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Hondurans, Nicaraguans get a work-permit stay

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WASHINGTON — Expiring work permits for Hondurans and Nicaraguans who are reapplying for temporary refuge in the United States will be good for five more months, immigration officials said Monday.

Work permits that were due to expire Thursday now will be valid until Dec. 5, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said.

The INS in May extended temporary refuge for Nicaraguan and Honduran immigrants who initially gained protective status in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch.

They have until Aug. 6 to renew their protective status, but many were going to become ineligible to work while they waited for applications to be processed.

To prevent gaps in employment, INS decided to delay the work permit expiration date. The extension is automatic but temporary.