The Department of Labor on Thursday published specific procedures to be used in reporting worker abandonment or termination for cause for H-2A workers. The notice became effective on the same day.
The H-2A worker visa program enables farmers and ranchers to employ foreign workers on a temporary basis. Occasionally, H-2A workers abandon their employment or are terminated for cause before the contract expires.
A 2010 Final Rule provided that an employer will not be responsible for transportation, subsistence expenses and/or the three-fourths guarantee related to H-2A worker when the worker abandons employment or is terminated for cause before the end date of the contract if the employer notifies the Office of Foreign Labor Certification National Processing Center (NPC) and, in the case of an H-2A worker, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the abandonment or termination.
The employer must notify NPC and DHS in writing by e-mail, fax or U.S. mail within two working days after the abandonment or termination. Abandonment begins when an H-2A worker fails to report for work at the regularly scheduled time for five consecutive work days without the consent of the employer.
To process the notification, NPC and DHS must receive the following information: reason for notification, date of abandonment or termination, name and address of each worker affected, employee's application/certification number and the employer's name, address, telephone number and Federal Employer Identification Number.