Starting March 30, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be able to authorize legal protection for undocumented workers involved in workplace safety violations. 

That means for the first time, OSHA investigators will be able to issue the equivalent of U- or T-level visas, which provide immigration status to noncitizens while they are assisting authorities, explained RC Legal Insights expert Trent Cotney. 

The new rules are designed to assist undocumented immigrants that were the victims of crimes like human trafficking. However, they can also be used in whistleblowing situations involving unsafe working conditions. 

“What OSHA is doing is saying if you assist me with this investigation, we can help get you these visas,” Cotney, a partner with Adams & Reese, explained in a brief videochat with RC Publisher Jill Bloom. “That is a big carrot for those people out there kind of caught in the crossfire.”

Watch the full conversation here or listen to the podcast.