Office of Foreign Labor Certification
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Announcements


Feb
6
February 6, 2017. OFLC Announces Updates to H-2B Case Workload and Processing Times

The Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is providing additional processing information to employers who participate in the H-2B temporary nonimmigrant visa programs. Between January 1 - 7, 2017, OFLC received nearly 3,000 H-2B applications covering approximately 53,200 worker positions with an expected start date of work on or after April 1, 2017; an approximate 93% increase when compared to the number of H-2B applications received during the same calendar week in 2016. Between January 8 - 31, 2017, OFLC received another 1,500 H-2B applications requesting temporary labor certification for approximately 28,900 workers.

During 2016 and within its limited resources, OFLC planned and executed a number of management actions, as well as regular stakeholder education and outreach activities, designed to minimize expected processing delays without being able to accurately predict the total volume of applications that would be filed for processing. Beginning the first work week of January 2017, OFLC published regular updates on H-2B case processing times to the stakeholder community, and ensured consistent availability of its iCERT electronic system for customers to file H-2B applications and staff to process case actions. In order to issue prompt final decisions, OFLC also deployed a dedicated team of staff to review employer recruitment reports on pending H-2B applications that have completed the labor market test requirements under the regulation. We are continuing to focus our available resources on reducing the number of pending H-2B applications as expeditiously as possible while simultaneously issuing quality decisions.

To help employers better understand employer demand for workers under the H-2B visa program, OFLC has updated its H-2B case processing time information to include the total number of workers requested and certified based on the week in which the employer filed its H-2B application. OFLC will continue to provide regular updates to this information during each work week, and employers can access current processing time information through the iCERT System at https://icert.doleta.gov and clicking on the "Processing Times" tab from the main home page.

Feb
3
February 3, 2017. FY 2017 Q1 Cumulative Disclosure Data

The OFLC PERM, H-2A, H-2B, Prevailing Wage, and H-1B program disclosure data files for Quarter 1 of FY 2017 are now available. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

Feb
2
February 2, 2017. Updated program factsheets containing the Quarter 1 FY 2017

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated program factsheets containing the Quarter 1 FY 2017 selected statistics for the Permanent Labor Certification Program, Prevailing Wage Determination Program, H-1B Specialty Occupations Labor Condition Program, H-2A Temporary Agricultural Labor Certification Program and H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Labor Certification Program. Reports are derived from program data as of 12/31/2016.The updated program factsheets may also be found on OFLC's Performance Data page.

Jan
11
January 11, 2017. FY 2017 Q1 H-2B Foreign Labor Recruiter List

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted an updated H-2B Foreign Labor Recruiter List with cumulative cases from July 28, 2016 through December 31, 2016. Quarterly updates will normally be posted by the end of the month immediately following the close of the quarter. Click here for the updated list.

Dec
23
December 23, 2016. New 2017 Herder H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs)

On December 23, 2016, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor (Department) is issuing this notice to announce the new Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for the employment of temporary or seasonal nonimmigrant foreign workers (H-2A workers) to perform herding or production of livestock on the range. AEWRs are the minimum wage rates the Department has determined must be offered and paid by employers to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment so that the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers will not be adversely affected. To read the Federal Register notice please click here.

Dec
23
December 23, 2016. New 2017 H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs)

The Department has published a notice in the Federal Register announcing new Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) for each state, based on the Farm Labor Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The AEWRs are the minimum hourly wage rates the Department has determined must be offered and paid by employers to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment for a particular agricultural job and area, so that the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers will not be adversely affected. To read the Federal Register notice please click here.

Dec
20
December 20, 2016. New 2017 H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rates and Adverse Effect Wage Rate for Range Occupations.

The Office of Federal Register has scheduled the Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of Aliens in Agriculture in the United States: 2017 Adverse Effect Wage Rates and 2017 Adverse Effect Wage Rate for Range Occupations for publication in the Federal Register on December 23, 2016. These documents will be placed on public inspection on 12-22-2016 08:45:00.

Dec
19
December 19, 2016. PERM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Status FAQ

Q: Is the Department planning to issue a regulation on PERM?

A: On December 16, 2016, the PERM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Schedule A Request for Information were withdrawn from OMB/OIRA review.

Dec
1
December 1, 2016. OFLC Announces System Maintenance Outage Impacting the iCERT and PERM Systems

The PERM system will be unavailable during the following time periods for system maintenance:

  • Thursday, December 8, 2016 from 8:00pm EDT until 12:00 am EDT

iCERT and PERM systems will be unavailable during the following time periods for system maintenance:

  • Friday, December 16, 2016 from 8:00pm EDT until Saturday, December 17, 2016 10:00 am EDT
Nov
17
November 17, 2016. USDA Release of 2016 Farm Labor Survey

On November 17, 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the Farm Labor Survey (FLS) report in which it established the average annual wage rates, by region and the United States, for field and livestock workers. The Department of Labor (Department) relies on the average annual combined hourly wage for field and livestock workers in order to establish the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) in the H-2A program. The AEWRs are the minimum hourly wage rates the Department has determined must be offered and paid by employers to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment, so that the wages of workers similarly employed in the United States will not be adversely affected.

The Department is reviewing the USDA FLS average annual wage rates for 2016 and will soon publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing new Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) for each state at which time the rates will become immediately effective. To obtain more information on NASS surveys and reports, please call the NASS Agricultural Statistics Hotline at (800) 727-9540, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, or e-mail: nass@nass.usda.gov. To obtain a copy of the latest USDA FLS report, please click here.

Nov
3
November 3, 2016. OFLC Announces System Maintenance Outage Impacting the iCERT System

The iCERT system will be unavailable during the following time periods for system maintenance:

  • Thursday, November 3, 2016 from 8:00pm EDT until 12:00 am EDT
Nov
2
November 2, 2016. Hurricane Matthew Extension Requests

Please click here for questions regarding extensions or other reasonable case-accommodations in light of the damage done by Hurricane Matthew.

Nov
1
November 1, 2016. The Department has released its Foreign Labor Certification Annual Report for FY 2015

The 2015 Annual Report presents information on the Prevailing Wage Determination Process, Permanent Labor Certification, and Temporary Nonimmigrant Labor Certification for FY 2015. The report also contains State Employment-Based Labor Certification Profiles and top Country Employment-Based Immigration Profiles. Click here to view the 2015 Annual Report. A 508 compliant version will be posted as soon as it is available.

Nov
1
November 1, 2016. Electronic Notification of PERM Letters:

The Atlanta National Processing Center (ANPC) will begin issuing PERM notification letters via e-mail beginning December 1, 2016. Electronic notification e-mails will ensure PERM stakeholders receive ETA Form 9089 application determination notifications in a timely, cost effective manner without 'in the mail' delivery delays.

To ensure this electronic notification delivery convenience works for all PERM stakeholders, please add sr.processing@dol.gov and plc.atlanta@dol.gov to your Address Book or Safe List within your e-mail system(s) to avoid being filtered as SPAM. In addition, if e-mail addresses for the authorized representative or employer have changed, please notify either sr.processing@dol.gov (Supervised Recruitment cases) or plc.atlanta@dol.gov (all other correspondence). Please provide the case number along with the updated contact information.

Stakeholders will receive the following letters/notifications via e-mail:

  • Audit Notification Letters
  • Denial Notification Letters
  • Requests for Information Letters
  • Additional Audit Information Requests
  • Withdrawal Letters
  • Notices of Decisions from Appeals

NOTE: Certified ETA Form 9089 PERM application letters will not be sent electronically due to the certification's security paper requirements currently in place with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Electronic Receipt of PERM Audit Responses, Requests for Information, and Responses to Notices of Decisions for Appeals: The ANPC will receive ETA Form 9089 audit responses and responses to Requests for Information, Additional Audit Information Requests, and Notices of Decisions for Appeals sent via e-mail on December 1, 2016. To ensure your submission is received with no issues, i.e., non-compliance with delivery size limitations, please ensure each e-mailed response is no larger than 20MB.

If your e-mail response is larger than 20MB, please separate the response into two or more documents of less than 20MB in size.

For example, if submitting more than one document in response to an audit notification due to size restrictions, please ensure you indicate in the Subject Line of the e-mail that there are multiple submissions. For example, <Case Number>_Audit Response_1 of 3.

