MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Some Filipinos may soon be allowed to stay and work in the United States, in order to help their families affected by super typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan).
The Philippines has formally requested the United States government to designate the country under Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
In a statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario said that placing the Philippines under TPS will allow eligible Filipinos to stay and work in the US to assist in recovery efforts.
The Philippines' request was officially conveyed by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. to the Department of Homeland Security through a Note Verbale sent to the US Department of State.
A temporary protected status designation would provide temporary immigration relief to people from countries devastated by natural disasters.
If granted, TPS would allow eligible Filipinos to legally stay and work in the US so they could support their families back home while the country recovers from "Yolanda"
The Philippines is not the first country to ask to be placed under TPS after being affected by natural calamities. Four other countries previously granted TPS were El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras.
However, the Philippines' request will be evaluated by US authorities and may take some time.
If approved, eligible Filipinos can start filing their applications which will be reviewed on a case-to-case basis.
TPS, as the name suggests, is only a temporary relief for a set period of time for Filipinos residing in the US who may be in danger if they have to go back home. But that also means that once the Philippines has recovered, they would eventually have to go home.