The US Department of Labor and Training Administration announced the publication of a proposed rule that seeks to improve the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker program. The proposed rule includes changes to several aspects of the program aimed at ensuring that U.S. workers receive the same level of protections and benefits as temporary foreign workers recruited under the H-2B program, and to provide better access for employers with legitimate labor needs.
The proposed rule would create an H-2B registration process that would allow employers to conduct labor market tests closer to their date of need before applying for a certification. It also would eliminate job contractors as users of the program.
Further, the rule proposes creating a national job registry for all H-2B job postings; requiring employers to provide documentation that they have taken appropriate steps to recruit U.S. workers, rather than permitting employers to attest to such compliance; enhancing transparency by requiring employers to submit agency agreements and through the use of foreign recruiters; reinstating the role of state workforce agencies in providing expertise on local labor market conditions and recruitment patterns; and increasing the amount of time during which U.S. workers must be recruited.
Additionally, the department proposes to extend H-2B program benefits to workers employed alongside those recruited under the H-2B program; require employers to pay transportation costs and other fees; and enhance enforcement by giving the department's Wage and Hour Division independent debarment authority.
To view a copy of the forthcoming Federal Register notice, visit http://s.dol.gov/DK. Members of the public are invited to submit comments on this proposed rule via the federal e-rulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The deadline for comments is May 17, 2011.