USCIS Proposes Significant Changes to the H-2B Program

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a proposed rule that would significantly change the H-2B program. The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to meet critical workforce needs by hiring foreign workers for short-term jobs when there are no available American workers to fill them.

Among other things, the proposed rule would establish a one-step petition process for U.S. employers seeking H-2B temporary workers and, in most cases, eliminate the need for U.S. employers to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor. In the future, most employers will file a petition directly with the Department of Homeland Security after conducting their recruitment for the U.S. workers. Under these reforms, employers would use an attestation process to affirm that they have made every required effort to recruit American workers first.

Department of Labor’s role would change to a new post-approval audit function in which the DOL would confirm the validity of an employer’s H-2B petition in the case of an audit. The DOL would have the authority to debar a company from filing H-2B petitions with the DHS for up to three years if the employer is found to have misrepresented a material fact in their H-2B petition.

The issuance of these proposed regulations does not change the statutory cap of 66,000 H-2B non-immigrant visas which are available each fiscal year. The American Horse Council supports these changes to the H-2B program and will continue to work towards their implementation.

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