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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 13, 2020

Title 20Chapter V → Part 655


Title 20: Employees' Benefits


PART 655—TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGN WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES


Contents
§655.0   Scope and purpose of part.
§655.00   Authority of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) Administrator under subparts A, B, and C.

Subpart A—Labor Certification Process for Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment in the United States (H-2B Workers)

§655.1   Scope and purpose of this subpart.
§655.2   Authority of the agencies, offices, and divisions in the Department of Labor.
§655.3   Territory of Guam.
§655.4   Transition procedures.
§655.5   Definition of terms.
§655.6   Temporary need.
§655.7   Persons and entities authorized to file.
§655.8   Requirements for agents.
§655.9   Disclosure of foreign worker recruitment.

Prefiling Procedures

§655.10   Determination of prevailing wage for temporary labor certification purposes.
§655.11   Registration of H-2B employers.
§655.12   Use of registration of H-2B employers.
§655.13   Review of PWDs.
§655.14   [Reserved]

Application for Temporary Employment Certification Filing Procedures

§655.15   Application filing requirements.
§655.16   Filing of the job order at the SWA.
§655.17   Emergency situations.
§655.18   Job order assurances and contents.
§655.19   Job contractor filing requirements.

Assurances and Obligations

§655.20   Assurances and obligations of H-2B employers.
§§655.21-655.29   [Reserved]

Processing of an Application for Temporary Employment Certification

§655.30   Processing of an application and job order.
§655.31   Notice of deficiency.
§655.32   Submission of a modified application or job order.
§655.33   Notice of acceptance.
§655.34   Electronic job registry.
§655.35   Amendments to an application or job order.
§§655.36-655.39   [Reserved]

Post-Acceptance Requirements

§655.40   Employer-conducted recruitment.
§655.41   Advertising requirements.
§655.42   [Reserved]
§655.43   Contact with former U.S. employees.
§655.44   [Reserved]
§655.45   Contact with bargaining representative, posting and other contact requirements.
§655.46   Additional employer-conducted recruitment.
§655.47   Referrals of U.S. workers.
§655.48   Recruitment report.
§655.49   [Reserved]

Labor Certification Determinations

§655.50   Determinations.
§655.51   Criteria for certification.
§655.52   Approved certification.
§655.53   Denied certification.
§655.54   Partial certification.
§655.55   Validity of temporary labor certification.
§655.56   Document retention requirements of H-2B employers.
§655.57   Request for determination based on nonavailability of U.S. workers.
§§655.58-655.59   [Reserved]

Post Certification Activities

§655.60   Extensions.
§655.61   Administrative review.
§655.62   Withdrawal of an Application for Temporary Employment Certification.
§655.63   Public disclosure.
§655.65   Special Document Retention Provisions for Fiscal Years 2017 through 2020 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act.
§655.66   Special document retention provisions for Fiscal Years 2018 through 2021 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Public Law 115-141.
§655.67   Special document retention provisions for Fiscal Years 2019 through 2022 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019.
§655.68-655.69   [Reserved]

Integrity Measures

§655.70   Audits.
§655.71   CO-ordered assisted recruitment.
§655.72   Revocation.
§655.73   Debarment.
§§655.74-655.76   [Reserved]
§§655.80-655.99   [Reserved]

Subpart B—Labor Certification Process for Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States (H-2A Workers)

§655.100   Scope and purpose of subpart B.
§655.101   Authority of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) Administrator.
§655.102   Special procedures.
§655.103   Overview of this subpart and definition of terms.

Prefiling Procedures

§655.120   Offered wage rate.
§655.121   Job orders.
§655.122   Contents of job offers.

Application for Temporary Employment Certification Filing Procedures

§655.130   Application filing requirements.
§655.131   Association filing requirements.
§655.132   H-2A labor contractor (H-2ALC) filing requirements.
§655.133   Requirements for agents.
§655.134   Emergency situations.
§655.135   Assurances and obligations of H-2A employers.

Processing of Applications for Temporary Employment Certification

§655.140   Review of applications.
§655.141   Notice of deficiency.
§655.142   Submission of modified applications.
§655.143   Notice of acceptance.
§655.144   Electronic job registry.
§655.145   Amendments to applications for temporary employment certification.

Post-Acceptance Requirements

§655.150   Interstate clearance of job order.
§§655.151-655.152   [Reserved]
§655.153   Contact with former U.S. employees.
§655.154   Additional positive recruitment.
§655.155   Referrals of U.S. workers.
§655.156   Recruitment report.
§655.157   Withholding of U.S. workers prohibited.
§655.158   Duration of positive recruitment.

Labor Certification Determinations

§655.160   Determinations.
§655.161   Criteria for certification.
§655.162   Approved certification.
§655.163   Certification fee.
§655.164   Denied certification.
§655.165   Partial certification.
§655.166   Requests for determinations based on nonavailability of U.S. workers.
§655.167   Document retention requirements.

Post Certification

§655.170   Extensions.
§655.171   Appeals.
§655.172   Withdrawal of job order and application for temporary employment certification.
§655.173   Setting meal charges; petition for higher meal charges.
§655.174   Public disclosure.

