The US will allow nearly 500, 000 Venezuelan migrants already in America to live and work legally in the country for 18 months.

The move was announced late Wednesday followed intense lobbying by New York Democrats before and during President Joe Biden’s visit to New York City this week.

It formed part of a raft of actions to deal with the crush of migrants trying to cross the border into the US.

The decision will affect thousands of Venezuelans, who arrived in the country before July 31, 2023, temporarily protecting them from removal.

It also waives a month long waiting period for them to seek employment authorization.

New York Democrats had argued that the city’s social safety net would tear under the weight of more than 110,000 recently arrived migrants unless they were allowed to work and support themselves more quickly.