The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department, a government agency that is responsible for setting national immigration policy guidelines, has recently announced its intention to make it easier for crime victims to obtain work permits while the victim’s visa case is pending. Currently, the United States sets aside 10,000 “U-visas” per year for victims of human trafficking, sexual assault, kidnapping and other serious felonies. If the current administration succeeds in expanding the number of U-visas that the United States offers every year, then it could become a lot easier to immigrate to Pennsylvania or another state for victims who qualify under the new policy.
Understanding the current situation
U-visas are highly sought after because they entitle the holder to a work permit and the option to apply for permanent resident status after three years. Due to the limited supply and high demand for U-visas under current immigration laws, however, many people find themselves waiting several years before they can officially start working in the United States.
Under the current rules, family members of victims can also apply for a U-visa in certain circumstances. The victim must provide substantial documentation to support the assertion that they were harmed by a serious crime. Furthermore, victims must be willing to help law enforcement investigate the crime listed on the application. In fact, the U-visa application has a special section for the applicant to provide detailed information and document how they can specifically aid law enforcement in the future.
What the future for U-visas may hold
Although the new U-visa policy has not officially passed yet, the current administration is putting forth a general effort to make United States immigration policies less restrictive. An experienced immigration attorney may help clients stay informed as the situation around policy changes develops further.