Integrity Measures

§655.180   Audit.
§655.181   Revocation.
§655.182   Debarment.
§655.183   Less than substantial violations.
§655.184   Applications involving fraud or willful misrepresentation.
§655.185   Job service complaint system; enforcement of work contracts.

Labor Certification Process for Temporary Agricultural Employment in Range Sheep Herding, Goat Herding, and Production of Livestock Occupations

§655.200   Scope and purpose of herding and range livestock regulations.
§655.201   Definition of herding and range livestock terms.
§655.205   Herding and range livestock job orders.
§655.210   Contents of herding and range livestock job orders.
§655.211   Herding and range livestock wage rate.
§655.215   Procedures for filing herding and range livestock applications for temporary employment certification.
§655.220   Processing herding and range livestock applications for temporary employment certification.
§655.225   Post-acceptance requirements for herding and range livestock.
§655.230   Range housing.
§655.235   Standards for range housing.

Subparts C-D [Reserved]

Subpart E—Labor Certification Process for Temporary Employment in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CW-1 Workers)

§655.400   Scope and purpose of this subpart.
§655.401   Authority of the agencies, offices, and divisions in the Department of Labor.
§655.402   Definition of terms.
§655.403   Persons and entities authorized to file.
§655.404   Requirements for agents.
§§655.405-655.409   [Reserved]

Prefiling Procedures

§655.410   Offered wage rate and determination of prevailing wage.
§655.411   Review of prevailing wage determinations.
§§655.412-655.419   [Reserved]

CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification Filing Procedures

§655.420   Application filing requirements.
§655.421   Job contractor filing requirements.
§655.422   Emergency situations.
§655.423   Assurances and obligations of CW-1 employers.
§§655.424-655.429   [Reserved]

Processing of an CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification

§655.430   Review of applications.
§655.431   Notice of Deficiency.
§655.432   Submission of modified applications.
§655.433   Notice of Acceptance.
§655.434   Amendments to an application.
§§655.435-655.439   [Reserved]

Post Acceptance Requirements

§655.440   Employer-conducted recruitment.
§655.441   Job offer assurances and advertising contents.
§655.442   Place advertisement with CNMI Department of Labor.
§655.443   Contact with former U.S. workers.
§655.444   Notice of posting requirement.
§655.445   Additional employer-conducted recruitment.
§655.446   Recruitment report.
§§655.447-655.449   [Reserved]

Labor Certification Determinations

§655.450   Determinations.
§655.451   Criteria for temporary labor certification.
§655.452   Approved certification.
§655.453   Denied certification.
§655.454   Partial certification.
§655.455   Validity of temporary labor certification.
§655.456   Document retention requirements for CW-1 employers.
§§655.457-655.459   [Reserved]

Post Certification Activities

§655.460   Extensions.
§655.461   Administrative review.
§655.462   Withdrawal of a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.
§655.463   Public disclosure.
§§655.464-655.469   [Reserved]

Integrity Measures

§655.470   Audits.
§655.471   Assisted recruitment.
§655.472   Revocation.
§655.473   Debarment.
§§655.474-655.499   [Reserved]

Subpart F—Attestations by Employers Using Alien Crewmembers for Longshore Activities in U.S. Ports

General Provisions

§655.500   Purpose, procedure and applicability of subparts F and G of this part.
§655.501   Overview of responsibilities.
§655.502   Definitions.
§655.510   Employer attestations.
§655.520   Special provisions regarding automated vessels.

Alaska Exception

§655.530   Special provisions regarding the performance of longshore activities at locations in the State of Alaska.
§655.531   Who may submit attestations for locations in Alaska?
§655.532   Where and when should attestations be submitted for locations in Alaska?
§655.533   What should be submitted for locations in Alaska?
§655.534   The first attestation element for locations in Alaska: Bona fide request for dispatch of United States longshore workers.
§655.535   The second attestation element for locations in Alaska: Employment of United States longshore workers.
§655.536   The third attestation element for locations in Alaska: No intention or design to influence bargaining representative election.
§655.537   The fourth attestation element for locations in Alaska: Notice of filing.
§655.538   Actions on attestations submitted for filing for locations in Alaska.
§655.539   Effective date and validity of filed attestations for locations in Alaska.
§655.540   Suspension or invalidation of filed attestations for locations in Alaska.
§655.541   Withdrawal of accepted attestations for locations in Alaska.

Public Access

§655.550   Public access.
Appendix A to Subpart F of Part 655—U.S. Seaports

Subpart G—Enforcement of the Limitations Imposed on Employers Using Alien Crewmembers for Longshore Activities in U.S. Ports

§655.600   Enforcement authority of Administrator, Wage and Hour Division.
§655.605   Complaints and investigative procedures.
§655.610   Automated vessel exception to prohibition on utilization of alien crewmember(s) to perform longshore activity(ies) at a U.S. port.
§655.615   Cease and desist order.
§655.620   Civil money penalties and other remedies.
§655.625   Written notice, service and Federal Register publication of Administrator's determination.
§655.630   Request for hearing.
§655.635   Rules of practice for administrative law judge proceedings.
§655.640   Service and computation of time.
§655.645   Administrative law judge proceedings.
§655.650   Decision and order of administrative law judge.
§655.655   Secretary's review of administrative law judge's decision.
§655.660   Administrative record.
§655.665   Notice to the Department of Homeland Security and the Employment and Training Administration.
§655.670   Federal Register notice of determination of prevailing practice.
§655.675   Non-applicability of the Equal Access to Justice Act.

