February 2, 2010
Today, the Department of Labor published in the Federal Register a Final Rule regarding the labor certification process required under the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program. This Final Rule amends regulatory changes to the program introduced in December 2008. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of Labor must ensure that U.S. workers are provided access to the jobs, and that both U.S. and foreign workers are provided with appropriate worker protections. This Final Rule reflects the Administration's commitment to providing fair wages and strong labor protections for all workers.
On September 4, 2009 the Department published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the 2008 regulations. The comment period was initially planned to end on October 5, 2009 but was extended to October 20, 2009. The Department received approximately 7,000 comments on this rule. Among many other provisions, this rule:
- increases access to job opportunities for U.S. workers by increasing coordination with state workforce agencies
- provides transparency by creating a national electronic job registry where job orders will be posted by the Department
- raises wages for foreign workers by reinstating the use of USDA wage surveys and
- increases oversight and enforcement powers to ensure that the worker protection requirements of the H-2A program are enforced.
We hope this document will be of assistance to you and would be happy to help answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact DOL's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at (202) 693-4600 or email at Zaffirini.Tony@dol.gov.