United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will be creating a program to allow people with U Visas to more easily apply for work permits. This program will enable U Visa holders to legally work in the United States, allowing them to sustain themselves while in the country. It will also help to protect U Visa holders from exploitation, which is significant because they are among the most vulnerable members of the immigrant population.
What is a U Visa?
U Visas are a type of visa issued to immigrants who have been the victims of domestic abuse, human trafficking, or other serious crimes, and who aid law enforcement in prosecuting perpetrators of these crimes. It is issued to them so they may legally live in the United States while criminal proceedings against the person or people who hurt them are ongoing. This allows them to give testimony in U.S. courts and serve as witnesses without fear that they may be deported, thus potentially damaging the criminal case and exposing victims of violence to even greater harm.
What is the Problem With the Current U Visa System?
While U Visa holders are currently allowed to apply for work permits, it is a long and complicated process with a massive backlog. Some applicants for work permits under U Visas can wait years for work authorization, during which time they cannot legally work in the United States. This makes it harder for immigrant victims of serious crimes to take care of themselves, and places them at a greater risk of harm.
What Will the New Work Permit System Do?
Under the newly proposed system, someone with a valid U Visa would be able to apply for a work permit so long as their claims are made in good faith and without an intention to defraud the immigration system. This would make it easier for people with U Visas to seek work permits, which in turn would make it easier for them to sustain themselves while the case against the people who hurt them is ongoing. It can also help to avoid potential immigration complications that could arise due to a lack of income.
What Should You Do If You Are an Immigrant With a U Visa?
If you are a U Visa holder, or have been the victim of a serious crime and want to seek a U Visa, you should contact an immigration lawyer. They can help you through the application process and assist you in seeking work authorization. The sooner you get in contact with them, the sooner they can begin helping you.
For more than forty years, the Drucker Law Firm has been providing personal and quality legal services to individuals, universities, and corporations throughout the New York City and Tri-State area. We have represented three generations of clients in immigration and nationality matters, as well as personal injury, family law, criminal law, and general litigation matters. If you have a legal issue related to immigration law, please give us a call at (718) 458-1489 to schedule a consultation or visit our contact page.