarian relief known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen has announced that Nepal will no longer be on the list, as of one year from her announcement.
That means that Nepalese TPS holders must plan to depart the United States by June 24, 2019, and can renew their work permits one more time before then. Estimates put the number of affected Nepalese who currently hold TPS at 8,950.
The original designation of Nepal for TPS took place in 2015, following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake (plus multiple aftershocks) just outside Kathmandu, which is a major population center. The quake displaced millions, destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, and damaged over 900 health care facilities to the point of being nonfunctional.
As is always the case with TPS, the designation allowed nationals of Nepal who were already in the U.S. to stay here for a time after submitting an application, on grounds that their country was unsafe to return to and could not handle returnees. The designation was renewed in 2016, with a cutoff date of June 24, 2018. The U.S. government's rationale for renewal at that time was that "Life in the 14 districts most affected by the earthquake continues to be disrupted, as most damaged or destroyed homes, schools, health facilities, and other buildings have not yet been repaired or rebuilt."
Nielsen stated that conditions in Nepal have "notably improved" since then.
Critics note that much evidence exists to the contrary. This includes an analysis from the U.S. State Department, which in its 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices discussed ongoing issues for the millions who were internally displaced. To make matters worse, Nepal was hit by severe flooding and landslides during the summer of 2017.
More information, as well as instructions on how to re-register and apply for a renewed work permit can be found in the the U.S. government's Federal Registernotice and on the USCIS Temporary Protected Status Designated Country: Nepal page.
Effective Date: April 26, 2018