Subpart H—Labor Condition Applications and Requirements for Employers Seeking To Employ Nonimmigrants on H-1b Visas in Specialty Occupations and as Fashion Models, and Requirements for Employers Seeking To Employ Nonimmigrants on H-1b1 and E-3 Visas in Specialty Occupations

§655.700   What statutory provisions govern the employment of H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants and how do employers apply for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visas?
§655.705   What Federal agencies are involved in the H-1B and H-1B1 programs, and what are the responsibilities of those agencies and of employers?
§655.710   What is the procedure for filing a complaint?
§655.715   Definitions.
§655.720   Where are labor condition applications (LCAs) to be filed and processed?
§655.721   [Reserved]
§655.730   What is the process for filing a labor condition application?
§655.731   What is the first LCA requirement, regarding wages?
§655.732   What is the second LCA requirement, regarding working conditions?
§655.733   What is the third LCA requirement, regarding strikes and lockouts?
§655.734   What is the fourth LCA requirement, regarding notice?
§655.735   What are the special provisions for short-term placement of H-1B nonimmigrants at place(s) of employment outside the area(s) of intended employment listed on the LCA?
§655.736   What are H-1B-dependent employers and willful violators?
§655.737   What are “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants, and how does their employment affect the additional attestation obligations of H-1B-dependent employers and willful violator employers?
§655.738   What are the “non-displacement of U.S. workers” obligations that apply to H-1B-dependent employers and willful violators, and how do they operate?
§655.739   What is the “recruitment of U.S. workers” obligation that applies to H-1B-dependent employers and willful violators, and how does it operate?
§655.740   What actions are taken on labor condition applications?
§655.750   What is the validity period of the labor condition application?
§655.760   What records are to be made available to the public, and what records are to be retained?

Subpart I—Enforcement of H-1B Labor Condition Applications and H-1B1 and E-3 Labor Attestations

§655.800   Who will enforce the LCAs and how will they be enforced?
§655.801   What protection do employees have from retaliation?
§655.805   What violations may the Administrator investigate?
§655.806   Who may file a complaint and how is it processed?
§655.807   How may someone who is not an “aggrieved party” allege violations, and how will those allegations be processed?
§655.808   Under what circumstances may random investigations be conducted?
§655.810   What remedies may be ordered if violations are found?
§655.815   What are the requirements for the Administrator's determination?
§655.820   How is a hearing requested?
§655.825   What rules of practice apply to the hearing?
§655.830   What rules apply to service of pleadings?
§655.835   How will the administrative law judge conduct the proceeding?
§655.840   What are the requirements for a decision and order of the administrative law judge?
§655.845   What rules apply to appeal of the decision of the administrative law judge?
§655.850   Who has custody of the administrative record?
§655.855   What notice shall be given to the Employment and Training Administration and the DHS of the decision regarding violations?

Subparts J-K [Reserved]

Subpart L—What Requirements Must a Facility Meet to Employ H-1C Nonimmigrant Workers as Registered Nurses?

§655.1100   What are the purposes, procedures and applicability of these regulations in subparts L and M of this part?
§655.1101   What are the responsibilities of the government agencies and the facilities that participate in the H-1C program?
§655.1102   What are the definitions of terms that are used in these regulations?
§655.1110   What requirements are imposed in the filing of an attestation?
§655.1111   Element I—What hospitals are eligible to participate in the H-1C program?
§655.1112   Element II—What does “no adverse effect on wages and working conditions” mean?
§655.1113   Element III—What does “facility wage rate” mean?
§655.1114   Element IV—What are the timely and significant steps an H-1C employer must take to recruit and retain U.S. nurses?
§655.1115   Element V—What does “no strike/lockout or layoff” mean?
§655.1116   Element VI—What notification must facilities provide to registered nurses?
§655.1117   Element VII—What are the limitations as to the number of H-1C nonimmigrants that a facility may employ?
§655.1118   Element VIII—What are the limitations as to where the H-1C nonimmigrant may be employed?
§655.1130   What criteria does the Department use to determine whether or not to certify an Attestation?
§655.1132   When will the Department suspend or invalidate an approved Attestation?
§655.1135   What appeals procedures are available concerning ETA's actions on a facility's Attestation?
§655.1150   What materials must be available to the public?

Subpart M—What are the Department's enforcement obligations with respect to H-1C Attestations?

