February 16, 2023

OSHA Authorized to Certify Special Visa Applications during Investigations

OSHA will soon be able to certify special visa applications during workplace safety investigations in which the agency identifies criminal activities such as manslaughter, trafficking, extortion, felonious assault, forced labor, and obstruction of justice. OSHA’s new authority stems from a memorandum signed on Monday by U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. According to OSHA, the memorandum is intended to strengthen its ability to protect all workers, including those who lack immigration status or who face social and cultural inequities that may discourage them from sharing information with investigators or reporting workplace health and safety issues.

OSHA’s new authority, which will become effective on March 30, 2023, will allow the agency to issue certifications in support of applications for U Nonimmigrant Status and T Nonimmigrant Status visas. A news release published by OSHA explains that these visas “provide immigration status to non-citizen victims and allow them to remain in the U.S. to assist authorities in combatting human trafficking and other crimes.”

“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,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker.

To learn more, see OSHA’s news release.