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Department of Labor proposes changes to H-2B program

Industry News

The DOL cites widespread program abuse.

| April 20, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a proposed rule that would make significant changes to the H-2B program, according to ANLA's Craig Regelbrugge. Throughout the proposed rule, DOL suggests that the proposed changes are necessary due to widespread program abuse. DOL says much of the abuse stems from the attestation process that was established in the 2008 H-2B rule.
 
According to the proposed rule, “in the first year of the attestation-based system our experience indicates that employers are attesting to compliance with program obligations with which they have not complied, and that employers do not appear to be recruiting, hiring and paying U.S. workers, and in some cases the H-2B workers themselves, in accordance with established program requirements.”  DOL cites compliance levels of 52 percent to 55 percent.
 
Some of the proposed changes include:
• Define temporary as less than 9 months, except in the case of a one-time occurrence that may last up to three years. If work spans all four seasons, DOL does not feel it is “temporary” or “seasonal.”  Landscape workers who also perform snow removal duties would require separate applications for the separate positions.
• Eliminate the attestation process.
• Require a registration process to substantiate the need for temporary workers. Registration would be good for 3 years, provided that employers do not increase the required number of workers by more than 20 percent from year to year (50 percent if need less than 10 workers), if the beginning and end dates of the work do not vary by more than 14 days, or if the job classification does not change. Registration applications can be filed between 120-150 days before the date of need.

Visit the ANLA site for more details.

Photo courtesy of NIOSH

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