H-2B receives extension

H-2B receives extension

The Department of Labor will continue processing applications through May 15.

April 17, 2015

As of April 15, the Department of Labor will be allowed to process temporary labor certifications under the H-2B applications through May 15.

The federal district court in the Northern District of Florida vacated DOL’s 2008 H-2B regulations March 4 on the grounds that the DOL lacks authority to issue regulations in the H-2B program. DOL and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are working to publish regulations to minimize future interruptions to the H-2B program, according to DHS.

On March 16, The U.S. Departments of Labor and Homeland Security announced that they were working to issue a joint Interim Final Rule on H-2B, according to the Office of Foreign Labor Certification. They hope to have the ruling by April 30.

The DOL and DHS both are involved in processing thousands of annual applications to the H-2B program, which grants temporary visas to seasonal workers in non-agricultural industries. One of the key areas of regulation – and contention – during the past few years is the wage rates for seasonal workers.

But after a challenge from Florida Rural Legal Services, a non-profit labor rights group, the Northern Florida District Court ruled on March 4 that the Department of Labor does not have the authority to issue regulations in the H-2B program, including standards for calculating prevailing wages for seasonal workers.

The H-2B 66,000 cap is split into two portions, the first of which ended March 31. However, there will be residual delays from the recent shut down of the program by the Justice Department.  And on Feb. 2, the Department of Homeland Security announced the cap for the first half of the fiscal year had been reached. Petitions received after Jan. 26 requesting a start date before April 1 were then rejected.

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