Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
North Dakota Farmer Debarred from Temporary Worker Program
BOWMAN, ND – The U.S. Department of Labor has debarred Lambourn Farm, a North Dakota grain and cattle farming operation, from participation in the H-2A temporary visa program after the farm violated program provisions and failed to cooperate with Department investigators.
The H-2a program allows employers to bring non-immigrant, foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor.
Despite Lambourn’s failure to cooperate, the Department’s Wage and Hour Division was able to determine that the employer required employees to pay prohibited fees. Lambourn also failed to pay employees the required wage rates, to provide safe transportation and housing, and to maintain required records. Investigators found two employees were owed $1,159 in back wages for work performed on the Bowman farm.
The company has paid the back wages and $18,587 in civil monetary penalties, and is barred from participating in the program for three years.
“When employers apply for worker visas, they agree to demonstrate that they meet program requirements,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Betty Campbell. “Employers who don’t play by the rules may gain an unfair advantage over their competitors. Our enforcement protects American workers as well as the safety of temporary workers.”
Before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can approve an employer’s petition for H-2A visa workers, an employer must file an application with the Department stating that there are not sufficient U.S. employees who are able, willing, qualified, and available, and that the employment of non-immigrant, temporary workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed persons in the U.S. The law provides for numerous employee protections and employer requirements with respect to wages and working conditions that do not apply to non-agricultural programs.
In Fiscal Year 2016, the Department processed 1,372 H-2A applications in North Dakota.
Visit http://www.dol.gov/whd or call the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) for more information.