The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has announced the expansion of the H-2A Ombudsman Program to include the H-2B Program community. OFLC has stated that the H-2B Ombudsman Program aims to facilitate fair and equitable resolution of concerns that arise within the H-2B filing community, by conducting independent and impartial inquiries into issues related to the administration of the H-2B program.
The H-2B Ombudsman Program may be able to help in situations where:
- applicants are facing an emergency or hardship that they believe may have been caused by a mistake, error, or delay in the processing of their H-2B application;
- applicants are experiencing a problem with their H-2B application that they have not been able to resolve with the OFLC Chicago National Processing Center (NPC);
- the H-2B application is pending beyond statutory or regulatory processing times and applicants do not know or understand what is causing a delay.
OFLC has informed that applicants can ask the H-2B Ombudsman's Program for help by submitting an inquiry or request through e-mail to H2B.Ombudsman@dol.gov; or by fax to 202-693-2768; or through mail addressed to Office of Foreign Labor Certification, Employment and Training Administration, United States Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room C-4312, Washington, DC 20210. Attn: H-2B Ombudsman.
There is no fee for using the H-2B Ombudsman Program. However, OFLC has asked applicants to first try to resolve their issue or problem by contacting the Chicago National Processing Center (NPC) before contacting the H-2B Ombudsman Program for assistance. Further, when contacting the H-2B Ombudsman Program for help, applicants must make sure to include their H-2B Case Number. Applicants must include copies of important documentation or other paperwork submitted to or received from the Chicago NPC, but must not send original documents.
OFLC has also informed that the H-2B Ombudsman Program authority is limited to assisting with problems or concerns directly related to the OFLC’s administration of the H-2B Program, and the H-2B Ombudsman Program will not be able to help in situations where:
- one is seeking legal advice;
- one is seeking assistance in filling out an H-2B application;
- one is presenting concerns or issues which are hypothetical in nature or otherwise do not involve H-2B applications that have not yet been filed;
- one is seeking the reversal of an official action or decision by the Chicago NPC; or,
- one is seeking assistance with an issue that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the OFLC.