§655.1200   What enforcement authority does the Department have with respect to a facility's H-1C Attestations?
§655.1205   What is the Administrator's responsibility with respect to complaints and investigations?
§655.1210   What penalties and other remedies may the Administrator impose?
§655.1215   How are the Administrator's investigation findings issued?
§655.1220   Who can appeal the Administrator's findings and what is the process?
§655.1225   What are the rules of practice before an ALJ?
§655.1230   What time limits are imposed in ALJ proceedings?
§655.1235   What are the ALJ proceedings?
§655.1240   When and how does an ALJ issue a decision?
§655.1245   Who can appeal the ALJ's decision and what is the process?
§655.1250   Who is the official record keeper for these administrative appeals?
§655.1255   What are the procedures for debarment of a facility based on a finding of violation?
§655.1260   Can Equal Access to Justice Act attorney fees be awarded?

Subpart N—Labor Certification Process for Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States (H-2A Workers)

§655.1290   Purpose and scope of subpart B.
§655.1292   Authority of ETA-OFLC.
§655.1293   Special procedures.
§655.1300   Overview of subpart B and definition of terms.
§655.1301   Applications for temporary employment certification in agriculture.
§655.1302   Required pre-filing activity.
§655.1303   Advertising requirements.
§655.1304   Contents of job offers.
§655.1305   Assurances and obligations of H-2A employers.
§655.1306   Assurances and obligations of H-2A Labor Contractors.
§655.1307   Processing of applications.
§655.1308   Offered wage rate.
§655.1309   Labor certification determinations.
§655.1310   Validity and scope of temporary labor certifications.
§655.1311   Required departure.
§655.1312   Audits.
§655.1313   H-2A applications involving fraud or willful misrepresentation.
§655.1314   Setting meal charges; petition for higher meal charges.
§655.1315   Administrative review and de novo hearing before an administrative law judge.
§655.1316   Job Service Complaint System; enforcement of work contracts.
§655.1317   Revocation of approved labor certifications.
§655.1318   Debarment.
§655.1319   Document retention requirements.

Authority: Section 655.0 issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(iii), 1101(a)(15)(H)(i) and (ii), 8 U.S.C. 1103(a)(6), 1182(m), (n), and (t), 1184(c), (g), and (j), 1188, and 1288(c) and (d); sec. 3(c)(1), Pub. L. 101-238, 103 Stat. 2099, 2102 (8 U.S.C. 1182 note); sec. 221(a), Pub. L. 101-649, 104 Stat. 4978, 5027 (8 U.S.C. 1184 note); sec. 303(a)(8), Pub. L. 102-232, 105 Stat. 1733, 1748 (8 U.S.C. 1101 note); sec. 323(c), Pub. L. 103-206, 107 Stat. 2428; sec. 412(e), Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681 (8 U.S.C. 1182 note); sec. 2(d), Pub. L. 106-95, 113 Stat. 1312, 1316 (8 U.S.C. 1182 note); 29 U.S.C. 49k; Pub. L. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135, as amended; Pub. L. 109-423, 120 Stat. 2900; 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(i); 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(iii); and sec. 6, Pub. L. 115-218, 132 Stat. 1547 (48 U.S.C. 1806).

Subpart A issued under 8 CFR 214.2(h).

Subpart B issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), 1184(c), and 1188; and 8 CFR 214.2(h).

Subpart E issued under 48 U.S.C. 1806.

Subparts F and G issued under 8 U.S.C. 1288(c) and (d); sec. 323(c), Pub. L. 103-206, 107 Stat. 2428; and 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, Pub. L. 114-74 at section 701.

Subparts H and I issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) and (b)(1), 1182(n) and (t), and 1184(g) and (j); sec. 303(a)(8), Pub. L. 102-232, 105 Stat. 1733, 1748 (8 U.S.C. 1101 note); sec. 412(e), Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681; 8 CFR 214.2(h); and 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, Pub. L. 114-74 at section 701.

Subparts L and M issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(c) and 1182(m); sec. 2(d), Pub. L. 106-95, 113 Stat. 1312, 1316 (8 U.S.C. 1182 note); Pub. L. 109-423, 120 Stat. 2900; and 8 CFR 214.2(h).

Source: 42 FR 45899, Sept. 13, 1977, unless otherwise noted.

Editorial Note: Nomenclature changes to part 655 appear at 71 FR 35521, 35522, June 21, 2006.

§655.0   Scope and purpose of part.

(a) Subparts A, B, and C—(1) General. Subparts A, B, and C of this part set out the procedures adopted by the Secretary to secure information sufficient to make factual determinations of: (i) Whether U.S. workers are available to perform temporary employment in the United States, for which an employer desires to employ nonimmigrant foreign workers, and (ii) whether the employment of aliens for such temporary work will adversely affect the wages or working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. These factual determinations (or a determination that there are not sufficient facts to make one or both of these determinations) are required to carry out the policies of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), that a nonimmigrant alien worker not be admitted to fill a particular temporary job opportunity unless no qualifed U.S. worker is available to fill the job opportunity, and unless the employment of the foreign worker in the job opportunity will not adversely affect the wages or working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

(2) The Secretary's determinations. Before any factual determination can be made concerning the availability of U.S. workers to perform particular job opportunities, two steps must be taken. First, the minimum level of wages, terms, benefits, and conditions for the particular job opportunities, below which similarly employed U.S. workers would be adversely affected, must be established. (The regulations in this part establish such minimum levels for wages, terms, benefits, and conditions of employment.) Second, the wages, terms, benefits, and conditions offered and afforded to the aliens must be compared to the established minimum levels. If it is concluded that adverse effect would result, the ultimate determination of availability within the meaning of the INA cannot be made since U.S. workers cannot be expected to accept employment under conditions below the established minimum levels. Florida Sugar Cane League, Inc. v. Usery, 531 F. 2d 299 (5th Cir. 1976).

