Undocumented immigrants are subject to abuse and poor working conditions because they are afraid to report poor working conditions. Immigrant workers can be given visas if they are victims of labor trafficking, safety violations, and other workplace abuses. In order to protect immigrant workers, as of March 30, 2023, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will have the authority to issue visas to undocumented workers who are subject to workplace abuses and have had their safety laws violated, regardless of their immigration status.
According to the joint announcement by U.S. Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh joined Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker:
“By enabling OSHA to issue U and T visa certifications, we will be empowering some of our economy’s most vulnerable workers to tell us if their jobs are jeopardizing their safety and health, and that of their co-workers, and to support our enforcement efforts. “U Visas” and “T Visas” allow victims of specific crimes to help law enforcement detect, investigate and prosecute crimes without fear of retaliation based on their immigration status. These visas provide immigration status to non-citizen victims and allow them to remain in the U.S. to assist authorities in combatting human trafficking and other crimes.
The U visa is for victims of certain qualifying criminal activities, including human trafficking. The U Visa protects victims of serious offenses from further mistreatment. It is reserved for victims of certain crimes who have suffered physical or mental abuse and assists law enforcement agencies. This visa also assists government officials in investigating and prosecuting crimes. U visas allow immigrants who are victims of crimes to live and work in the U.S. for 4 years or more. These crimes can include domestic violence or sex crimes. After 3 years of living in the US, a U visa holder and their immediate family can apply for green cards.
T visas are meant for individuals who either have been or are actively being victimized by sex trafficking or human trafficking. Applicants must be able to demonstrate not only that they experienced severe trafficking but also that their deportation would cause “extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm.” To become eligible for this visa, the immigrant must currently be located within the United States, in certain American territories or at a U.S. port of entry.
Additionally, trafficking victims seeking T visas must comply with any law enforcement agency that requests their assistance in investigating or prosecuting the people who trafficked them. Only trafficking victims who are under 18 at the time of filing or people who have sustained physical or psychological trauma that prevents them from assisting law enforcement can avoid this requirement.
We are here to protect immigrant workers. If you or a family member were a victim of workplace abuse and want to live in the United States, you may be entitled to a U visa. There are a limited number of U and T visas available each year. Contact an experienced U visa lawyer to ensure your application is complete and has no mistakes. Errors can result in your application being denied or rejected. Please call 630-912-0322 or contact online the skilled immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office today to schedule your initial appointment.