HR News Update

Changes Proposed for H-2B Worker Program

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed a series of changes to the rules under the H-2B program, saying the revisions would streamline procedures for hiring workers.

The proposed rule, which has been sent to the Federal Register, supplements the reforms of the H-2B program already proposed by the Department of Labor in its proposed rule published on May 22.

The H-2B non-immigrant temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural temporary jobs for which U.S. workers are not available.

The proposed rule would:

-         Reduce from six months to three months the time H-2B workers must wait outside the United States before they are eligible to re-obtain status under the H or L classification

-         Require employer attestations on the scope of the H-2B employment and the use of recruiters to locate H-2B workers

-         Crack down on employers and recruiters who impose fees on prospective H-2B workers in connection with or as a condition of an offer of H-2B employment

-         Require an approved temporary labor certification in connection with all H-2B petitions

-         Preclude, with limited exception, the change of the employment start date after the grant of the temporary labor certification

-         Require employers to notify DHS when H-2B workers fail to show up for work, are terminated, or abscond from the worksite

-         Change the definition of "temporary employment" to provide that a job is of a temporary nature when the worker will end in the near, definable future and to eliminate the requirement that employers show "extraordinary circumstances" to be eligible to hire H-2B workers where a one-time need for the workers is longer than one year but shorter than three years

-         Prohibit the approval of H-2B petitions for nationals of countries that are determined to be consistently refusing or unreasonably delaying repatriation of their nationals

-         Establish a land-border exit system pilot program, which requires H-2B workers admitted through a port of entry participating in the pilot H-program to also depart through a participating port and to present designated biographic and/or biometric information upon departure.


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