Once a determination of no adverse effect has been made, the availability of U.S. workers can be tested only if U.S. workers are actively recruited through the offer of wages, terms, benefits, and conditions at least at the minimum level or the level offered to the aliens, whichever is higher. The regulations in this part set forth requirements for recruiting U.S. workers in accordance with this principle.

(3) Construction. This part and its subparts shall be construed to effectuate the purpose of the INA that U.S. workers rather than aliens be employed wherever possible. Elton Orchards, Inc. v. Brennan, 508 F. 2d 493, 500 (1st Cir. 1974), Flecha v. Quiros, 567 F. 2d 1154 (1st Cir. 1977). Where temporary alien workers are admitted, the terms and conditions of their employment must not result in a lowering of the terms and conditions of domestic workers similarly employed, Williams v. Usery, 531 F. 2d 305 (5th Cir. 1976); Florida Sugar Cane League, Inc. v. Usery, 531 F. 2d 299 (5th Cir. 1976), and the job benefits extended to any U.S. workers shall be at least those extended to the alien workers.

(b) Subparts D and E. Subparts D and E of this part set forth the process by which health care facilities can file attestations with the Department of Labor for the purpose of employing or otherwise using nonimmigrant registered nurses under H-1A visas.

(c) Subparts F and G. Subparts F and G of this part set forth the process by which employers can file attestations with the Department of Labor for the purpose of employing alien crewmembers in longshore work under D-visas and enforcement provisions relating thereto.

(d) Subparts H and I of this part. Subpart H of this part sets forth the process by which employers can file labor condition applications (LCAs) with, and the requirements for obtaining approval from, the Department of Labor to temporarily employ the following three categories of nonimmigrants in the United States: (1) H-1B visas for temporary employment in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability; (2) H-1B1 visas for temporary employment in specialty occupations of nonimmigrant professionals from countries with which the United States has entered into certain agreements identified in section 214(g)(8)(A) of the INA; and (3) E-3 visas for nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia for temporary employment in specialty occupations. Subpart I of this part establishes the enforcement provisions that apply to the H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visa programs.

(e) Subparts J and K of this part. Subparts J and K of this part set forth the process by which employers can file attestations with the Department of Labor for the purpose of employing nonimmigrant alien students on F-visas in off-campus employment and enforcement provisions relating thereto.

[43 FR 10312, Mar. 10, 1978, as amended at 52 FR 20507, June 1, 1987; 55 FR 50510, Dec. 6, 1990; 56 FR 24667, May 30, 1991; 56 FR 54738, Oct. 22, 1991; 56 FR 56875, Nov. 6, 1991; 57 FR 1337, Jan. 13, 1992; 57 FR 40989, Sept. 8, 1992; 69 FR 68226, Nov. 23, 2004; 73 FR 19947, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.00   Authority of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) Administrator under subparts A, B, and C.

Pursuant to the regulations under this part, temporary labor certification determinations under subparts A, B, and C of this part are ordinarily made by the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) Administrator (OFLC Administrator) of the Employment and Training Administration. The OFLC Administrator will informally advise the employer or agent of the name of the official who will make determinations with respect to the application.

[71 FR 35518, June 21, 2006]

Subpart A—Labor Certification Process for Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment in the United States (H-2B Workers)

Source: 80 FR 24108, Apr. 29, 2015, unless otherwise noted.

§655.1   Scope and purpose of this subpart.

Section 214(c)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(1), requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to consult with appropriate agencies before authorizing the classification of aliens as H-2B workers. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(iii)(D) designate the Secretary of Labor as an appropriate authority with whom DHS consults regarding the H-2B program, and specifies that the Secretary of Labor, in carrying out this consultative function, shall issue regulations regarding the issuance of temporary labor certifications. DHS regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(iv) further provide that an employer's petition to employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers for temporary non-agricultural employment in the United States (U.S.), except for Guam, must be accompanied by an approved temporary labor certification from the Secretary of Labor (Secretary).

(a) Purpose. The temporary labor certification reflects a determination by the Secretary that:

(1) There are not sufficient U.S. workers who are qualified and who will be available to perform the temporary services or labor for which an employer desires to hire foreign workers, and that

(2) The employment of the H-2B worker(s) will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.

(b) Scope. This subpart sets forth the procedures governing the labor certification process for the temporary employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers in the H-2B nonimmigrant classification, as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b), section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the INA. It also establishes obligations with respect to the terms and conditions of the temporary labor certification with which H-2B employers must comply, as well as their obligations to H-2B workers and workers in corresponding employment. Additionally, this subpart sets forth integrity measures for ensuring employers' continued compliance with the terms and conditions of the temporary labor certification.

