03.30.10

U Visa Certification

Posted in Policy, visa, worksite investigation at 6:31 pm by Lalita Haran

In a welcome development for U Visa, the Department of Labor announced that it would start certifying the U visa applications. The Secretary of Labor issued a statement on March 16, 2010 that if a workplace investigation reveals foreign nationals are victims of crime or abuse, investigators would be able to identify them as potential U visa applicants. Such identification of foreign national would be based upon their willingness to assist in the investigation or prosecution of crime.

The U non immigrant visa is available to victims of qualified criminal activities, i.e. those who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse and who assist or agree to assist law enforcement or other designated officials in the investigation or prosecution of those crimes.

Qualifying criminal activities involve violations of certain federal, state or local criminal laws, including: abduction, abusive sexual contact, blackmail, domestic violence, extortion, false imprisonment, female genital mutilation, felonious assault, hostage-taking, incest, involuntary servitude, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, obstruction of justice, peonage, perjury, prostitution, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, slave trade, torture, trafficking, witness tampering, unlawful criminal restraint and other related crimes.

Eligibility for U Visa is based upon certification by designated authorities that the foreign national assisted in the investigation or prosecution of “the crime.” Applicants can obtain lawful temporary resident status and employment authorization while their application is pending adjudication.

Department of Labor statement stepping in to further U visa goals is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, it would act as a deterrent against perpetrators of abuse and crime. It helps crime detection and enforcement by encouraging the undocumented victim to come out of hideouts and report abuse and crime instead of enduring it for fear of deportation.

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