U.S. Department of Labor Protects American Workers With H-2A, H-2B Tools in Four States
ATLANTA, GA – To ensure compliance with federal wage laws, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is undertaking an initiative in Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina to strengthen compliance with the labor provisions of the H-2A and H-2B temporary visa programs.
The initiative includes providing compliance assistance information to employers and stakeholders, as well as conducting investigations of employers using these programs. A key component of the investigations is ensuring that employers recruit U.S. workers before applying for permission to employ temporary nonimmigrant workers.
“Any employer seeking workers under these programs must be ready and willing to hire qualified U.S. applicants,” said Wayne Kotowski, Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator in Atlanta. “This initiative demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for law-abiding employers, and protect guest workers from being paid less than they are legally owed or otherwise working under substandard conditions.”
The Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the lawful admission of temporary, nonimmigrant workers (H-2A workers) to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrants to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States.
Before an employer can be approved to request guest workers under the H-2A or H-2B programs, they must file an application with the Department stating that:
- An insufficient number of U.S. employees are able, willing, qualified, and available to work; and
- The employment of non-immigrant, temporary workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
WHD offers multiple compliance assistance resources to provide employers the tools they need to comply with the law. The Division encourages employers to reach out to them for information or with specific questions. All calls are confidential.