§655.2   Authority of the agencies, offices, and divisions in the Department of Labor.

(a) Authority and role of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC). The Secretary has delegated authority to make determinations under this subpart, pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(iii)(D) and (h)(6)(iv), to the Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), who in turn has delegated that authority to OFLC. Determinations on an Application for Temporary Employment Certification in the H-2B program are made by the Administrator, OFLC who, in turn, may delegate this responsibility to designated staff members, e.g., a Certifying Officer (CO).

(b) Authority of the Wage and Hour Division (WHD). Pursuant to its authority under section 214(c)(14)(B) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(l4)(B), DHS has delegated to the Secretary certain investigatory and enforcement functions with respect to terms and conditions of employment in the H-2B program. The Secretary has, in turn, delegated that authority to WHD. The regulations governing WHD investigation and enforcement functions, including those related to the enforcement of temporary labor certifications, issued under this subpart, may be found in 29 CFR part 503.

(c) Concurrent authority. OFLC and WHD have concurrent authority to impose a debarment remedy under §655.73 or under 29 CFR 503.24.

§655.3   Territory of Guam.

This subpart does not apply to temporary employment in the Territory of Guam, except that an employer who applies for a temporary labor certification for a job opportunity on Guam will need to obtain a prevailing wage from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in accordance with §655.10, subject to the transfer of authority to set the prevailing wage for a job opportunity on Guam to DOL in title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations. DOL does not certify to DHS the temporary employment of H-2B nonimmigrant foreign workers, or enforce compliance with the provisions of the H-2B visa program, in the Territory of Guam.

§655.4   Transition procedures.

(a) The NPWC shall continue to process an Application for Prevailing Wage Determination submitted prior to April 29, 2015, in accordance with the prevailing wage methodology at 20 CFR part 655, subpart A, revised as of April 1, 2009, except for §655.10(b)(2), see 20 CFR part 655, subpart A, revised as of April 1, 2014. Employers with a pending Application for Prevailing Wage Determination who seek a prevailing wage based on an alternate wage source must submit a new Application for Prevailing Wage Determination.

(b) The NPWC shall process an Application for a Prevailing Wage Determination submitted on or after April 29, 2015, in accordance with the wage methodology established in §655.10 of the final prevailing wage rule.

(c) The NPC shall continue to process an Application for Temporary Employment Certification submitted prior to April 29, 2015, in accordance with 20 CFR part 655, subpart A, revised as of April 1, 2009.

(d) The NPC shall process an Application for Temporary Employment Certification submitted on or after April 29, 2015, and that has a start date of need prior to October 1, 2015, as follows:

(1) Employers will be permitted to file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification job order with the NPC using the emergency situations provision at §655.17. The Application for Temporary Employment Certification must include a signed and dated copy of the new Appendix B associated with the ETA Form 9142B containing the requisite program assurances and obligations under this rule. In the case of a job contractor filing as a joint employer with its employer-client, the NPC must receive a separate attachment containing the employer-client's business and contact information (i.e., sections C and D of the ETA Form 9142B) as well as a separate signed and dated copy of the Appendix B for its employer-client, as required by §655.19.

(2) The NPC will waive the regulatory filing timeframe under §655.15 and process the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order in a manner consistent with the handling of applications under §655.17 for emergency situations, including the recruitment of U.S. workers on an expedited basis, and make a determination as required by §655.50. The recruitment of U.S. workers on an expedited basis will consist of placing a new job order with the SWA serving the area of intended employment that contains the job assurances and contents set forth in §655.18 for a period of not less than 10 calendar days. In addition, employers who have not placed any newspaper advertisements under the rule published at 20 CFR part 655, subpart A, revised as of April 1, 2009. must place one newspaper advertisement, which may be published on any day of the week, meeting the advertising requirements of §655.41, during the period of time the SWA is actively circulating the job order for intrastate clearance.

(3) If the Chicago NPC grants a temporary labor certification, the employer will receive an original certified ETA Form 9142B and a Final Determination letter. Upon receipt of the original certified ETA Form 9142B, the employer or its agent or attorney, if applicable, must complete the footer on the original Appendix B of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, retain the original Appendix B, and submit a signed copy of Appendix B, together with the original certified ETA Form 9142B directly to USCIS. Under the document retention requirements in §655.56, the employer must retain a copy of the temporary labor certification and the original signed Appendix B.

(4) An employer who did not submit an Application for a Prevailing Wage Determination prior to April 29, 2015, but who has a start date of need prior to October 1, 2015 may submit a completed Application for a Prevailing Wage Determination to the NPC with its emergency Application for Temporary Employment Certification requesting a prevailing wage determination for the job opportunity. Upon receipt, the NPC will transmit, on behalf of the employer, a copy of the Application for a Prevailing Wage Determination to the NPWC for processing and issuance of a prevailing wage determination using the wage methodology established in §655.10.

