Today, the Department of Labor published a final rule in the Federal Register regarding the labor certification process under the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker program. The goal of this final rule is to strengthen protections for both U.S. and foreign workers and to ensure the integrity of the H-2A visa program. This new rule takes effect March 15, 2010.
“This new rule will make it possible for all workers who are working hard on American soil to receive fair pay while at the same time expand opportunities for U.S. workers,” said Hilda L. Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor. “The actions that we have taken through this rulemaking also will enable us to detect and remedy different forms of worker violations.”
This final rule will ensure that U.S. workers engaged in the same occupation and for the same employer as a foreign H-2A worker should not receive a lesser wage than the foreign worker, regardless of the date of hire, according to the Department of Labor. Additionally, it will create a national electronic job registry where job orders will be posted through half of the relevant H-2A contract period. Finally, the final rule creates new safety measures to ensure that employers do not shift recruitment fees, visa fees, border crossing fees and other fees required by the U.S. government to the H-2A worker.