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DHS States Protections for Foreign Workers Who Report Labor Violations

Friday, January 27, 2023
Labor Violations


  • Jan. 13, 2023: DHS announced an expedited deferred action process for foreign workers who have been the victims of labor and employment violations.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that foreign workers can now access a “streamlined and expedited” deferred action request process if they have been the victims of labor and employment violations.

These protections became effective on Jan. 13, 2023, and apply to all foreign workers, regardless of their immigration or work authorization status.

Deferred Action

DHS uses deferred action at its discretion to postpone removing individuals who do not hold authorization to reside or work in the United States. Deferred actions are usually granted for a limited time and do not provide lawful status.

With this announcement, DHS stated that “refraining from reporting violations due to a fear of immigration-based retaliation creates unfair labor market conditions” and prevents the full cooperation of the U.S. workforce with government agencies in labor and employment enforcement efforts. By providing deferred action protections to foreign workers, DHS will empower individuals who are working without employment authorization to work with labor and employment agencies to “more fully investigate worksite violations.”

Impact on Employers

This DHS announcement signals to employers the federal government’s resolve to enforce compliance with labor and employment laws. The announcement is also an important reminder that employers should implement whistleblower policies and protections that apply to all workers, regardless of immigration or work authorization status.

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