Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

DOL, DHS Publish Interim Final Rule on H-2B Prevailing Wage Methodology; DOL, USCIS Resume Processing

On April 24, 2013, the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security published a joint interim final rule on wage methodology for the temporary non-agricultural employment H-2B program. The rule revises the prevailing wage methodology used by the DOL to calculate certain prevailing wages paid to H-2B workers and U.S. workers recruited in connection with an H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

The interim final rule was published in response to a court order issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on March 21, 2013, in Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas et al v. Solis, 09-cv-00240 (E.D. Pa). The court order vacated a portion of the 2008 wage methodology rule dealing with the way the DOL determines the prevailing wage when relying on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, and provided the Department of Labor with 30 days to come into compliance. On April 24, 2013, the effective date of the interim final rule, the DOL also resumed processing both pending H-2B prevailing wage requests and H-2B applications for temporary labor certification based on the OES wage survey data, in accordance with standards set in the interim final rule.

USCIS also has resumed processing of all Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) H-2B petitions for temporary nonagricultural workers. On March 22, 2013, USCIS temporarily suspended adjudication of most I-129 H-2B petitions while the government considered appropriate action in response to the court order.

The DOL released frequently asked questions (FAQs) to assist filers in complying with the requirements of the interim final rule. The FAQs address the applicability of the new prevailing wage methodology, employer wage obligations, requests for review, and processing pending H-2B prevailing wage requests and H-2B applications for temporary labor certification. The FAQs were updated on April 25, 2013 (PDF).

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Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.