Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
The H-2B nonimmigrant program permits employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrants to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be of a temporary nature for a limited period of time such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal need, peakload need or intermittent need. The H-2B program requires the employer to attest to the Department of Labor that it will offer a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, applicable Federal minimum wage, the State minimum wage, or local minimum wage to the H-2B nonimmigrant worker for the occupation in the area of intended employment during the entire period of the approved H-2B labor certification. The H-2B program also establishes certain recruitment and displacement standards in order to protect similarly employed U.S. workers.
The Wage and Hour Division has been delegated enforcement responsibility by the Department of Homeland Security effective January 18, 2009, to ensure H-2B workers are employed in compliance with H-2B labor certification requirements. The Wage and Hour Division may impose administrative remedies such as wage payments and civil money penalties against employers who violate certain H-2B provisions.
- The Department of Labor Appropriations Act, 2016, Division H, Title I of Public Law 114-113 (“2016 DOL Appropriations Act”), provides that the Department of Labor (“Department”) may not use any funds to enforce the definition of corresponding employment found in 20 CFR 655.5 or the three-fourths guarantee rule definition found in 20 CFR 655.20, or any reference thereto. See Sec. 113. However, the 2016 DOL Appropriations Act did not vacate these regulatory provisions, and they remain in effect, thus imposing a legal duty on H-2B employers, even though the Department will not use any Fiscal Year 2016 funds to enforce them.
On April 29, 2015, in response to recent court decisions that have created significant uncertainty around the H-2B temporary foreign nonagricultural worker program, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Homeland Security announced an interim final rule to reinstate and make improvements to the program and a final rule to establish the prevailing wage methodology for that program.
These rules strengthen protections for U.S. workers, providing that they have a fair shot at finding and applying for jobs for which employers are seeking H-2B workers, while also providing that employers can access foreign workers on a temporary basis when U.S. workers are not available. The rules include several provisions to expand recruitment of U.S. workers, including more real-time recruitment efforts, requiring employers to offer work to former U.S. employees first, and establishing a national electronic job registry. They strengthen worker protections with respect to wages, working conditions, and benefits that must be offered to H-2B and U.S. workers covered by these regulations. They also establish the prevailing wage methodology for the H-2B program, reinstating the use of employer-provided surveys to set the prevailing wage in certain limited situations. More information is available at the Interim Final Rule Website.
- Field Assistance Bulletin for Enforcing Provisions Applicable to H-2B Workers certified prior to January 18, 2009
- Field Assistance Bulletin for Travel and Visa Expenses of H-2B Workers Under the FLSA
- H-2B Certification for Temporary Nonagricultural Work
- Requirements to Participate in the H-2B Program
- Wages under Foreign Labor Certification
Nonimmigrant Worker Related Agency Links:
- Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Department of Labor/Foreign Labor Certification
- Department of State