More information about U visas is available on the Victims of Crime page.
SOMETIMES EMPLOYER ABUSE of workers rises to the level of being criminal. Depending on the crime committed and other factors, victim workers may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa, which provides important relief to those who fear losing their existing lawful immigration status through employer retaliation or who are targeted for abuse because they lack lawful status.
Unions and other worker advocates often witness, first-hand, employer exploitation and abuse of immigrants in the workplace. Abusive practices may violate collective bargaining agreements, wage and hour laws, equal employment protections, or the right of workers to engage in protected concerted activity. Sometimes, however, employer abuse of workers will rise to the level of criminal activity. In those situations, depending on the crime and other factors, workers may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa. This form of immigration status provides important relief and an alternative for workers in abusive environments who fear losing their existing lawful immigration status through employer retaliation or who are targeted for lack of a current lawful status and, as a result, hesitate to report criminal activity to law enforcement. With the possibility of protection and relief through a willingness to assist law enforcement, workers are more able to hold employers accountable and can feel empowered to improve their workplace conditions.
U.S. Dept. of Labor Materials & U Visa Toolkit
U.S. Department of Labor
The U visa is a federal program available to immigrant victims of crime who are helpful to law enforcement. U visa applicants must submit, among other documentation, a law enforcement certification. This toolkit provides details on the U visa program and guidance on how law enforcement agencies, in particular police and prosecutors, can develop a certification practice.(National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project at American University, Washington College of Law, Vera Institute of Justice, and Legal Momentum)