DOL announces final rule on H-2B foreign labor certification program
Posted February 11, 2012
The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration and its Wage and Hour Division on February 10 announced a final rule to improve the H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker program. The rule, to be published in the February 21 edition of the Federal Register, includes changes to several aspects of the program meant to ensure that U.S. workers receive greater access to jobs and strengthens worker protections.
The H-2B program allows the entry of foreign workers into the United States on a temporary basis when qualified U.S. workers are not available, and the employment of those foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. The H-2B program is limited by law to a cap of 66,000 visas per year.
The department stated that the final rule provides employers with greater flexibility and certainty throughout the application and recruitment processes, and improves U.S. workers' access to jobs. The rule creates a national registry for all H-2B job postings and increases the amount of time during which U.S. workers must be recruited. The rule also requires the rehiring of former employees when available.
In addition, H-2B program benefits such as transportation costs and wages will be extended to U.S. workers performing substantially the same work as H-2B workers. Worker protections also will be strengthened by enhanced transparency throughout the employment process.
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