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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 is often the first point of contact for immigrant and limited English proficient workers or job seekers to the Department of Labor services. Through our toll-free hotline, and outreach presentations to immigrant communities, we inform them about services provided by the Department of Labor, including:

  • employment services for individuals (such as job searches, resume development, and interviewing skills),
  • job postings for businesses, and
  • enforcement of labor law.

Our outreach presentations review both the New York State labor law and the DOL complaint handling process for:

  • minimum wage,
  • payment of wages and wage supplements,
  • prevailing wages under public work contracts,
  • child labor,
  • hours of work,
  • illegal kickbacks,
  • tip appropriation and retaliation.

We also review other DIPA areas of service:

  • Ensuring language access requirements are met by all New York State Agencies so that limited English proficiency speakers can receive services in their own languages.
  • Coordination of investigations of possible human trafficking, and providing eligible workers with referrals to service providers,
  • U Visa Certifications and T Visa Endorsements.

For businesses, DIPA outreach presentations focus on areas of labor law relevant to their operations:

  • DIPA's role as a liaison to business services within the DOL,
  • industry-specific wage orders,
  • payment of wages,
  • payroll records,
  • maintenance of records,
  • laws prohibiting child labor, deductions, tip appropriation and
  • workplace environment issues.

We are available to present to immigrant communities, or organizations that work with immigrants.  In the past we have worked with:

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

We visit locations where large groups of immigrants live or work. We use this outreach to bring information to people who are not able to visit a Department of Labor office because of distance or time. 

Through our toll-free hotline, we additionally provide assistance with:

  • Connecting immigrants to services within the DOL, including filing complaints for back wages or for unemployment
  • Providing referrals to social or other appropriate service providers,
  • Referrals to resources for immigrant business owners

To request an outreach presentation or event, contact us at 877-466-9757 or dipa@labor.ny.gov.

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.

Contact the Foreign Labor Certification Unit

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.

Read more about the Agriculture Labor Program

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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