New rules for Venezuelan asylum seekers seeking work

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Last week the Federal Government gave emergency work access to Venezuelan asylum seekers. It will allow the asylee to work much sooner than the 180-day mandatory wait period. NEWS10 spoke with local community-based groups on the front lines and with a Venezuelan asylee in the Capital Region to find out how the changes are affecting the process, now.

The folks at Eden’s Rose Foundation in Albany say they have been working side by side with the asylum seekers that were brought up to the Capital Region from New York City on busses and in the middle of the night.  NEWS10 was able to catch up with the executive director, Gregory Sheldon, to check in and see how things were coming along.

“That’s the thing we’ve been asking for from the very beginning. Everyone we talk to, all of these individuals we talked to, say we just want to work,” said Sheldon. His foundation is ready to help get the process going once they get direction from officials.

Schenectady County also applauds the federal decision sending the following statement:

Empowering eligible Asylum Seekers to join the workforce not only benefits them and their families but also helps to alleviate the potential strain on our local municipalities.”

Pastor Charles Muller, more commonly known as Pastor Charlie, has been helping the asylum seeker to adjust here in the Capital Region and he says his church is ready to put folks to work.

‘’If someone pulls up at Walmart and says, yeah you know what, at my business, I need some help. I need some workers. But you know legally you can’t do that. At least this way it’ll be legal. This way we can try to help some of those that can get to work,” said Muller.

As for the migrants themselves, Juan Carlos is from Venezuela, he entered the United States at the Texas border. When asked how he felt about the new changes that would allow him to work much sooner he says it was news to him.

“There has been no talk of about helping us about helping us get jobs or preparing us for work the only thing that we’ve heard is it after we fill out the immigration paperwork is that we’ll have to wait 180 days before we can work,” said Carlos.

NEWS10 also reached out to DocGo, the company hired to take care of asylum seekers in New York, to find out how they would be processing Venezuelans so that they can begin working. A company spokesperson told NEWS10 they are working to process those eligible to work but that process is lengthy.

DocGo sent the following statement:

DocGo’s case managers provide onsite support to asylum seekers at each of the hotels in the Capital Region. In light of recent federal announcements regarding work authorizations and at the request of the City, DocGo’s case managers are prioritizing the scheduling of one-on-one sessions with Venezuelan asylum seekers to assist with translation and paperwork administration processes to assist them in submitting their work authorization applications.”

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