FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2019 – Last week U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that labor unions can directly send consultation letters to USCIS in instances when unions are not providing a letter that is favorable to a P-1, P-2, or P-3 nonimmigrant visa petitioner. The P visa category is used by athletes, artists, entertainers, and support personnel who want to work temporarily in the United States. A petitioner that seeks a P visa must submit a consultation letter from the appropriate union in its application materials to the U.S. government.
Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) President Jennifer Dorning issued the following statement in response to this USCIS directive:
“DPE and our affiliate unions in the arts, entertainment, and media industries commend USCIS and Director L. Francis Cissna for continuing to address serious fraud and abuse within both the O and P visa programs. Unscrupulous petitioners submitting consultation letters on fraudulently altered union letterhead is an issue across visa categories. Our unions take seriously their role as advisors in both the O and P visa petition process because it is through this advisory role that these unions can help maintain pay and working conditions, safeguarding the economic interests of all professionals working in the industry. When low-road petitioners abuse the O or P visa approval process, they undermine the ability of our unions to maintain the workplace standards their members fought hard to achieve.
We view USCIS’s February 8th announcement as a continuation of needed reforms to the O and P visa consultation process, and look forward to further reforms that more fully address misuse of the consultation process.”
DPE unions in the arts, entertainment, and media industries include:
Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)
American Federation of Musicians (AFM)
American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA)
American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA)
Directors Guild of America (DGA)
Guild of Italian American Actors (GIAA)
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU)
Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)
Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE)
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) is a coalition of 24 unions representing over four million professional and technical union members. DPE affiliate unions represent professionals in over 300 occupations in education and healthcare; science, engineering, and technology; legal, business, and management; media, entertainment, and the arts; and public administration.