In addition, when submitting an electronic response, please keep in mind the following tips:

  • Do not combine multiple audit responses for different cases in one submission packet.
  • Direct any questions via e-mail to sr.processing@dol.gov (Supervised Recruitment inquiries) or plc.atlanta@dol.gov (all other inquiries) and include the case number in the subject line.
  • For audit responses specifically; scan, tab, or clearly identify the documentation into the following categories:
    1. Cover Letter
    2. Recruitment Report and any other supporting documentation
    3. Business Necessity and other supporting documentation
    4. Recruitment Content, including copies of newspaper advertisements, Notice of Filing, Job Order, and professional advertisements
    5. Copy of Audit Letter (if applicable)
    6. Resumes, including any applications, evaluations, and other supporting documentation
    7. Prevailing Wage (if applicable)
    8. Affidavits (if applicable)
    9. Signed ETA Form 9089 (if applicable)
    10. Postage Receipt (if applicable)
Nov
1
November 1, 2016. FY 2016 Q4 Cumulative Disclosure Data

The OFLC PERM, H-2A, H-2B, Prevailing Wage, and H-1B program disclosure data files for Quarter 4 of FY 2016 are now available. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

Nov
1
November 1, 2016. The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated program factsheets containing the FY 2016 Quarter 4 Selected Statistics for the Permanent Labor Certification Program, Prevailing Wage Determination Program, H-1B Temporary Visa Program, H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program, and H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program. Reports are derived from program data as of 9/30/2016.The updated program factsheets may also be found on OFLC's Performance Data page.
Oct
11

October 11, 2016. OFLC Announces System Maintenance Outage Impacting the iCERT/PERM Systems

The PERM system will be unavailable during the following time periods for system maintenance:

  • Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 8:00 pm EDT until 12:00 am EDT

The iCERT and PERM system will be unavailable during the following time periods for system maintenance:

  • Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 10:00 am EDT until 4:00 pm EDT
Oct
7

October 7, 2016. PERM FAQ Round 13

The Department of Labor has published a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) Round 13 related to preparing the required recruitment report for employers seeking labor certification under the PERM Program along with two "best practice" sample recruitment reports. The Round 13 FAQ is posted on the PERM Program Page on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification website at https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/faqs_pdf.cfm. To directly access the Round 13 FAQ, please click here.

Oct
7

October 7, 2016. OFLC Announces System Maintenance Outage Impacting the iCERT/PERM Systems

The iCERT and PERM systems will be unavailable from 10:00 pm EDT on Friday, October 7, 2016 until 6:00 am EDT on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 for system maintenance.

Oct
4

October 4, 2016. H-2B Interim Final Rule FAQs Round 17

The Department of Labor has published a seventeenth round of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the filing and processing of H-2B Applications for Temporary Employment Certification covering issues related to the area of intended employment and what constitutes a worksite under the H-2B program. The Round 17 FAQs are posted on the H-2B Interim Final Rule Implementation Page on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification website at https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/2015_H-2B_IFR.cfm. To directly access the Round 17 FAQs, please click here.

Oct
3

October 3, 2016: H-2A Herder Final Rule FAQs Round 3

The Department of Labor has published a third round of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the filing and processing of H-2A Applications for Temporary Employment Certification covering the herding or production of livestock on the range. The Round 3 FAQs are posted on the H-2A Herder Final Rule Implementation Page on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification website at https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/h-2a_herders.cfm. To directly access the Round 3 FAQs, please click here.

Sep
14

September 14, 2016. OFLC Webinar Update: Technical Assistance Presentation from September 13, 2016, H-2A and H-2B Program Webinar Now Available

On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification hosted a 4-hour webinar to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on recent program workload trends, common deficiencies and best practices associated with employer requests for H-2B prevailing wage determinations and applications for temporary labor certification under the H-2A and H-2B visa programs. Our objective for the webinar was to provide technical assistance to employers and, if applicable, their authorized attorneys or agents that will improve the quality of applications submitted to the OFLC by:

  • Discussing recent program updates and initiatives designed to improve case processing and transparency of the decision-making process;
  • Identifying how to avoid common deficiencies or frequent errors when preparing job orders and applications;
  • Providing helpful practice tips to ensure quality job order and applications are submitted for processing; and
  • Highlighting best practices or quality prevailing wage requests and labor certifications applications from the 2016 filing season.

Stakeholders and members of the general public can obtain a copy of the presentation by clicking here.

Sep
9

September 9, 2016. H-2B Prevailing Wage FAQs.

The Department of Labor has published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to processing H-2B Prevailing Wage Determinations under the 2015 H-2B Wage Final Rule. The FAQs are posted in the Prevailing Wages section on the FAQs page. To directly access the FAQs page, please click here.

Sep
1

September 1, 2016. ETA Announces it is Streamlining the H-2B Process for Non-Agricultural Employers: Procedural Change in Submitting Temporary Need Documentation

ETA is announcing a process change related to the submission of applications for temporary labor certification under the H-2B visa program intended to reduce burdens on employers and streamline the adjudication of temporary need. Effective immediately, an employer submitting an H-2B application may satisfy the regulatory requirements for demonstrating temporary need by disclosing such information on the Form ETA-9142B, Application for Temporary Employment Certification, without also submitting detailed supporting documentation with its initial application, particularly where the employer's temporary need has been demonstrated in earlier applications certified or the work is clearly tied to a temporary, seasonal cycle. This process change in the H-2B program better aligns the review of temporary need with the standard applied to agricultural employers in the H-2A program, where the submission of detailed supporting documentation to support recurring seasonal workforce needs is not necessary.

For a more detailed explanation of this important process change in the H-2B program, please click here.

Aug
26

August 26, 2016. ETA Announces iCERT System Enhancement to Streamline the H-2A and H-2B Processes for Employers: Electronic Submission of Supporting Documentation Post-Filing

ETA has implemented a new enhancement to the iCERT System related to the submission of applications for temporary labor certification under the H-2A and H-2B visa programs intended to reduce burdens on employers and streamline the processing of applications. Beginning on and after Friday, August 26, 2016, the iCERT System permits the submission of electronic documentation at the time of filing and while the H-2A or H-2B application is pending review. The Department expects that this new feature will eliminate the need for the employer or, if applicable, its authorized agent or attorney to submit responsive documents via U.S. mail, e-mail or facsimile, and result in a more expedient review of applications by connecting the responsive documents directly to the OFLC analysts assigned to the application.

For a more detailed explanation of this important iCERT System enhancement, please click here.

To review the features of this new iCERT System enhancement, please download a copy of the Quick Start Technical Guide by clicking here.

Aug
15

August 15, 2016. Webinar Announcement: Employer Filing Tips and Best Practices for Preparing and Submitting H-2B Prevailing Wage Requests and H-2A/H-2B Labor Certification Applications

As part of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's (OFLC) on-going efforts to increase public engagement, the OFLC will host a webinar on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, designed to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on recent program workload trends, common deficiencies and best practices associated with employer requests for H-2B prevailing wage determinations and applications for temporary labor certification under the H-2A and H-2B visa programs.

Our objective for the webinar is to provide technical assistance to employers and, if applicable, their authorized attorneys or agents that will improve the quality of applications submitted to the OFLC by:

  • Discussing recent program updates and initiatives designed to improve case processing and transparency of the decision-making process;
  • Identifying how to avoid common deficiencies or frequent errors when preparing job orders and applications;
  • Providing helpful practice tips to ensure quality job order and applications are submitted for processing; and
  • Highlighting best practices or quality prevailing wage requests and labor certifications applications from the 2016 filing season.

DATE: Tuesday, September 13, 2016

TIME: 12:00PM to 4:00PM Eastern Standard Time

FORMAT: Webinar & conference call capability will be provided to maximize participation

EVENT NUMBER: 744 257 619

PASSWORD: Welcome!25

  1. Go to or click on: https://dolevents.webex.com/dolevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=e61d5965bdc38a77f05328af0e2e4ec27
  2. If prompted, please enter the appropriate contact information (first name, last name, email address)
  3. If prompted, enter the event password: Welcome!25
  4. Click on "Join Now"
  5. To join and hear the audio, please dial the toll-free number 800-369-1983 and enter access code: 2846236 to hear the audio portion of the webinar or use the audio function of the Web Ex software to stream audio.
AUG
11

August 11, 2016.

Pursuant to 20 CFR § 655.9(c), the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is publishing a list of the names of foreign labor recruiters and the identity and location of persons or entities hired by or working for the recruiter that employers have indicated they engaged, or planned to engage, in the recruitment of prospective H-2B workers to perform the work described on their Form ETA-9142B, H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

By providing this Foreign Labor Recruiter List, OFLC is providing a greater level of transparency to the H-2B worker recruitment process and facilitating information sharing between the Department and other agencies and the public. The list will be updated quarterly and can be accessed here. FAQs regarding the Foreign Labor Recruiter List have been posted as 2015 H-2B IFR FAQs Round 16 and can be accessed here.

AUG
03

August 03, 2016. FY 2016 Q3 Program Factsheets

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated program factsheets containing the Quarter 3 FY 2016 selected statistics for the Permanent Labor Certification Program, Prevailing Wage Determination Program, H-1B Temporary Visa Program, H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program, and H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program. Reports are derived from program data as of 6/30/2016.The updated program factsheets may also be found on OFLC's Performance Data page.

July
29

July 29, 2016.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated PERM Program disclosure data files for Quarter 4 of FY 2015. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

July
20

July 20, 2016. FY 2016 Q3 Cumulative Disclosure Data

The OFLC PERM, H-2A, H-2B, Prevailing Wage, and H-1B program disclosure data files for Quarter 3 of FY 2016 are now available. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

July
6

July 6, 2016. OES Wage Data Update Includes Updated BLS Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) Definitions

As noted in the July 1, 2016 web announcement below, the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) recently began using the 2017 wage data set provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), based on May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) data. This data set is the first to use the 2010 BLS definitions of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), as designated by the Office of Management and Budget. As a result, some ETA-9141 prevailing wage request forms submitted prior to the NPWC's use of the new data and MSA definitions will incorrectly cite in subsection E.c.7a MSAs that have changed pursuant to the new definitions.

