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DOL and DHS Release Joint New Rules for H-2B Visa Program

Mechelle Zarou

Mechelle Zarou

This week the U.S. Departments of Labor and Homeland Security announced an interim final rule to reinstate and make improvements to the H-2B Visa program, and a final rule to establish the prevailing wage methodology to be utilized for the H-2B program. The joint announcement came in response to recent court decisions that have created significant uncertainty around the H-2B temporary foreign nonagricultural worker program.

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.

Moreover, 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.  The rules propose strengthening 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, and 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.  They also provide interim transition procedures so that employers have time to adjust to the new rules.

Our firm is available to assist with your immigration needs. For more information, please contact Mechelle Zarou at mzarou@slk-law.com.

 

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