Logo for: TheDream.us

Dreamers with Work Authorization

Immigrants have the qualities we seek in employees — they are entrepreneurial, resilient, and determined to succeed.
As we work to build our businesses in the wake of the pandemic, Dreamers are essential to our success.

Today there are 600,000 immigrants with active DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and 80,000 with TPS (Temporary Protected Status) who have work authorization and can legally work.

Their education and work experiences are as diverse as their backgrounds, they bring vital cultural perspectives to our businesses and are often bilingual.

Hiring Dreamers: What You Need to Know

  • DACA and TPS holders have a renewable work authorization and social security number that allows them to legally work in the United States.
  • You can legally hire a DACA or TPS holder with work authorization. Unless you are a government entity or contractor that requires U.S. citizenship, you cannot refuse to hire an applicant with work authorization based solely on their DACA or TPS status.
  • You can hire a Dreamer with work authorization just like you hire any other U.S. citizen. You do not have to sponsor the applicant and there is no additional administrative or overhead cost. Federal-funded or job position restrictions may apply.
  • DACA and TPS holders do not need to disclose their status; they just need to present their work authorization upon hiring (for completion of the I-9 form).
  • Supporting Your DACA Employees: A Guide for Employers

Steps You Can Take to Hire DACA & TPS Holders With Work Authorization

  • Proactively build a diverse pipeline through inclusive internships and apprenticeships
  • Proactively recruit and hire Dreamers through your website, social media, and job fairs
  • Ensure HR and hiring managers know the rights of DACA/TPS applicants with work authorization
  • Audit applicant forms for unintended (and unlawful) disqualifications
  • Create inclusive, friendly work environments
  • Advocate for Congress to pass legislation giving Dreamers the ability to stay and work in the U.S. and advocate for Dreamers’ ability to obtain professional licenses
  • Reach out to organizations like Immigrants Rising and Define American to build inclusive paid and accessible opportunities for all

Professional Licenses for Dreamers

Federal law prohibits issuance of professional licenses to immigrants who don’t have a documented status unless a state passes a law making them eligible. Several states have passed laws providing professional licenses for immigrants with and without work authorization, e.g., California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and New Mexico.

For information on licensure for Dreamers in your state, go to: www.higheredimmigrationportal.org.

Photo of Elisa Villanueva Beard

Every day, we see our DACAmented educators demonstrate profound courage, resilience, and leadership, and their contributions have never been more important to our country.

Elisa Villanueva Beard Teach For America CEO
Photo of Andrea Rodriguez Ramirez

As a result of being an immigrant and someone with DACA, I have been able to bring a motivated, hard working, and persistent mindset and attitude to the table.

Andrea Rodriguez Ramirez Assistant Manager at Panera Bread and Entrepreneur