(e) The NPC shall process an Application for Temporary Employment Certification submitted on or after April 29, 2015, and that has a start date of need after October 1, 2015, in accordance with all application filing requirements under this rule, and the employer must obtain a valid prevailing wage determination under the wage methodology established in §655.10 prior to filing the job order with the SWA under §655.16.

(f) Employers with a prevailing wage determination issued by the NPWC, or who have a pending or granted Application for Temporary Employment Certification on April 29, 2015, may seek a supplemental prevailing wage determination (SPWD) in order to obtain a prevailing wage based on an alternate wage source under this rule.

(1) The SPWD will apply during the validity period of the certification, except that such SPWD will be applicable only to those H-2B workers who are not yet employed in the certified position on the date of the issuance of the SPWD. The SPWD will not be applicable to H-2B workers who are already employed in the certified position at the time of the issuance of the SPWD, and it will not apply to U.S. workers recruited and hired under the original job order. For seafood employers whose workers' entry into the U.S. may be staggered under §655.15(f), an SPWD issued under this provision will apply only to those H-2B workers who have not yet entered the U.S. and are therefore not yet employed in the certified position at the time of the issuance of the SPWD.

(2) In order to receive an SPWD under this provision, the employer must submit a new ETA Form 9141 to the NPWC that contains in Section E.a.5 Job Duties the original PWD tracking number (starting with P-400), the H-2B temporary employment certification application number (starting with H-400), and the words “Request for a Supplemental Prevailing Wage Determination.” Electronic submission through the iCERT Visa Portal System is preferred. Upon receipt of the request, the NPWC will issue to the employer, or if applicable, the employer's attorney or agent, an SPWD in an expedited manner and provide a copy to the Chicago NPC.

§655.5   Definition of terms.

For purposes of this subpart:

Act means the Immigration and Nationality Act or INA, as amended, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) means a person within the Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3105.

Administrator, Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) means the primary official of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification, ETA, or the Administrator's designee.

Administrator, Wage and Hour Division (WHD) means the primary official of the WHD, or the Administrator's designee.

Agent means:

(1) A legal entity or person who:

(i) Is authorized to act on behalf of an employer for temporary nonagricultural labor certification purposes;

(ii) Is not itself an employer, or a joint employer, as defined in this part with respect to a specific application; and

(iii) Is not an association or other organization of employers.

(2) No agent who is under suspension, debarment, expulsion, disbarment, or otherwise restricted from practice before any court, the Department of Labor, the Executive Office for Immigration Review under 8 CFR 1003.101, or DHS under 8 CFR 292.3 may represent an employer under this part.

Agricultural labor or services means those duties and occupations defined in subpart B of this part.

Applicant means a U.S. worker who is applying for a job opportunity for which an employer has filed an Application for Temporary Employment Certification (ETA Form 9142B and the appropriate appendices).

Application for Temporary Employment Certification means the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-approved ETA Form 9142B and the appropriate appendices, a valid wage determination, as required by §655.10, and a subsequently-filed U.S. worker recruitment report, submitted by an employer to secure a temporary labor certification determination from DOL.

Area of intended employment means the geographic area within normal commuting distance of the place (worksite address) of the job opportunity for which the certification is sought. There is no rigid measure of distance that constitutes a normal commuting distance or normal commuting area, because there may be widely varying factual circumstances among different areas (e.g., average commuting times, barriers to reaching the worksite, or quality of the regional transportation network). If the place of intended employment is within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), including a multistate MSA, any place within the MSA is deemed to be within normal commuting distance of the place of intended employment. The borders of MSAs are not controlling in the identification of the normal commuting area; a location outside of an MSA may be within normal commuting distance of a location that is inside (e.g., near the border of) the MSA.

Area of substantial unemployment means a contiguous area with a population of at least 10,000 in which there is an average unemployment rate equal to or exceeding 6.5 percent for the 12 months preceding the determination of such areas made by the ETA.

Attorney means any person who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any State, possession, territory, or commonwealth of the U.S., or the District of Columbia. No attorney who is under suspension, debarment, expulsion, disbarment, or otherwise restricted from practice before any court, the Department of Labor, the Executive Office for Immigration Review under 8 CFR 1003.101, or DHS under 8 CFR 292.3 may represent an employer under this subpart.

Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA or Board) means the permanent Board established by part 656 of this chapter, chaired by the Chief Administrative Law Judge (Chief ALJ), and consisting of ALJs assigned to the Department of Labor and designated by the Chief ALJ to be members of BALCA.

Certifying Officer (CO) means an OFLC official designated by the Administrator, OFLC to make determinations on applications under the H-2B program. The Administrator, OFLC is the National CO. Other COs may also be designated by the Administrator, OFLC to make the determinations required under this subpart.

Chief Administrative Law Judge (Chief ALJ) means the chief official of the Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges or the Chief Administrative Law Judge's designee.

