Visa extensions granted for Ukrainian nationals in the U.S.

(ABC 6 News) – As the tensions escalate following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, U.S. lawmakers are pushing to protect Ukrainian nationals in the U.S. who are here on work visas.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D -MN), along with a bipartisan group of 41 lawmakers, is urging the Biden administration to extend temporary protected status for Ukrainian nationals.

Klobuchar was with the president Wednesday and said it’s the right thing to do to make sure they are not forced to return home during the attack on their country.

Thursday night, homeland security granted the extension.

"I see it as helpful to Minnesota, we don’t have enough workers, particularly in our rural areas, that’s why farmers employ people like Mariana and they do a great job, and we want to make sure she is safe," Klobuchar said.

Mariana Pykivska has been traveling back and forth between the U.S. and Ukraine for the past 13 years working as a farmer in central Minnesota after studying agronomy and landscaping.

She has been using her skills to help Minnesota farmers while supporting her family as they are taking refuge during this crisis.

"I do feel a little bit calmer for me and my family because I will be the only one who will continue supporting them and having that safe future is very important to feel," Pykivska said.

Mariana said she stays in touch with her family every day and so far they are safe.

The extension gives Ukrainian nationals an additional 18 months in the U.S.