The Department of Labor announced that OSHA mow has legal authority to issue certifications in support of applications for U Nonimmigrant Status and T Nonimmigrant Status visas.
“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, DOL explains.
These visas provide immigration status to non-citizen victims and allow them to remain in the United States to assist authorities in combatting human trafficking and other crimes.
For the first time, OSHA will be able to issue these visa certifications – during its workplace safety investigations – when the agency identifies qualifying criminal activities, including such crimes as manslaughter, trafficking, extortion, felonious assault, forced labor and obstruction of justice.
“Expanding OSHA’s U and T visa certification authority helps the agency better fulfill its mission to make U.S. workplaces as safe and healthy as possible,” states OSHA Chief Doug Parker.
“Workers in the U.S. need to feel empowered and able to trust OSHA and the DOL enough to voice their concerns about workplace safety regardless of their immigration status and fears of retaliation.”
Parker adds, “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.”
OSHA’s new authority goes into effect on March 30. DOL also says the change will strengthen OSHA’s ability to protect all workers, including those whose immigration status or other social and cultural inequities that discourage them from sharing information with investigators or reporting workplace safety and health issues, regardless of their lack of immigration status or temporary employment authorization.