If an applicant's ETA-9141 Form lists a MSA that no longer exists due to the updated BLS area definitions, the NPWC will alter the text in E.c.7a to reflect the correct MSA and will include an additional note to notify the applicant that the NPWC has altered its form as a result of the update to the MSA definitions. In addition, some returning applicants seeking a prevailing wage determination (PWD) for multiple worksites will receive a different wage(s) than in prior years due to the BLS geographic area updates. For example, in prior years the areas of Somerset and Middlesex in New Jersey were included in the same MSA and thus received the same OES wage in a PWD. However, as a result of the BLS update, Somerset and Middlesex are included in separate BLS areas and PWDs issued for job opportunities in the areas will not be the same. Please direct any questions or comments regarding the effect of the BLS updates on the PWD process to the NPWC help desk via email at flc.pwd@dol.gov. The updated OES data sets may be viewed by visiting www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.

July
1

July 1, 2016. OES Wage Data Update

On July 1, 2016, OFLC uploaded the newest prevailing wage data from the Occupational Employment Survey as generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year from July 2016 - June 2017. The effective date is July 1, 2016. Prevailing wages issued from the National Prevailing Wage Center will reflect the new data.

June
28

June 28, 2016. Webinar Update June 23, 2016: Employer Filing Tips for Submitting H-2A and H-2B Labor Certification Applications

Copies of the OFLC's June 23rd presentation on filing tips and common deficiencies associated with the submission of applications for temporary labor certification under the H-2A and H-2B visa programs are now available.

  • To obtain a copy of the H-2A Filing Tips, please click here.
  • To obtain a copy of the H-2B Filing Tips, please click here.
  • To obtain a copy of the H-2B PWDs Filing Tips, please click here.
June
27

June 27, 2016.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated Prevailing Wage disclosure data files for Quarter 4 of FY 2015. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

June
08

June 8, 2016. Webinar Announcement: Employer Filing Tips for Submitting H-2A and H-2B Labor Certification Applications

As part of the Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification's (OFLC) on-going efforts for increased public outreach, the OFLC will host a public webinar on June 23, 2016, to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on best practices, filing tips, and common deficiencies associated with the submission of applications for temporary labor certification under the H-2A and H-2B visa programs. Our objective for this webinar is to provide technical assistance to employers and, if applicable their authorized representatives to avoid frequent or common errors in preparing and submitting H-2A and H-2B applications.

To join the webinar event scheduled for Thursday, June 23, 2016, please use the below instructions:

DATE: Thursday, June 23, 2016
TIME: 2:00PM - 3:30PM EST
Call-in number: 888-469-0871
INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Go to or click on: https://dolevents.webex.com/dolevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=e83537a74c16bc53cb6b5c930f48eff95
  2. If prompted, please enter the appropriate contact information (first name, last name, email address)
  3. If prompted, enter the event password: Welcome!24
  4. Click on "Join Now"
  5. To join and hear the audio, please dial the toll-free number 888-469-0871 and enter access code: 27423 to hear the audio portion of the webinar or use the audio function of the Web Ex software to stream audio.
June
03

June 3, 2016. New H-2A Form ETA-9142A, Appendix A FAQs

The Department of Labor on June 3, 2016 published a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) for the H-2A program on the updated Form ETA-9142A, Appendix A. The FAQ is posted as Round 11: June 2016 on the H-2A program page. To directly access the new FAQ, please click here.

May
18

May 18, 2016. ETA Announces it is Streamlining the H-2A Process for Agricultural Employers: Procedural Change to the Form ETA-9142A, Appendix A

OFLC is pleased to announce that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the Department's request to update the Appendix A in two ways: (1) to reflect new regulatory requirements contained in the 2015 H-2A Herder Final Rule; and (2) to simplify the H-2A process for employers submitting this document alongside their I-129 petitions to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This approval came as part of the Department's 3-year extension of the Form ETA-9142A and Appendix A. The remainder of the data collected on the Form ETA-9142A remains unchanged.

When filing an H-2A application on the Form ETA-9142A, an employer is required to submit a signed and dated copy of the Appendix A, which contains the requisite program assurances and obligations. Prior to this announcement, where the OFLC granted a temporary labor certification application, the Chicago National Processing Center (NPC) sent the employer a certified H-2A application containing a second copy of the Appendix A issued on "blue security paper." The employer and its authorized attorney or agent were each then required to sign and date this second copy of Appendix A again and then submit it to the USCIS.

The Department's new Form will make it unnecessary to sign and submit a second copy of the Appendix A. An employer will now only need to sign and date the Appendix A once at the time of filing the H-2A application and retain the original in its administrative file. Then, where the OFLC grants a temporary labor certification, the Chicago NPC will send a certified H-2A application and a Final Determination letter to the employer by means normally assuring next day delivery, including electronic mail, and a copy, if applicable, to the employer's authorized attorney or agent. The employer and its authorized attorney or agent will be instructed to complete three steps:

Step 1 Complete the newly modified footer on each page of the original Appendix A (retained in its administrative file), adding the case number, status, and period of employment from the certified Form ETA-9142A;

Step 2 Retain the original Appendix A along with a copy of the certified Form ETA-9142A, as required by 20 CFR 655.167; and

Step 3 Submit signed and dated copy of the Appendix A, together with the original certified Form ETA-9142A issued by the OFLC, directly to the USCIS.

This change will save employers and their agents or attorneys from mailing each other paper forms to sign them a second time - which is effectively required under the current form.

TRANSITION PROCEDURES

  • Employers with either a currently pending H-2A application or those who file a new H-2A application prior to June 15, 2016, containing the previous Appendix A will be provided with a copy of the revised Appendix A at the time the Chicago NPC grants a temporary labor certification. They will also receive instructions from the Chicago NPC regarding how to complete the revised Appendix A for submission to the USCIS.
  • On or after June 15, 2016, employers or their authorized representatives filing a new H-2A application must submit a signed and dated copy of the revised Appendix A containing the program assurances and obligations that comply with the 2010 H-2A Final Rule and 2015 H-2A Herder Final Rule. Otherwise, the Chicago NPC will issue either a Minor Deficiency Email or a Notice of Deficiency requesting that the employer provide a signed and dated copy of the revised Appendix A.

To obtain a copy of the revised Appendix A, please click here.

To obtain a copy of the Form ETA-9142 and general instructions, please click here.

May
17

May 17, 2016. FY 2016 Q2 Cumulative Disclosure Data

The OFLC PERM, H-2A, H-2B, Prevailing Wage, and H-1B program disclosure data files through Quarter 2 of FY 2016 are now available. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

Apr
08

April 8, 2016.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated program factsheets containing the Quarter 2 FY 2016 selected statistics for the Permanent Labor Certification Program, Prevailing Wage Determination Program, H-1B Temporary Visa Program, H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program, and H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program. Reports are derived from program data as of 3/31/2016.The updated program factsheets may also be found on OFLC's Performance Data page.

Apr
04

April 4, 2016. Webinar Announcement: Employer Filing Tips for Submitting H-2B Wage Surveys

As part of the Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification's (OFLC) on-going efforts for increased public outreach, the OFLC will host a public webinar on April 7, 2016, the to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on submission of wage surveys to determine the prevailing wage for job opportunities in the H-2B temporary non-agricultural labor certification program.

Employer Filing Tips for Submitting H-2B Wage Surveys

The objectives for this webinar are to assist employers and surveyors to avoid frequent errors found in filing prevailing wage determination applications that include wage surveys by:

  • Providing clarification on common errors with documenting and displaying survey results;
  • Providing tools to help ensure surveys comply with applicable regulatory requirements;
  • Reviewing common errors found when completing the Form ETA-9165

The webinar briefing is scheduled for Thursday, April 7, 2016, at 1:30 PM Eastern Standard time for approximately 90 minutes. This webinar is open to the public and no pre-registration is required. It will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis on the date specified. To learn how to access the Department's upcoming H-2B webinar focused on providing wage survey submission and compliance guidance, please click here.

Mar
28

March 28, 2016. OFLC Announces Extension of Emergency Procedures Initiative for Backlogged H-2B Applications through April 30, 2016.

The Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is continuing to experience significant delays in processing employers' H-2B applications for certification. As explained in the public service announcement posted by the Department on February 19, 2016, these delays have been generated by several factors, the most significant of which was a 17-day certification processing pause at the Chicago National Processing Center (NPC) needed for OFLC to implement changes to comply with the revisions to the H-2B prevailing wage and certification standards contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (2016 appropriations law), Public Law 114-113, 129 Stat. 2242 (Dec. 18, 2015).

The delays in the certification process that applicants are continuing to experience impair the ability of employers to hire foreign workers when needed, and create instability for small businesses that depend on temporary and seasonal workers. OFLC has concluded that the delays still impacting the timely processing of H-2B applications constitute good and substantial cause under 20 CFR 655.17 for employers to request emergency procedures of their currently pending applications.

Therefore, employers with pending H-2B applications will be able to continue to request the emergency procedures under 20 CFR 655.17 through April 29, 2016, so that the Chicago NPC can complete the current application processing backlog. For H-2B applications filed on and between April 2 and April 29, the CNPC will accept requests for expedited procedures at 12:01 on April 4, and will no longer accept such requests at midnight April 29.

