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Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs

Services

The Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs (DIPA) works inside and outside the Department of Labor (NYSDOL) to serve the needs of immigrants. We make sure that the protections, services, and programs of the NYSDOL are available to everyone, including people with limited English proficiency.

Outreach

DIPA teaches immigrant communities about their workplace rights, and our agency’s services and programs. We frequently conduct outreach with other groups that work in immigrant communities, including:

  • Advocacy Groups
  • Community-based organizations
  • Social services providers
  • Faith-based groups
  • Elected officials
  • Local, state, and federal government agencies
  • Foreign government representatives

We use our “Labor on Wheels” van to visit areas where large groups of immigrants live or work. The van helps us bring information to people who are not able to visit a Department of Labor office because of distance or time. In 2010, we made more than 200 outreach visits and gave out materials in English and 20 other languages. We used the Labor on Wheels van to make many of those visits.

DIPA is the first point of contact for those who have questions or concerns about immigrant workers, job seekers, and others. We:

  • Connect them with the correct agency program or division
  • Make referrals to other organizations
  • Answer questions on our toll-free worker hotline, 1-877-466-9757

We also conduct outreach to immigrant business owners about employment laws. Immigrant and limited English proficient employers face challenges understanding their legal responsibilities. We invite them to employer seminars where they learn about employment laws, as well as programs and resources that can help their businesses grow.

Policies and Laws

DIPA makes sure our agency’s services meet the needs of immigrants. We review our programs and procedures in depth. We also make sure they are accessible and effective.

Immigrant Workforce Project

One result of our work is the Immigrant Workforce Project (IWP). The IWP aims to connect immigrant and limited English proficient job seekers with the New  York State Career Center system. It also strives to improve and expand the employment services available to them.

Language Access

DIPA also leads efforts on a statewide policy of agency accessibility by limited English proficient (LEP) individuals. The goal of such a policy is to ensure that all individuals who interact with the Department of Labor, including those with limited English proficiency, gain meaningful access to programs and services. Speaking with NYSDOL representatives and reading NYSDOL forms and publications is a challenge for much of the state’s immigrant population. A statewide LEP policy will ease their access to, and their use of, the vital resources of the Department of Labor by mandating translation and interpreting services where and how they are needed.

Read more about Language Access

Those who feel that we have not provided adequate interpretation services, or have denied them access to an available translated document, may submit a complaint form to give us their feedback.

Agricultural Industry

Foreign Labor Certification

The foreign labor certification program permits U.S. employers to hire foreign workers on a temporary or permanent basis to fill jobs, including agricultural (H-2A) and non-agricultural (H-2B). An employer can obtain certification where there are insufficient qualified U.S. workers available and willing to perform the work at the prevailing wages for that type of work. The Department of Labor assists New York employers by processing job orders for the H-2A and H-2B temporary labor programs. The H-2A agricultural program enables agricultural employers to bring foreign workers to New York to perform agricultural or seasonal labor. The H-2B non-agricultural program enables employers to bring foreign workers to New York to perform work on a one-time, seasonal, peak-load, or intermittent basis

DIPA processes job orders for these programs, which employers then submit as part of an application to the U.S. Department of Labor. Once approved, employers receive temporary visas for foreign workers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In this way, the Department of Labor assures that there are enough workers for certain types of jobs in New York without adversely affecting the opportunities, wages, or working conditions of U.S. workers.

Compliance on Farms

Agriculture is one of the leading industries in New York State. It employs 40,000 to 80,000 farm workers every year (including domestic, guest worker, year-round, migrant and seasonal farm workers). Immigrant farm workers grow, harvest and distribute a full range of products – from fruits and vegetables to greenhouse, dairy and more.

DIPA’s State Monitor Advocate helps make sure that farm workers work in good conditions and receive fair pay. The Monitor Advocate:

  • Manages the state’s rural program
  • Works closely with the Foreign Labor Certification office
  • Oversees statewide compliance with relevant labor laws

DIPA staff visit farms to inform workers of their rights. They also teach farmers about their responsibility under state and federal laws. Our goal is to make sure that New York’s large and diverse agriculture industry thrives as it follows rules that protect worker rights and safety.

Immigrant Crime Victims

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to make someone work against their will. Victims of human trafficking are often lured with false promises of well-paying jobs, threatened with violence to themselves or their families, told they must work for free or little wages to pay off debts, or are otherwise manipulated.

Both the federal government and the New York State government have passed laws that criminalize human trafficking and provide services for victims. DIPA coordinates the New York State Department of Labor's (the Department) anti-human trafficking efforts, including receiving and investigating tips of possible trafficking, helping individuals in filing claims for back wages, providing referrals to social service agencies, and, where appropriate, providing certifications for visas for victims of certain qualifying crimes.  DIPA additionally raises public awareness through outreach presentations to community organizations, workers, and employers, and participates in eight regional taskforces which bring together advocates and law enforcement to coordinate responses to human trafficking.

To report labor trafficking, request certifications for U or T visas, or schedule a DIPA outreach presentation, please call the Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs at 877-466-9757 or E-mail trafficking@labor.ny.gov.

Resources

For additional information about human trafficking and the Department's anti-trafficking programs, please see the Department of Labor's Human Trafficking brochure. The brochure is also available in the following languages.

The Department of Labor also created a pocket sized Human Trafficking Resource Card in eight languages (Chinese, English Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish). You can request copies of the (2" x 4") card in any of these languages through our on-line request form at: https://www.labor.ny.gov/secure/contact.

 

Immigrant Crime Victims

U Visas

The U visa provides immigration status for victims of certain serious crimes, who have suffered substantial physical or mental harm, and have cooperated with law enforcement. Many immigrants are wary of reporting crimes, even violent crimes, because they fear interactions with law enforcement. The U visa is intended to encourage them to come forward.

As part of a U visa application, the immigrant applicant must submit certification from a qualified local, state, or federal law enforcement agency that the immigrant is cooperating, or has, cooperated in the detection, investigation or prosecution of a crime. The New York State Department of Labor is a qualified certifying agency, and authority has been delegated to DIPA to evaluate certification approvals. The U Visa Certification Protocol is available upon request.

Please note that while the Department can issue U visa certifications, the entire application must then be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), who will determine whether or not to approve the application and grant immigration status.

Questions about U visa certification can be sent to dipa@labor.ny.gov.

T Visas

The T visa provides immigration status to victims of severe forms of human trafficking that assist law enforcement in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of human trafficking cases. A law enforcement declaration is not required in a T visa application, however it is considered very helpful as evidence of a victim's cooperation. As with U Visas, while the Department can issue T visa endorsements, the entire application must then be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who will determine whether or not to approve the application and grant immigration status.

Questions about T visa endorsements can be sent to dipa@labor.ny.gov.

 

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