U Visa – New protocols for certifying U visa applications

The Labor Department just announced protocols for certifying U visa applications, and that the U visa certification process will be handled by the Wage and Hour Division’s regional administrators.

What is a U Visa

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 created two new nonimmigrant visas for noncitizen victims of crimes, the T visa and the U visa. Both visas are designed to provide immigration status to noncitizens who are assisting or are willing to assist authorities investigating crimes.

The U visa is designed for noncitizen crime victims who (1) have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse from criminal activity; (2) have information regarding the criminal activity; (3) assist government officials in the investigation or prosecution of such criminal activity; and (4) the criminal activity violated US law or occurred in the United States (including Indian country and military installations) or the territories and possessions of the United States.

The U visa certification process has been delegated to the Wage and Hour Division’s regional administrators located in five cities around the country. The division will refer the underlying qualifying criminal activity to appropriate law enforcement agencies in accordance with its normal referral procedure. After the division completes a certification, the victim of the qualifying criminal activity must still submit his or her application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a determination of whether to approve the application.

The Wage and Hour Division will consider completing U visa certifications based on five qualifying criminal activities – involuntary servitude, peonage, trafficking, obstruction of justice and witness tampering – when it detects them in the process of investigating a violation of an employment law under its jurisdiction, for example, as related to minimum wage and overtime rights.

The Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcing federal labor laws pertaining to the minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, child labor and special employment, family and medical leave, migrant workers, lie detector tests, worker protections in certain temporary worker programs, and the prevailing wages for government service and construction contracts.

Click here for Department of Labor U Visa Process and Protocols Question and Answer