The Department of Labor (DOL), in a Federal Register posted today, is requesting comments on a proposed rule to amend its regulations governing H-2A workers. Comments received on or before Oct. 5, 2009, will be considered.
The DOL is proposing to amend the regulations governing the certification of temporary employment of non-immigrant workers in temporary or seasonal agricultural employment and the enforcement of the contractual obligations applicable to employers of non-immigrant workers.
This proposed rule re-examines the process by which employers obtain a temporary labor certification from the department for use in petitioning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to employ a non-immigrant worker in an H-2A status. The DOL also is proposing to amend the regulations to provide for enforcement under the H-2A program so that workers are appropriately protected when employers fail to meet the requirements of the H-2A program.
The Associated Press (AP) stated, "The DOL is trying again to roll back Bush administration regulations that made it easier for farmers to hire temporary foreign farm workers. The agency on Thursday said it is proposing new rules that would boost wages and increase safeguards for thousands of seasonal workers. It would also require that growers make greater efforts to fill those jobs with American workers."
According to the American Sheep Industry Association Executive Director Peter Orwick, "Controversial and costly changes to the H-2A sheepherder program were implemented by the DHS so, unfortunately, these DOL rules do not provide relief for those sheep industry issues."
The Federal Register can be read in its entirety at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-21017.htm.