On April 15, 2015, the federal district court in the Northern District of Florida issued an order effectively permitting the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to continue issuing temporary labor certifications under the H-2B visa program through May 15, 2015. As a result, DOL will continue to process temporary labor certification applications under its 2008 H-2B regulations through May 15, 2015.
The background to this decision was a ruling in a case of Perez v. Perez in March 2015. In this ruling, the Florida district court nullified the DOL’s 2008 H-2B regulations, saying the DOL lacks authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to issue regulations in the H-2B program. Consequently, USCIS temporarily stopped processing H-2B petitions and DOL stopped accepting H-2B prevailing wage and labor certification applications. (We blogged about this decision here.)
USCIS resumed H-2B processing on March 17, but new applications were delayed because employers could not complete the required DOL steps before filing with USCIS. Premium Processing of H-2B cases remained suspended, and will resume today, April 20, 2015.
Premium Processing allows employers to request faster processing of certain employment-based petitions and applications. The current filing fee for Form I-907 is $1,225.
NOTE: USCIS has reached the cap on H-2B petitions for fiscal year 2015. March 26, 2015 was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before October 1, 2015. Any petitions received after march 26 that request a start dat before October 1 are being rejected by USCIS. See here for more details.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.