To read the full announcement of the Emergency Procedures Initiative and how employers can continue to participate, please click here.

Mar
23

March 23, 2016. H-2A Program Forms.

The forms for the H-2A program are currently in review for a three year extension. Notice of a second comment period, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act, is expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks. The Chicago National Processing Center will continue to accept the current H-2A program form with 2016 expiration dates, which may be extended in one month increments until the full three year extension is approved by OMB and the new forms are posted on our website and updated in the iCERT System.

Feb
26

February 26, 2016. Federal Register Notice Announcing the 2016 Allowable Charges for Agricultural Workers' Meals and Travel Subsistence Reimbursement, Including Lodging for the H-2A and H-2B Programs.

The Department of Labor has published a Notice in the Federal Register to announce the allowable charges for 2016 that employers seeking H-2A workers may charge their workers when the employer provides three meals a day, and the maximum travel subsistence meal reimbursement that a worker with receipts may claim in 2016 under the H-2A and H-2B programs. The Notice also includes a reminder regarding employers' obligations with respect to overnight lodging costs as part of required subsistence for the H-2A and H-2B programs. To read the Notice, please click here.

Feb
24

February 24, OFLC Webinar on H-2B Case Processing Initiatives.

On February 19, OFLC announced two initiatives designed to help reduce the backlog of pending H-2B applications and provide information to help the stakeholder community better understand the current processing timeframes for H-2B applications at the Chicago NPC. OFLC will be conducting a second webinar to explain these initiatives in more detail and answer stakeholder questions using a chat room feature.

To join the webinar event scheduled for Friday, February 26, 2016, please use the below instructions:

DATE: Friday, February 26, 2016

TIME: 1:00PM - 3:00PM Eastern Standard Time

EVENT NUMBER: 748 972 498

PRESENTATION: To obtain a copy of the powerpoint presentation slides, please click here

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Go to or click on: https://dolevents.webex.com/dolevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=e3dc7bbd2b4592a45cebc9975a7767e38
  2. If prompted, please enter the appropriate contact information (first name, last name, email address)
  3. If prompted, enter the event password: Welcome!25
  4. Click on "Join Now"
  5. To join and hear the audio, please dial the toll-free number 1-800-857-9772 and enter access code: 7545364 to hear the audio portion of the webinar or use the audio function of the Web Ex software to stream audio.
Feb
19

February 19, OFLC Announces Emergency Procedures Initiative for Backlogged H-2B Applications

The Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is presently experiencing significant delays in processing employers' H-2B applications for certification. These delays have been generated by several factors, the most significant of which was a 17-day certification processing pause at the Chicago National Processing Center (NPC) needed for OFLC to implement changes to comply with the revisions to the H-2B prevailing wage and certification standards contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (2016 appropriations law), Public Law 114-113, 129 Stat. 2242 (Dec. 18, 2015). At the same time OFLC experienced more than a twofold increase in H-2B applications for certifications during a three-week period from December 26, 2016 to January 15, 2016, as compared to the same period last year (1087 application last year compared to 2420 applications this year). Also as noted in its public announcement on January 27, 2016, OFLC has been experiencing technical problems with its electronic filing system, iCERT, which resulted from the implementation of required IT security specifications that slowed the iCERT system. Each of these factors contributed to the processing delays employers are experiencing.

The delays in the certification process that applicants are currently experiencing impair the ability of employers to hire foreign workers when needed, and create instability for small businesses that depend on temporary and seasonal workers. OFLC has concluded that the factors discussed above, which have created the current backlog in applications, constitute good and substantial cause under 20 CFR 655.17 for employers to request emergency procedures of their currently pending applications. Employers with pending H-2B applications will have a limited opportunity to request the emergency procedures under 20 CFR 655.17, so that the Chicago NPC can address the current application processing backlog.

To read the full announcement of the Emergency Procedures Initiative and how employers can participate, please click here.

In addition, the OFLC will host a public stakeholder webinar on Monday, February 22, 2016, starting at 2:00PM to 3:30PM (Eastern Standard Time). To join the event, please use the below instructions:

  1. Go to or click on: https://dol.webex.com/dol/onstage/g.php?MTID=e5d2c3aa2de3806cdaa9937a40c8e8d6c
  2. Enter your first name, last name and e-mail address.
  3. If prompted, enter the event password: Abcd123$
  4. Click on "Join Now"
  5. Dial the toll-free number 1-866-421-8739 and enter access code: 939 193 9 to hear the audio portion of the webinar or use the audio function of the Web Ex software to stream audio.
Feb
19

February 19, OFLC Releases H-2B Case Processing Information

The Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is making this public service announcement to employers who participate in the H-2B temporary nonimmigrant visa program. Since the end of December 2015, the Department has issued several public announcements concerning recent changes and significant delays in processing H-2B applications at the OFLC Chicago National Processing Center (NPC). The significant delays employers are experiencing stem from the implementation of changes in program requirements contained in the 2016 DOL Appropriations Act (enacted on December 18, 2015), and the magnitude of the increase in H-2B applications filed during the late December to early January time period. In addition, during the course of several weeks in January 2016, the OFLC experienced technical network problems with its iCERT System due to implementation of software upgrades related to mandatory security requirements, which impacted our staff's ability to process case actions in a timely manner and caused additional delays for our employer customers.

Since October 1, 2015, the OFLC has processed approximately 2,000 H-2B applications requesting approximately 45,500 worker positions. We have certified approximately 1,500 H-2B applications covering more than 36,900 worker positions. Between December 28, 2015 and February 19, 2016, the OFLC has issued more than 1,300 Notices of Acceptance (NOA) or Deficiency (NOD) on pending H-2B applications. The OFLC has expanded and reallocated resources to assist in the processing of pending H-2B applications without compromising program integrity or the processing timeframes of other visa programs. We continue to focus our efforts on reducing the number of pending cases as quickly as possible and examining administrative flexibilities to increase processing efficiency.

To help employers better understand the current processing timeframes for H-2B applications at the Chicago NPC, the OFLC is disclosing case processing information through its iCERT System at https://icert.doleta.gov, which will be updated at least weekly.

Feb
17

February 17, H-2B IFR Job Order Checklist and H-2B IFR Round 11 FAQs

The Department of Labor has published on the H-2B program page an updated version of the H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule (IFR) Job Order Checklist and updated H-2B 2015 IFR Round 11 Frequently Asked Questions: Job Order Content, Amendments, and Recruitment. To directly access the H-2B 2015 IFR Job Order Checklist, click here. To directly access the H-2B 2015 IFR Round 11 FAQs, click here.

Feb
16

February 16, H-2B Stakeholder Webinars (Update)

The Department is posting the instructions for accessing H-2B stakeholder public webinars that are scheduled for February 17, 2016, at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time and February 18, 2016, at 2:00 PM Eastern Standard time. There is no pre-registration for the public webinars. Each will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis on the dates specified. To learn how to access the Department's H-2B stakeholder public webinar, please click here.

Feb
12

February 12, FY 2016 Q1 Cumulative Disclosure Data

The OFLC PERM, H-2A, H-2B, Prevailing Wage, and H-1B program disclosure data files for Quarter 1 of FY 2016 are now available. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

Feb
9

February 9, 2016. Stakeholder Webinars

On February 17 and 18, 2016, the Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will host two public webinars to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public regarding the changes to the H-2B program made by the 2016 DOL Appropriations Act, enacted on December 18, 2015, and how those changes impact the processing of applications at the OFLC National Prevailing Wage Center and Chicago National Processing Center. The webinar briefings are scheduled for February 17, 2016, at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time and February 18, 2016, at 2:00 PM Eastern Standard time. Each briefing will be identical in content and will last 90 minutes. Instructions for accessing these H-2B webinars will be announced by February 12, 2016.

Feb
4

February 4, 2016. Index of OFLC FAQ Rounds added

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has compiled a list of topics covered in each one of its FAQ Rounds. Once launched, the user can search for key words in the FAQ Rounds by clicking the Ctrl + F keys. To access the Index of OFLC FAQ Rounds, please click here.

Jan
29

January 29, 2016.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated program factsheets containing the Quarter 1 FY 2016 selected statistics for the Permanent Labor Certification Program, Prevailing Wage Determination Program, H-1B Temporary Visa Program, H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program, and H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program. Reports are derived from program data as of 12/31/2015. The updated program factsheets may also be found on OFLC's Performance Data page.

Jan
27

January 27, 2016.

The Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is making this public service announcement to employers who participate in H-1B, H-2A and H-2B temporary nonimmigrant visa programs. The OFLC has been experiencing technical network problems supporting its iCERT Visa Portal System (iCERT System), resulting in delays in the processing of temporary nonimmigrant visa applications for employers. Specifically, although the iCERT System's application and database are working properly, the network infrastructure supporting the system is exhibiting performance issues that are significantly impacting our staff's ability to process case actions for our employer customers. The Department's technology staff is working diligently with the OFLC to improve system performance as soon as practically possible.

