Parole for Caregivers of Critical Medical or Special Needs Individuals
If you are a resident of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and have an in-home caregiver who is a foreign worker, your in-home caregiver may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for humanitarian parole if he or she is required for extraordinary medical or special needs reasons and meets other conditions for eligibility. With the expiration of umbrella permits on Nov. 27, 2011, caregivers such as these may not have another option under U.S. immigration law, and in-home care services currently may not be available through the commercial sector.
General Eligibility Requirements
USCIS may grant parole on a case-by-case basis based on the individual circumstances presented for urgent humanitarian reasons when:
- There is a compelling medical or special needs situation (this may include but is not limited to an individual who is disabled and unable to care for him or herself or a special needs child for whom no care facilities exist in the CNMI)
- The existing foreign caregiver has worked for the same disabled or special needs individual prior to Nov. 28, 2011
- There is a continuing need for the special care
A foreign worker applying for parole under this situation must be providing care for a person who requires medical assistance in order to live independently or is otherwise in a situation of urgent humanitarian need. This means a significant medical or special needs situation going beyond normal house maintenance or ordinary childcare. This could include, for example, an individual who is disabled and unable to care for him or herself or a special needs child for whom no care facilities exist in the CNMI.
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a blanket option for anyone using the title “caregiver.” If you are employed in the home simply to make life easier or to facilitate employment of the household outside the home by taking care of the children, cleaning the home, buying groceries, cooking meals and other such work, you are not eligible to be considered for parole under this situation.
U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident or Freely Associated State (FAS) National Caregivers
U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents or Freely Associated State (FAS) National Caregivers are authorized for any employment in the CNMI and may work as in-home workers. If you are in another immigration status, your ability to work as an in-home worker will depend upon the specifics of your immigration situation. (For example, you may have work authorization that is limited to specific employment.)
You can apply for parole with USCIS for these purposes if you are:
- A CNMI permanent resident
- An immediate relative (spouse or child) of a CNMI permanent resident (living or deceased), or
- The immediate relative of an FAS national
See the ‘Working with Parole’ section below for more information about how to get work authorization as a parolee.
This use of parole is intended for those involved in significant long-term caregiver situations. This typically means that the person to whom the care is provided should have a status providing a continuing long-term right of residence in the CNMI, in particular:
- U.S. citizens
- U.S. lawful permanent residents
- FAS nationals
All situations will be considered on a case-by case-basis and the fact that the employer is not in one of these statuses does not absolutely preclude favorable consideration. For example, a situation could involve an employer in one immigration status and the person to whom the care is being given in another, such as a U.S. citizen child.
Employers must comply with federal and CNMI requirements relating to employment including, but not limited to, minimum wage requirements and Fair Labor Standards.
Can an employer get a business license in order to apply for an in-home worker as a CW Transitional Worker?
A business for purposes of immigration is more than just having a business license. The CW rule specifies that to qualify to hire workers with CW status, an employer must be engaged in a legitimate business. This means he or she must produce services or goods for profit or be a governmental, charitable or other validly recognized nonprofit organization. The employer must also demonstrate that he or she has considered available U.S. workers for the position. The employer must be doing business as defined by the rule, meaning the regular, systematic and continuous provision of goods or services. A business license does not transform a normal household into a legitimate business under the CW rule.
Please go to the CW-1: Transitional Worker Web page for more information about the qualifications of a business under the CW rule.
There is no filing fee to obtain parole. However, there is a filing fee for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
Prepare the Following Items
The following must be submitted as part of the caregiver’s request:
- A letter from your employer explaining the compelling humanitarian need and details of your current employment, including the number of hours worked per week and other details of the arrangement
- A letter from you, the caregiver, asking for parole. Include:
- A P.O. Box mailing address
- A contact telephone number, and
- The location where you work (give cross streets so that our inspectors can find the home)
- A completed Form G-325, Biographic Information
- A copy of a valid identity document such as a passport or birth certificate
- Evidence of your residence in the CNMI at the time of application
- Evidence of your legal presence in the CNMI at the time of application, such as a valid umbrella permit, and
- Evidence of status of the person being cared for, such as a copy of his or her valid passport or birth certificate
You should include evidence that supports the need for you to fill this position as a caregiver, in order to justify to USCIS the use of special consideration for you. USCIS will make a decision on the parole request based upon the merits of the case that you present. It is important that you include as much relevant information as possible such as:
- Your current work situation (how long you have worked for this person, number of hours per week, etc.)
- Why your services are absolutely necessary for the welfare of the person being cared for
- In the case of special needs children, this could include a letter from specialists and/or a verification from the school authorities about what is and is not available on-island outside of a homecare setting
- In the case of medical disabilities, this could include information from a medical doctor
Where to Apply
The caregiver must apply for parole, not the person being cared for or the person paying the caregiver’s salary. To request parole you, the caregiver, must make an appointment and come into the USCIS office at TSL Plaza in Garapan. Bring all the items listed above to the interview. If you come to your appointment with a complete package and are eligible for parole, the USCIS officer could issue parole immediately.
Depending upon your request, both parole and the EAD will be issued for up to one year. To lawfully remain in the CNMI thereafter, you will need to request an extension of your parole or obtain another Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) nonimmigrant or immigrant classification before your parole expires.
Working with Parole
Parole permits you to remain temporarily in the CNMI subject to any conditions but does not automatically provide for employment authorization. In order to work, you must submit a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Caregivers who are granted parole for humanitarian reasons (specifically because of their role as caregivers) are expected to continue to work in that position. Your parole will be revoked if you are no longer working as a caregiver as explained in your initial request.
Working for More Than One Employer
If your parole request demonstrates that you provide care justifying a grant of parole for more than one household, your parole may similarly authorize you to provide care to more than one household, once you are issued an EAD.
Dependents of Caregivers
If you are a worker eligible for parole under this guidance, you may also request parole for your spouse and dependent children (under the age of 21) who are lawfully present in the CNMI. You must submit the following information regarding any family member requesting parole along with you:
- A letter or affidavit signed by the family member requesting parole, or signed by you if the family member is a child under 18
- Evidence of the family relationship between you and the family member requesting parole
- A copy of a valid identity document, such as a passport biographic page (with photo, date of birth and expiration date), and
- A copy of any Form I-94 (front and back), umbrella permit and/or other document showing current lawful presence in the CNMI
This parole will allow the family member to remain with the worker lawfully in the CNMI after Nov. 27, 2011, but does not authorize employment. Work authorization will not be granted to paroled family members. If you and your spouse are both eligible for parole and work authorization as workers under this guidance, you should file separate requests for parole and for an EAD.
Parole for caregivers of individuals with compelling medical or special needs will be granted for the CNMI only and does not authorize travel to any other part of the United States. If you need to travel, you will have to contact USCIS to apply for permission.
On October 27, 2011, USCIS announced that humanitarian parole will be made available on a case-by-case basis to certain in-home foreign worker caregivers of CNMI residents, if he or she is required for extraordinary medical or special needs reasons. With the expiration of umbrella permits on Nov. 27, 2011, caregivers such as these may not have another option under U.S. immigration law and in-home care services currently may not be available through the commercial sector. USCIS may grant parole on a case-by-case basis and has exercised parole authority on a case-by-case basis in the CNMI since 2009 for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
With the publication of the transitional worker final rule, many foreign workers in the CNMI will be able to obtain authorization to live and work in the CNMI through a petitioning employer; however, USCIS will continue to consider parole in specific situations, including that of CNMI permanent residents and their immediate relatives and the immediate relatives of nationals of the Freely Associated States (FAS).