New rules announced for the H-2B visa program

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The US Department of Labor and Homeland Security have finally responded to the increasing uncertainty around the popular program.

After a string of recent court decisions have increased uncertainty surrounding the H-2B visa program, officials have finally announced amendments in an effort to clear things up.

According to the U.S Departments of Labor and Homeland Security, employers will now be required to give U.S workers more of a chance at applying for a temporary, seasonal job before that position is given to a foreign worker.

“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 agencies said in a statement,” the departments said in a statement.
But the changes have already been criticized - House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said; “The new regulations issued by the Obama administration are overly burdensome for the small and seasonal businesses that play by the rules and use this guest-worker program to hire a legal workforce.”

Under the new rule, jobs being made available must be more broadly advertised and jobs must be open to U.S workers until 21 days before the needed start date. 

The amendments 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.

The new rules are available at the Federal Register through the following links:
  • Comprehensive Interim Final Rule:
  • Wage Final Rule:

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