Jan
22

January 22, 2016. H-2A Corporate Restructuring/ Successor in Interest FAQ

The Department of Labor on January 22, 2016 published a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) for the H-2A program on Post Certification: Corporate Restructuring/ Successor In Interest. The FAQ is posted as Round 10: January 2016 on the H-2A program page. To directly access the new FAQ, please click here.

Jan
21

January 21, 2016. H-2B IFR Job Order Checklist

The Department of Labor has temporarily removed the H-2B Interim Final Rule Job Order Checklist. It will be re-posted as soon as it is updated.

Jan
15

January 15, 2016.

The Department of Labor has published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to employer obligations and minimum job order content requirements for occupations involving a mobile workforce under the 2015 H-2B Interim Final Rule. The FAQs are posted as Round 15 on the H-2B page. To directly access the new FAQs, please click here.

Jan
12

January 12, 2016. Updated Prevailing Wage disclosure data files for Quarter 4 of FY 2015

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated Prevailing Wage disclosure data files for Quarter 4 of FY 2015. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

Jan
11

January 11, 2016.

The Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is making this public service announcement to employers who participate in the H-2B temporary nonagricultural visa program. We have received a number of inquiries and correspondence concerning recent changes and delays in processing H-2B applications at the Chicago National Processing Center (NPC). The Department takes your concerns seriously and strives to support U.S. small businesses, consumers, and communities.

The Department, along with the Department of Homeland Security, jointly published the 2015 H-2B Interim Final Rule and H-2B Wage Final Rule, which became effective on April 29, 2015. The new rules strengthened protections for U.S. workers while also ensuring that employers can access foreign workers on a temporary basis when U.S. workers are not available. Additionally, the rules were intended to bring stability and continuity to the program. However, the 2016 Department of Labor Appropriations Act (2016 DOL Appropriations Act), enacted on December 18, 2015, contains provisions significantly affecting the processing of employer H-2B applications at the Chicago NPC. Unfortunately, the time required to implement these new legislative provisions is causing delays in processing employer H-2B applications filed prior to December 18 and that were pending with the Chicago NPC. Following an intensive review of the operational impacts of the 2016 DOL Appropriations Act, OFLC posted emergency guidance and has been implementing requirements of the 2016 DOL Appropriations Act, including new procedures and forms approved on an emergency basis by the Office of Management and Budget.

In addition, the current filing season has seen more than 1,700 new H-2B applications filed during the holiday season, an approximate 79% increase over the number of H-2B applications filed during the 2014 holiday season.

The simultaneous impact of the requirement to change procedures as the result of the 2016 DOL Appropriations Act, and the major increase in the number of applications being filed, has resulted in longer processing times in the H-2B program. This additional processing time may continue for the immediate future so that we can fully incorporate and operationalize the new program requirements and handle the increased workload. Our current efforts are focused on reducing the number of pending cases as quickly as possible without compromising program integrity.

Jan
7

January 7, 2016. Change of Address for the Office of Foreign Labor Certification, National Prevailing Wage Center

The Department of Labor (Department) is providing notice that the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC), currently located at 1341 G. Street, Washington, D.C., is relocating within the Washington, D.C. area effective Monday, January 11, 2016. The address for the NPWC's new location is:

US Department of Labor/ETA
Office of Foreign Labor Certification
National Prevailing Wage Center
200 Constitution Avenue NW
Room N-5311
Washington, D.C. 20210
Telephone: (202) 693-8200
Jan
6

January 6, 2016. Upload the updated FY 2015 Q4 Disclosure Data. H-2B, PERM and Prevailing Wage

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated H-2B, PERM and Prevailing Wage disclosure data files for Quarter 4 of FY 2015. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

Jan
5

January 5, 2016. OMB Approval of Revisions to Appendix B of Form ETA-9142B and Form ETA-9165 in order to Implement Provisions of 2016 DOL Appropriations Act

The 2016 Department of Labor Appropriations Act (Division H, Title I of Public Law 114-113) (2016 DOL Appropriations Act), which was enacted on December 18, 2015, contained several provisions requiring non-substantive modifications to (1) the Form ETA-9165, Employer-Provided Survey Attestations to Accompany H-2B Prevailing Wage Determination Request Based on a Non-OES Survey and (2) Appendix B of the Form ETA-9142B, H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification. In order to comply with the 2016 DOL Appropriations Act, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) submitted these non-substantive modifications to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The OMB has now approved the non-substantive modifications. Therefore, the OFLC Certifying Officers (COs) may issue H-2B prevailing wage determinations based on the submission of a private survey, and may now certify H-2B applications for temporary labor certification, so long as all applicable program requirements are met.

IMPORTANT NOTICES

Employers Requests for Prevailing Wage Determination Based on Survey

  • Employer requests for a prevailing wage determination based on a private wage survey submitted on or after December 19, 2015, must be accompanied by the revised Form ETA-9165. The CO will issue a Request for Information requiring the employer submit the revised Form ETA-9165 for any survey-based requests for a prevailing wage determination submitted without the revised Form ETA-9165.

Employers Requests for H-2B Temporary Labor Certification

  • Prior to February 1, 2016, employers with either a pending H-2B application or those who file a new H-2B application containing the previous Appendix B will be provided with a copy of the revised Appendix B at the time the CO issues a certification decision. They will also receive instructions in the Final Determination Letter regarding how to complete the revised Appendix B for submission to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • On or after February 1, 2016, employers or their authorized representatives filing a new H-2B application must submit a signed and dated copy of the revised Appendix B containing the program assurances and obligations that comply with the 2016 DOL Appropriations Act. Otherwise, the CO will issue a Notice of Deficiency requesting that the employer provide a signed and dated copy of the revised Appendix B.

To obtain a copy of the Emergency Guidance (updated January 5) reflecting these changes, please click here.

To obtain a copy of the revised Form ETA-9165 and general instructions, please click here.

To obtain a copy of the revised Appendix B, Form ETA-9142B, please click here.

To obtain a copy of the Department's latest Frequently Asked Question concerning corresponding employment, please click here.

Dec
28

December 28, 2015. The Department has released its Foreign Labor Certification Annual Report for FY 2014

The 2014 Annual Report presents information on the Prevailing Wage Determination Process, Permanent Labor Certification, and Temporary Nonimmigrant Labor Certification for FY 2014. The report also contains State Employment-Based Labor Certification Profiles and top Country Employment-Based Immigration Profiles. Click here to view the 2014 Annual Report. A 508 compliant version will posted as soon as available.

Dec
22

December 22, 2015. New 2016 H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs)

The Department has published a notice in the Federal Register announcing new Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) for each state, based on the Farm Labor Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The AEWRs are the minimum hourly wage rates the Department has determined must be offered and paid by employers to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment for a particular agricultural job and area, so that the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers will not be adversely affected. To read the Federal Register notice please click here.

Dec
21

December 21, 2015.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated performance factsheets containing the Quarter 4 FY 2015 selected statistics for the H-1B, H-2A and H-2B programs. The reports have been updated to include the percentage of applications processed timely. Additionally, the H-2A report has been updated to reflect the correct number of Top 10 Crops/Occupations FYTD. Reports are derived from program data as of 9/30/2015. The updated program factsheets may also be found on OFLC's Performance Data page.

Dec
17

December 17, 2015. New Small Business Guide to the H-2A Visa Program: Herding or Production of Livestock on the Range

In efforts to assist users of the H-2A Visa Program, the Department of Labor (Department) has published a Handbook for the Herding or Production of Livestock on the Range. This Handbook assists U.S. employers with Departmental standards and procedures for the employment of temporary H-2A agricultural workers in herding or production of livestock on the range occupations. To access the Handbook directly please click here.

Dec
17

December 17, 2015. H-2B IFR FAQs

The Department of Labor has published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to Prevailing Wage Determinations and Emergency Filings under the 2015 H-2B Interim Final Rule. The FAQs are posted as Round 13 on the H-2B page. To directly access the new FAQs, please click here.

Dec
14

December 14, 2015. H-2B Forms Update

All of the forms for the H-2B program, except the employer provided survey attestations (Form ETA-9165), have been extended for three years until December 31, 2018. The Form ETA-9165 is still being extended in monthly increments until receipt of a three year extension. However, if employers have already filled out and signed the forms with an expiration date of 12/31/2015 in anticipation of filing them in the first weeks of January, the Department will accept forms with the expiration date of 12/31/2015 through January 31, 2016. Also, as a reminder, the Form ETA-9155 and the registration process are not operational at this time. OFLC will announce the implementation of the registration process in the Federal Register and on this website.

Dec
11

December 11, 2015. H-2B IFR FAQs

The Department of Labor has published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to Emergency Filings and Post Certification Amendments under the 2015 H-2B Interim Final Rule. The FAQs are posted as Round 12 on the H-2B page. To directly access the new FAQs, please click here.

Dec
8

December 8, 2015. H-2B IFR FAQs and Job Order Checklist

The Department of Labor has published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to Job Order Content, Recruitment and Amendments under the 2015 H-2B Interim Final Rule. The FAQs are posted as Round 11 on the H-2B page. To directly access the new FAQs, please click here.

The Department also published a Job Order Checklist to help employers ensure they include required disclosures in their H-2B job orders. To read the job order checklist, please click here.

