DOL Unveils New H-2A Proposed Rule
This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.
The Department of Labor (DOL) posted online an unofficial version of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on July 15, 2019, in advance of publication in the Federal Register, on proposed changes to the H-2A temporary agricultural labor certification program. DOL said the proposed changes would modernize the agency’s H-2A regulations “in a way that is responsive to stakeholder concerns and enhances employer access to a legal source of agricultural labor, while maintaining the program’s protections for the U.S. workforce and enhancing enforcement against fraud and abuse.”
Among other things, the NPRM would mandate electronic filing of job orders and applications, promote the use of digital signatures and provide employers with the option of staggering the entry of H-2A workers on a single application. The NPRM also proposes to enhance standards applicable to rental housing and public accommodations, strengthen surety bond requirements, expand DOL’s authority to use enforcement tools like program debarment for substantial violations of program rules, and update the methodologies used to determine the Adverse Effect Wage Rates and prevailing wages.