WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS WITH A TEMPORARY WORK VISA
Nonimmigrants working in the United States on temporary work visas are granted a number of employment rights regardless of their visa category. While workers in some categories, such as H-2A temporary agricultural workers and J category au pairs, have additional rights, all nonimmigrants working in the United States are protected by six basic rights.
These six basic rights are:
TO BE PAID FAIRLY.
Just like employees who are U.S. citizens, workers on temporary visas have the right to be paid at least the federal minimum wage for most jobs as well as for all work they perform. These individuals may be paid a higher rate if they work in a state, city, or county with a greater minimum wage, or if they are governed by an employment contract or visa program that requires higher pay. Nonimmigrant workers are also eligible for overtime at one-and-a-half times their hourly rate for any hours worked over 40 per week.
While employers may deduct some items from a nonimmigrant’s paycheck, it is generally considered illegal if the deductions result in the worker receiving less than the legally required wage rate after the deductions. Employers usually cannot deduct for uniforms, required tools, supplies, recruitment fees, and the like. Lawful deductions include those chosen by the employee, such as health insurance, as well as any court-ordered items like child support or alimony.
Workers on temporary visas, with few exceptions, are required to pay state and U.S. federal income and employment taxes, including Social Security and Medicare. These are often withheld directly from the worker’s paycheck.
TO BE FREE FROM DISCRIMINATION.
Nonimmigrant workers cannot be treated differently because of their:
National origin or ethnicity
Genetic information (including family medical history)