Nov
30

November 30, 2015. H-2A Productivity Standards FAQs

The Department of Labor published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on October 30, 2015 on productivity standards for the H-2A program. The FAQs are posted as Round 9: October 2015 on the H-2A program page. To directly access the new FAQs, please click here.

Nov
19

November 19, 2015. USDA Release of 2015 Farm Labor Survey

On November 19, 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the Farm Labor Survey (FLS) report in which it established the average annual wage rates, by region and the United States, for field and livestock workers. The Department of Labor (Department) relies on the average annual combined hourly wage for field and livestock workers in order to establish the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) in the H-2A program. The AEWRs are the minimum hourly wage rates the Department has determined must be offered and paid by employers to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment, so that the wages of workers similarly employed in the United States will not be adversely affected.

The Department is reviewing the USDA FLS average annual wage rates for 2015 and will soon publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing new Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) for each state at which time the rates will become immediately effective. To obtain more information on NASS surveys and reports, please call the NASS Agricultural Statistics Hotline at (800) 727-9540, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, or e-mail: nass@nass.usda.gov. To obtain a copy of the latest USDA FLS report, please click here.

Nov
19

November 19, 2015. Change of Address for the Office of Foreign Labor Certification National Office.

The Department of Labor (Department) is providing notice that the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) National Office currently located in the Frances Perkins Building at 200 Constitution Ave., NW is relocating within Washington, DC effective on Monday, November 23, 2015. The address for OFLC's new location is:

U.S. Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
Office of Foreign Labor Certification
375 E Street, SW
Patriot Plaza II, Suite 12-200
Washington, DC 20024
Telephone: (202) 513-7350

However, mail for the OFLC National Office should continue to be sent to the Frances B. Perkins building at:

Office of Foreign labor Certification
Employment and Training Administration
Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Box# 12-200
Washington DC 20210

A daily courier service will deliver mail to the new location.

Nov
17

November 17, 2015. New 2016 Herder H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs)

On November 16, 2015, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor (Department) is issuing this notice to announce the new Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for the employment of temporary or seasonal nonimmigrant foreign workers (H-2A workers) to perform herding or production of livestock on the range. AEWRs are the minimum wage rates the Department has determined must be offered and paid by employers to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment so that the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers will not be adversely affected. To read the Federal Register notice please click here.

Oct
30

October 30, 2015. H-2B Forms Extended.

The forms for the H-2B program have been extended temporarily until November 30, 2015 while OFLC awaits approval of its request for a three year extension under review with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OFLC will continue to extend the forms in one month increments until approved by OMB. A second comment period, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act, ends November 30, 2015. For complete details see the Federal Register notice for OMB control number 1205-0509 here and 1205-0516 here.

Oct
29

October 29, 2015. H-2A Final Rule: Range Herding or Production of Livestock in the United States

The Department will host two public webinars to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on the changes to the Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Foreign Workers in the Range Herding or Production of Livestock in the United States made by the 2015 H-2A Herder Final Rule, which published on October 16, 2015 with an effective date of November 16, 2015. The Final Rule may be found here.

The webinar briefings are scheduled for November 10, 2015 and November 17, 2015. Each webinar will be from 2:00 PM until 3:30 PM Eastern time. There is no pre-registration for the public webinar. The webinar will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis on the each webinar day. Please read the instructions for accessing the Department's webinars for the 2015 H-2A Herder Final Rule here.

Oct
29

October 29, 2015. H-2A Herder Rule FAQs

The Department of Labor is making available Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that address job order and application filing, processing, and wage rate under the new regulation governing the Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Foreign Workers in the Herding or Production of Livestock on the Range in the United States (H-2A Herder Final Rule). This rule will be effective on November 16, 2015. To read the new FAQs, please click here. To read a short description of the H-2A Herder Rule and FAQs addressing implementation and major provisions of the H-2A Herder Rule, please click here.

Oct
21

October 21, 2015

FY 2015 Q4 Cumulative Disclosure Data The OFLC PERM, H-2A, H-2B, Prevailing Wage, and H-1B program disclosure data files for Quarter 4 of FY 2015 are now available. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

Oct
21

October 21, 2015

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated program factsheets containing the FY 2015 Quarter 4 Selected Statistics for the Permanent Labor Certification Program, Prevailing Wage Determination Program, H-1B Temporary Visa Program, H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program, and H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program. Reports are derived from program data as of 9/30/2015.The updated program factsheets may also be found on OFLC's Performance Data page.

Oct
16

October 16, 2015

On October 16, 2015, the Department of Labor (Department) published a new regulation governing the Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Foreign Workers in the Herding or Production of Livestock on the Range (H-2A Herder Final Rule) in the United States. This Final Rule amends the current regulations governing the labor certification process and standards to cover H-2A foreign workers in herder occupations, codified at 20 CFR part 655, and enforcement of employer obligations under the H-2A program. In the coming weeks, the Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification will publish additional technical implementation materials on its website for the new H-2A Herder Final Rule and will alert stakeholders as those materials becomes available. To read the full text of the Final Rule, please click here. This rule will be effective on November 16, 2015.

To read a short description of the Final Rule and FAQs regarding the Final Rule, please click here.

Oct
13

October 13, 2015

On October 13, 2015, the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) placed on public inspection the Final Rule, Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Foreign Workers in the Herding or Production of Livestock on the Range in the United States. The OFR made minor technical edits to the Final Rule posted on our website earlier the same day, but the substance of the Final Rule remains the same. Only the version published in the Federal Register is the official regulation. To view the Final Rule on the OFR's public inspection site, please click here.

Oct
13

October 13, 2015

On October 13, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the H-2A Herder Final Rule regarding the employment of foreign workers in jobs related to the herding of livestock on the range, including the herding of sheep and goats. To read the News Release regarding this regulation, click here.

Oct
2

October 2, 2015

The following public data has been updated due to data defects. Duplicated & voided cases removed; missing records restored in the following:

  • H-1B - FY 2010
  • H-2A - FY 2008, 2009, 2010
  • H-2B - FY 2008, 2009

Sep
22

September 22, 2015

The H-1B program disclosure data file has been updated to include records through June 30, 2015 for Quarter 3 of FY 2015. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

Sep
16

September 16, 2015. H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule Webinar Recording.

The recording of the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule webinar briefing, hosted on August 21, 2015, has been posted under the Prevailing Wage Information section on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule web page. To access the page, please click here. To access the recording directly, please click here.

Sep
14

September 14, 2015. Submission of some PERM Applications.

On Tuesday, September 1, 2015, the Department implemented software updates to the Permanent Labor Certification Case Management System (CMS). An unexpected programming glitch occurred which impacted a small number of applications and resulted in the prohibition of certain information being entered onto the ETA Form 9089. The Department is working to correct this issue.

Until the revisions become operational, an employer who cannot complete and file an ETA Form 9089 online should mail in their application to the Atlanta National Processing Center at the following address:

U.S. Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
Office of Foreign Labor Certification
Atlanta National Processing Center
Harris Tower, Suite 410
233 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Employers, who attempted to submit an online application between Tuesday, September 1, 2015, and Friday, September 11, 2015, only, are authorized to provide documentation establishing that information in their ETA Form 9089 was impacted.

If you elect to provide documentation with the ETA Form 9089, please include a cover page containing the words "September 2015, CMS Technical Issue" in the center of the page in large letters. All documentation in response to this letter must be submitted by September 30, 2015, to the following:

U.S. Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
Office of Foreign Labor Certification
Attn: CMS Technical Issue Team
Atlanta National Processing Center
Harris Tower, Suite 410
233 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Sep
1

September 1, 2015. H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule Webinar Presentation.

The presentation for the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule webinar briefing, hosted on August 21, 2015 has been posted under the Prevailing Wage Information section on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule web page. To access the page, please click here. To access the presentation directly, please click here.

AUG
26

August 26, 2015. iCERT System E-mails Regarding the H-2B Prevailing Wage Determination Appeal Request Process.

Due to delays in updating the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's iCERT System, Prevailing Wage Determination Module, employers are currently receiving automatic e-mails with the previous regulatory requirements regarding the appeal request process for H-2B prevailing wage determinations (PWDs). While we are working to update the iCERT System, in the interim, employers of H-2B PWDs will receive a secondary e-mail with the appropriate appeal request process in accordance with the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule, effective April 29, 2015. Specifically, the secondary e-mail will indicate employers may submit a request for Center Director Review within 7 days of the issuance of the PWD in accordance with the Department's regulations at 20 CFR § 655.13(a); or submit a new ETA Form 9141, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination.

AUG
13

August 13, 2015. H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule Webinar.

The Department will host a public webinar to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on the changes to the H-2B program made by the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule, in effect as of April 29, 2015. The webinar briefing is scheduled for August 21, 2015, from 1:00 PM until 2:30 PM Eastern Daylight time. There is no pre-registration for the public webinar. The webinar will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis on the date specified. Please read the instructions for accessing the Department's H-2B Final Wage Rule public webinar here.

AUG
4

August 4, 2015.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted new and updated Labor Condition Application (LCA/ ETA Form 9035/9035E) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 programs. The new FAQs may be found here.

