It is believed that undocumented immigrants make up around 3.5% of the U.S. population, and due to this, they are depended on as workers who contribute to the functioning of this country. If you are an undocumented immigrant working in New York, it’s possible that you are working in the hospitality industry, the construction industry or the agriculture industry.

While you may feel relatively secure in your ability to earn an income in your industry, this can all come crashing down when you are injured at work. As an undocumented immigrant, you may be worried that in trying to claim a social security benefit such as workers’ compensation, you’ll be vulnerable to deportation. The following is an overview of what you need to know when it comes to your rights to workers’ compensation as an undocumented immigrant.

You cannot legally work as an undocumented immigrant

As you probably know, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) states that immigrants without proper documentation are not permitted to work in the United States. However, the burden is primarily on the employer to verify an employee’s eligibility to work in the country. An employer may be fined if they knowingly hire an undocumented immigrant.

You may believe that you are unable to claim workers’ compensation as the result of an injury if you are unable to legally work. However, in most cases, this is not true.

You can gain workers’ compensation as an undocumented immigrant

In New York, workers’ compensation law is interpreted to apply to all employees. This means it applies to any person who is employed, regardless of whether they are a minor, an undocumented immigrant or otherwise unlawfully employed. Therefore, if you have been injured at work, assert your rights and apply for workers’ compensation.

If you are worried about filing for workers’ compensation as an undocumented immigrant, make sure that you understand the process in full.