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The A-3 nonimmigrant visa is issued to attendants, servants, and personal employees of a diplomat or foreign government official.
G-5 nonimmigrant visas are issued to attendants, servants, and personal domestic workers of an employee working for a designated international organization, such as the United Nations or the World Bank, or to domestic workers employed by the immediate families of such international organization employees.
A-3/G-5 IN CHARTS
Diplomatic immunity means many employers who violate the rights of their A-3/G-5 employees cannot be held accountable in U.S. courts. In the wake of numerous reports related to the underpayment, abuse and human trafficking of A-3 and G-5 workers, Congress passed extra protections for them in the 2008 reauthorization of the Trafficking and Victims Protection Act. As a result, DOS guidelines now mandate that A-3/G-5 employment contracts include a fair wage and coverage of all transportation costs for the employee. However, once A-3 and G-5 workers are in the U.S. there is no system in place to make sure their employers are complying with the contract terms.
DOCUMENTED CASES OF ABUSE
Read more case stories in our publication:
A-3/G-5 AT A GLANCE
Unlike most employers of temporary foreign workers, diplomatic and international employers of A-3 and G-5 workers do not petition the U.S. government for special permission. Employers identify prospective domestic workers, sign an employment contract, and then the prospective worker applies for the visa through the U.S. consular post abroad.
Duration of Employment
A-3 and G-5 visas are both valid for up to 3 years with 2 year extensions available. There is no limit on the number of extensions and no annual cap on the number of visas issued. The exact number of A-3 and G-5 workers that are present in the United States at any given time is unknown.
The Department of State (DOS) is charged with oversight; however, the agency has avoided any role in contract enforcement. A-3/G-5 workers already present in the U.S. seeking an extension must apply through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The A-3/G-5 programs suffer from structural issues that enable wage theft and rampant exploitation. The programs should be overhauled to:
Make information about the A-3/G-5 programs publicly available and easily accessible to stakeholders and the public.
As with most other nonimmigrant visa-holders, A-3 and G-5 workers are vulnerable because their visa is tied to their job placement. Linking a worker’s immigration status to their employer disincentivizes them from reporting abuse. Additionally, U.S. workers should be considered for open job opportunities.
Create Effective Oversight
Guarantee that U.S. agencies enforce robust labor and employment protections for A-3/G-5 workers, including access to justice across borders, and that the programs do not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.
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