JUL
31

July 31, 2015.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Change in signature on approved labor certification applications.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) today has implemented a change in the official signature on approved labor certification applications. Specifically, OFLC determinations to grant permanent and temporary labor certification will no longer display the electronic signature of the OFLC Acting Administrator, William W. Thompson, II. Beginning July 31, 2015, the electronic signature on approved applications under the permanent (ETA Forms 9089, 750) and temporary (ETA Forms 9035E, 9142A, 9142B, 9033) visa programs will be shown as "Certifying Officer."

This change demonstrates increased transparency and more accurately reflects the operational decision making process across the organization. The OFLC has consulted with the Department of Homeland Security's United State Citizenship and Immigration Services on this change for purposes of accepting employer-filed I-129 and I-140 petitions.

JUL
22

July 22, 2015.
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated program factsheets containing the FY 2015 Quarter 3 Selected Statistics for the Permanent Labor Certification Program, Prevailing Wage Determination Program, H-1B Temporary Visa Program, H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program, and H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program. Reports are derived from program data as of 6/30/2015.The updated program factsheets may also be found on OFLC's Performance Data page.

JUL
21

July 21, 2015. H-2B 2015 IFR FAQs: Integrity Measures.
The Department of Labor is making available Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that address post certification program integrity measures under the H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule. To read the FAQs click here or visit the H-2B Program Page.

JUL
17

July 17, 2015. Processing of H-2B Labor Certifications Granted under the 2008 Final Rule.
The Department of Labor has posted an update regarding the processing of H-2B labor certifications granted under the 2008 Final Rule. To read the update, please visit the H-2B Program Page.

JUL
17

July 17, 2015. ETA-9142B and ETA-9165 Extension Requests.
The Department has published two notices in the Federal Register announcing 60-day comment periods on its forms used in the H-2B program, which include the Form ETA-9142B, Application for Temporary Employment Certification, Appendix B, and the new Form ETA-9165, Employer-Provided Survey Attestations to Accompany H-2B Prevailing Wage Determination Request Based on a Non-OES Survey. To read the notices, please click here for the ETA-9142B and here for the ETA-9165. To obtain a copy of the forms and the supporting documentation please submit your request to ETA.OFLC.Forms@dol.gov, subject line: Form ETA-9142B or Form ETA-9165. The forms were approved by the Office of Management and Budget in conjunction with the H-2B rulemaking under the emergency procedures of the Paperwork Reduction Act. The Department now seeks to extend the forms for three years.

JUL
15

July 15, 2015. H-2B 2015 IFR FAQs: Appeals and Seafood Industry Staggered Crossings.
The Department of Labor is making available additional 2015 Interim Final Rule Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 1. Appeal Procedures and 2. Staggered Crossing of H-2B Nonimmigrants Working in the Seafood Industry. The FAQs may also be found on the H-2B Program page under the "Frequently Asked Questions" dropdown menu.

JUL
15

July 15, 2015.

July 15, 2015. FY 2015 Q3 Cumulative Disclosure Data The OFLC PERM, H-2A, H-2B, Prevailing Wage, and H-1B program disclosure data files for Quarter 3 of FY 2015 are now available. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

JUL
9

July 9, 2015.

The H-2B RFI mailbox at the Chicago National Processing Center (RFI.H2B.Chicago@dol.gov) will cease to be monitored July 13, 2015, and will no longer accept messages starting September 30, 2015. All stakeholders should use TLC.Chicago@dol.gov for all communications concerning the H-2A and H-2B Temporary Labor Certification programs.

JUL
8

July 8, 2015.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has updated the following H-2B forms: 1) Form 9142B - General Instructions; 2) Appendix B; 3) Form 9142B, Job Contractor Requirements under the 2015 H-2B Interim Final Rule. To access the forms, please click here.

JUN
9
June 9, 2015. H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule Webinar Resources.

On May 27, 2015, the Department of Labor hosted a public webinar to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on the changes to the H-2B program made by the H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule, which became effective on April 29, 2015. To learn more, you may now access the webinar recording and presentation slides on the H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule Page, under Additional Resources here.

JUN
1
June 1, 2015. H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule Webinar Recording.

The recording of the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule webinar briefing, hosted on May 15, 2015, has been posted under the Prevailing Wage Information section on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule web page. To access the page, please click here. To access the recording directly, please click here.

MAY
22
May 22, 2015.

On April 15, 2015, the Department of Labor (Department) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Foreign Workers in the Herding or Production of Livestock on the Open Range in the United States (NPRM) (80 FR 20300). The NPRM provided for the submission of public comments through May 15, 2015. In response to public requests to extend the comment period, the Department published a subsequent notice in the Federal Register to extend the comment period by 15 days, through June 1, 2015 (80 FR 25633). After the publication of the notice announcing the extension, the Department received additional requests to extend the comment period. However, the Department is required by court order to publish a final rule no later than November 1, 2015, Mendoza v. Perez, No. 11-1790 (D.D.C Oct. 31, 2014), and any further extension of the comment period would significantly impair our ability to meet this court-ordered deadline. As a result, we have not further extended the comment period beyond June 1, 2015.

MAY
20
May 20, 2015. Announcing the H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule Webinar.

On May 27, 2015 at 2pm Eastern Daylight Time, the Department of Labor will host a public webinar to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on the changes to the H-2B program made by the H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule, which became effective on April 29, 2015. Please note that this webinar is limited to 300 participants and will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more, including how to access the Department's H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule public webinar, please click here.

MAY
18
May 18, 2015. H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule Webinar Recording.

The recording of the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule webinar briefing, hosted on May 13, 2015, has been posted under the Prevailing Wage Information section on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule web page. To access the page, please click here. To access the recording directly, please click here.

MAY
14
May 14, 2015. H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule Webinar Presentation.

The presentation for the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule webinar briefings, hosted on May 13, 2015 and May 15, 2015, has been posted under the Prevailing Wage Information section on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule web page. To access the page, please click here. To access the presentation directly, please click here.

MAY
7
May 7, 2015. H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule Webinar.

The Department will host two public webinars to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on the changes to the H-2B program made by the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule, in effect as of April 29, 2015. The webinar briefings are scheduled for May 13, 2015 and May 15, 2015, from 1:00 PM until 2:30 PM Eastern Daylight time. There is no pre-registration for the public webinars. Each will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis on the dates specified. Please read the instructions for accessing the Department's H-2B Final Wage Rule public webinars here.

MAY
5
May 5, 2015. DOL Extends the Comment Period for the H-2A Open Range Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to and including June 1,2015.

On April 15, 2015, the Department of Labor (Department) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Foreign Workers in the Herding or Production of Livestock on the Open Range in the United States (H-2A Open Range NPRM), 80 FR 20300 (Apr. 15, 2015). The Notice provided for the submission of public comments through May 15, 2015. In order to provide the public with additional time to submit comments, the Department published a subsequent notice in the Federal Register to extend this comment period. To read the notice extending the comment period by 15 days, to and including June 1, 2015, please click here.

MAY
1
May 1, 2015. H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule Web Page.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has created a dedicated web page for the H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule to provide assistance to stakeholders. The web page contains program details with links to Frequently Asked Questions, the iCERT System for electronic filing, the Forms page and more. To access the page, please click here.

APR
29
April 29, 2015. New H-2B Program Regulations.

On April 29, 2015, the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security jointly published new regulations governing the H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Labor Certification Program. The new regulations are effective immediately.

  • The Department of Labor's news release discussing the two regulations may be accessed here.
  • To read the Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment of H-2B Aliens in the United States, Interim Final Rule and learn how to submit comments during the 60-day open comment period, please click here.
  • To read the Wage Methodology for the Temporary Non-Agricultural employment H-2B Program, Final Rule please click here.
  • For compliance assistance with H-2B program obligations, you may access the Department's Wage and Hour Division Web site here.
  • In addition, the Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification will soon launch a dedicated technical implementation Web page for the new H-2B regulations and will alert stakeholders when it becomes available.

APR
24
April 24, 2015

In an effort to increase the transparency of foreign labor certification application processing, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification has expanded the data fields displayed in the PERM, H-1B, H-2A and H-2B Disclosure Data. The 2nd quarter disclosure data now includes additional information that better coincides with the majority of data fields displayed located on the Labor Certification Registry. A power point presentation has been posted here to provide details of the additional fields included in the new tables.

APR
16
April 16, 2015: H-2B Processing Continuing

On April 15, 2015, the federal district court for the Northern District of Florida issued a further order in Perez v. Perez, No 3:14-cv-682 (N.D. Fla., March 4, 2015) that permits DOL to continue its processing of H-2B applications and requests for prevailing wages through May 15, 2015 unless otherwise lifted by the court. Therefore, DOL is continuing to process H-2B applications and requests for prevailing wage.

APR
16
April 16, 2015: DOL H-2B Processing Stops Again

Under the court order issued March 18, 2015, by the federal district court in Perez v. Perez, No. 3:14-cv-682 (N.D. Florida), DOL was permitted to temporarily resume processing H-2B requests for prevailing wages and applications for labor certification under the 2008 H-2B rule through April 15, 2015. The court's order permitted only a temporary resumption, and now requires DOL once again to cease accepting or processing requests for prevailing wage determinations or applications for labor certification in the H-2B program. Effective April 16, 2015, DOL has ceased accepting or processing H-2B prevailing wage determinations and applications for H-2B temporary non-agricultural labor certification under the 2008 rule. DOL and DHS are moving as quickly as possible to issue new joint regulations that will enable DOL to resume processing H-2B applications and requests for prevailing wage determinations.

