On April 29, 2015, the US Departments of Labor and Homeland Security jointly published new regulations governing the H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Labor Certification Program. The new regulations are effective immediately.
To read the Department of Labor's news release on the regulations, see here. The rules are described in the press release as follows:
"These rules strengthen protections for U.S. workers, providing that they have a fair shot at finding and applying for jobs for which employers are seeking H-2B workers, while also providing that employers can access foreign workers on a temporary basis when U.S. workers are not available. The rules include several provisions to expand recruitment of U.S. workers, including more real-time recruitment efforts, requiring employers to offer work to former U.S. employees first, and establishing a national electronic job registry. They strengthen worker protections with respect to wages, working conditions, and benefits that must be offered to H-2B and U.S. workers covered by these regulations. They also establish the prevailing wage methodology for the H-2B program, reinstating the use of employer-provided surveys to set the prevailing wage in certain limited situations."
The Interim Final Rule in full is here. In summary, the rule proposes the following changes:
DOL also proposed new rules regarding wage determinations for H-2B worker. The rules establish that if there is no valid collective bargaining agreement, the prevailing wage will be the mean wage for the occupation in the pertinent geographic area derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey, unless the H-2B employer meets the conditions for requesting that the prevailing wage be based on an employer-provided survey.
The full text of the H-2B wage rule is here.
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.