APR
15
April 15, 2015.

On April 15, 2015, the Department published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Foreign Workers in the Herding or Production of Livestock on the Open Range in the United States (H-2A Open Range NPRM). 80 FR 20300 (Apr. 15, 2015). The Department invites public comments on the H-2A Open Range NPRM during the 30-day comment period ending on May 15, 2015. To read the H-2A Open Range NPRM and learn how to submit comments, please click here.

APR
14
April 14, 2015.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated program factsheets containing the Quarter 2 FY 2015 selected statistics for the Permanent Labor Certification Program, Prevailing Wage Determination Program, H-1B Temporary Visa Program, H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program, and H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program. Reports are derived from program data as of 3/30/2015.The updated program factsheets may also be found on OFLC's Performance Data page.

MAR
20
March 20, 2015. FAQs regarding Temporary Stay of the Court's Vacatur of 2008 Final Rule

The Department of Labor is making available Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding its implementation of the Northern District of Florida's March 18, 2015 decision to temporarily stay its earlier judgment in Perez v. Perez, No. 3:14-cv-682 (N.D. Florida, Mar. 4, 2015). As a result of this stay, the Department has temporarily resumed processing of requests for H-2B prevailing wage determinations and applications for H-2B temporary non-agricultural labor certification until April 15, 2015. The FAQs can be accessed here.

MAR
18
March 18, 2015. Prohibition of DOL H-2B Processing Temporarily Lifted

On March 18, 2015, the federal district court in the Northern District of Florida issued an order effectively permitting DOL to restart its processing of H-2B applications under the 2008 rule immediately and to continue processing applications under that rule through April 15, 2015. Effective immediately, DOL will begin processing H-2B applications under the 2008 rule and will continue to do so through April 15th. Under the terms of the court's March 18th order, any application for certification or prevailing wage determination that has not completed DOL processing by the time the stay ends as of April 16, 2015 may no longer be processed under the 2008 H-2B rule.

MAR
16
March 16, 2015. Joint Statement from DOL and DHS on Next Steps for the H-2B Program

On March 4, 2015, the federal district court in the Northern District of Florida vacated the Department of Labor's (DOL) 2008 H-2B regulations on the ground that DOL lacks authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to issue regulations in the H-2B program. Perez v. Perez, No. 3:14-cv-682 (N.D. Fla., Mar. 4, 2015). Because this decision vacated the rule and permanently enjoined DOL from enforcing it, DOL was forced to immediately discontinue the processing of applications for temporary labor certification in the H-2B program.

To rectify the regulatory gap that the vacatur has caused, DOL and DHS are working expeditiously to issue a joint Interim Final Rule (IFR). It is the two Departments' intention to promulgate this rule by April 30, 2015. In addition, DOL will seek to determine whether relief from the Court's decision may be obtained such that processing can continue during the period of time before an IFR is promulgated.

DOL and DHS recognize the hardship that has resulted from the Court's decision. That is why the Departments are moving as quickly as possible to issue new regulations that would be consistent with the decision. In so doing, the Departments must be mindful of other court decisions that have invalidated past subregulatory actions in the H-2B and related programs, including the issuance of guidance in the absence of rulemaking.

MAR
4
March 4, 2015.

On March 4, 2015, the federal district court in the Northern District of Florida vacated the Department of Labor‘s (DOL) 2008 H-2B regulations on the ground that DOL lacks authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to issue regulations in the H-2B program. Perez v. Perez, No. 3:14-cv-682 (N.D. Florida, Mar. 4, 2015). Because of this decision, effective immediately, DOL can no longer accept or process requests for prevailing wage determinations or applications for labor certification in the H-2B program. DOL is considering its options in light of the court‘s decision.

MAR
2
March 2, 2015. FAQs regarding CATA v. Perez and employer-provided surveys in the H-2B program

The Department is making available Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding its implementation of the court's decision in Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA) v. Perez, 774 F.3d 173, 191 (3d Cir. 2014). Following the court's decision, the Department ceased issuing prevailing wage determinations in the H-2B program based on employer-provided wage surveys. In addition, the Department can no longer issue H-2B temporary employment certifications based on employer-provided wage surveys. The FAQs may be accessed here.

FEB
23
February 23, 2015. Federal Register Notice Announcing the 2015 Allowable Charges for Agricultural Workers' Meals and Travel Subsistence Reimbursement, Including Lodging for the H-2A Program.

The Department of Labor has published a Notice in the Federal Register to announce the allowable charges for 2015 that employers seeking H-2A workers may charge their workers when the employer provides three meals a day, and the maximum travel subsistence meal reimbursement that a worker with receipts may claim in 2015. The Notice also includes a reminder regarding employers' obligations with respect to overnight lodging costs as part of required subsistence for the H-2A program. To read the Notice, please click here.

FEB
2
February 2, 2015. The Department has released its Foreign Labor Certification Annual Report for FY 2013.

The 2013 Annual Report presents information on the Prevailing Wage Determination Process, Permanent Labor Certification, and Temporary Nonimmigrant Labor Certification for FY 2013. The report also contains State Employment-Based Labor Certification Profiles and top Country Employment-Based Immigration Profiles. Click here to view the 2013 Annual Report.

Jan
28
January 27, 2015. Additional Guidance regarding CATA v. Perez and Employers' H-2B Temporary Employment Certifications That Are Based on Employer-Provided Surveys.

On Dec. 23, 2014, the Department announced procedures to implement the Court's decision in Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas et al v. Perez, No. 14-3557 (3rd Cir.Dec. 5, 2014), which were applicable to (1) employers with pending prevailing wage requests based on an employer-provided survey and (2) employers who had received a prevailing wage determination based on an employer-provided survey but whose H-2B application had not yet been certified. In the latter case, the Department is issuing supplemental prevailing wage determinations (SPWDs) based on the OES mean. For employers who already received an H-2B temporary labor certification based on an employer-provided survey as of the date of the issuance of the Court's order on December 5, 2014, the Department will hold in abeyance the issuance of any SPWDs pending the conclusion of the adjudicatory proceeding initiated by the Secretary of Labor's Notice of Intent to Issue a Declaratory Order, 79 Fed. Reg. 75179 (Dec. 17, 2014).

Jan
22
January 22, 2015. FY 2015 Q1 Cumulative Disclosure Data

The OFLC PERM, H-2A, H-2B, Prevailing Wage, and H-1B program disclosure data files for Quarter 1 of FY 2015 are now available. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts.

Jan
16
January 16, 2015. DOL has Extended the Comment Period for the H-2B Notice of Intent to Issue Declaratory Order.

On December 17, 2014, the Department of Labor (Department) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent to Issue Declaratory Order, Request for Comment, 79 Fed. Reg. 75179 (Notice). The Notice provided for the submission of public comments through January 16, 2015. On January 16, 2015 the Department published in the Federal Register a subsequent notice extending this comment period by 15 days, until February 2, 2015 in order to provide the public with additional time to submit comments. To read the notice extending the comment period, please click here. To read the Notice and learn how to submit comments, please click here.

Jan
16
January 16, 2015. The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) Implements Search FAQs feature on Frequently Asked Questions and Answers page.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has updated the FAQ page of its official website with a new keyword search function, Search FAQs. Users may now search the FAQ page by using a single keyword or exact phrase to identify items in the FAQ database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user. A Tip sheet has been developed to assist with use of the Search FAQs tool. To access the FAQs page and Search FAQs Tip Sheet, click here.

Jan
13
DOL is Extending the Comment Period for the H-2B Notice of Intent to Issue Declaratory Order.

On December 17, 2014, the Department of Labor (Department) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent to Issue Declaratory Order, Request for Comment, 79 Fed. Reg. 75179 (Notice). The Notice provided for the submission of public comments through January 16, 2015. The Department will publish in the Federal Register a notice extending this comment period by 15 days, until February 2, 2015 in order to provide the public with additional time to submit comments. To read the Notice and learn how to submit comments, please click here.

Jan
8
Permanent Labor Certification Program: Listening Session.

On Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 from 4:30pm until 5:30pm EST, the Department of Labor (Department) will host a stakeholder listening session regarding the Permanent Labor Certification Program (PERM) via conference call. The session will be led by the Department's Deputy Chief of Staff, Seema Nanda and the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, Portia Wu.

The Department is interested in beginning a dialogue and receiving feedback from you regarding the PERM program's role in employment-based immigration, its current regulatory framework and any general areas of concern to the stakeholder community. To learn more, please read the Department's factsheet.

To participate in the listening session please RSVP no later than January 19th by clicking on the following link http://webapps.dol.gov/DOLEvents/Event/View/347/PERM-Public-Listening-Session and completing the registration form for the individual who will represent your organization.

Once an RSVP is received, your organization's representative will receive a confirmation e-mail with additional details.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Department's Office of Public Engagement at PublicEngagement@dol.gov.

We look forward to engaging with you on this important issue.

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