Corresponding employment means:

(1) The employment of workers who are not H-2B workers by an employer that has a certified H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification when those workers are performing either substantially the same work included in the job order or substantially the same work performed by the H-2B workers, except that workers in the following two categories are not included in corresponding employment:

(i) Incumbent employees continuously employed by the H-2B employer to perform substantially the same work included in the job order or substantially the same work performed by the H-2B workers during the 52 weeks prior to the period of employment certified on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and who have worked or been paid for at least 35 hours in at least 48 of the prior 52 workweeks, and who have worked or been paid for an average of at least 35 hours per week over the prior 52 weeks, as demonstrated on the employer's payroll records, provided that the terms and working conditions of their employment are not substantially reduced during the period of employment covered by the job order. In determining whether this standard was met, the employer may take credit for any hours that were reduced by the employee voluntarily choosing not to work due to personal reasons such as illness or vacation; or

(ii) Incumbent employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement or an individual employment contract that guarantees both an offer of at least 35 hours of work each workweek and continued employment with the H-2B employer at least through the period of employment covered by the job order, except that the employee may be dismissed for cause.

(2) To qualify as corresponding employment, the work must be performed during the period of the job order, including any approved extension thereof.

Date of need means the first date the employer requires services of the H-2B workers as listed on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) means the Federal Department having jurisdiction over certain immigration-related functions, acting through its component agencies, including USCIS.

Employee means a person who is engaged to perform work for an employer, as defined under the general common law. Some of the factors relevant to the determination of employee status include: The hiring party's right to control the manner and means by which the work is accomplished; the skill required to perform the work; the source of the instrumentalities and tools for accomplishing the work; the location of the work; the hiring party's discretion over when and how long to work; and whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party. Other applicable factors may be considered and no one factor is dispositive. The terms employee and worker are used interchangeably in this subpart.

Employer means a person (including any individual, partnership, association, corporation, cooperative, firm, joint stock company, trust, or other organization with legal rights and duties) that:

(1) Has a place of business (physical location) in the U.S. and a means by which it may be contacted for employment;

(2) Has an employer relationship (such as the ability to hire, pay, fire, supervise or otherwise control the work of employees) with respect to an H-2B worker or a worker in corresponding employment; and

(3) Possesses, for purposes of filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification, a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).

Employer-client means an employer that has entered into an agreement with a job contractor and that is not an affiliate, branch or subsidiary of the job contractor, under which the job contractor provides services or labor to the employer on a temporary basis and will not exercise substantial, direct day-to-day supervision and control in the performance of the services or labor to be performed other than hiring, paying and firing the workers.

Employment and Training Administration (ETA) means the agency within the Department of Labor that includes OFLC and has been delegated authority by the Secretary to fulfill the Secretary's mandate under the DHS regulations for the administration and adjudication of an Application for Temporary Employment Certification and related functions.

Federal holiday means a legal public holiday as defined at 5 U.S.C. 6103.

Full-time means 35 or more hours of work per week.

H-2B Petition means the DHS Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with H Supplement or successor form or supplement, and accompanying documentation required by DHS for employers seeking to employ foreign persons as H-2B nonimmigrant workers

H-2B Registration means the OMB-approved ETA Form 9155, submitted by an employer to register its intent to hire H-2B workers and to file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

H-2B worker means any temporary foreign worker who is lawfully present in the U.S. and authorized by DHS to perform nonagricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b), INA section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b).

Job contractor means a person, association, firm, or a corporation that meets the definition of an employer and that contracts services or labor on a temporary basis to one or more employers, which is not an affiliate, branch or subsidiary of the job contractor and where the job contractor will not exercise substantial, direct day-to-day supervision and control in the performance of the services or labor to be performed other than hiring, paying and firing the workers.

Job offer means the offer made by an employer or potential employer of H-2B workers to both U.S. and H-2B workers describing all the material terms and conditions of employment, including those relating to wages, working conditions, and other benefits.

Job opportunity means one or more openings for full-time employment with the petitioning employer within a specified area(s) of intended employment for which the petitioning employer is seeking workers.

Job order means the document containing the material terms and conditions of employment relating to wages, hours, working conditions, worksite and other benefits, including obligations and assurances under 29 CFR part 503 and this subpart that is posted between and among the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) on their job clearance systems.

Joint employment means that where two or more employers each have sufficient definitional indicia of being an employer to be considered the employer of a worker, those employers will be considered to jointly employ that worker. Each employer in a joint employment relationship to a worker is considered a joint employer of that worker.

Layoff means any involuntary separation of one or more U.S. employees without cause.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) means a geographic entity defined by OMB for use by Federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics. A metro area contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population, and a micro area contains an urban core of at least 10,000 (but fewer than 50,000) population. Each metro or micro area consists of one or more counties and includes the counties containing the core urban area, as well as any adjacent counties that have a high degree of social and economic integration (as measured by commuting to work) with the urban core.

National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) means that office within OFLC from which employers, agents, or attorneys who wish to file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification receive a prevailing wage determination (PWD).

NPWC Director means the OFLC official to whom the Administrator, OFLC has delegated authority to carry out certain NPWC operations and functions.

National Processing Center (NPC) means the office within OFLC which is charged with the adjudication of an Application for Temporary Employment Certification or other applications. For purposes of this subpart, the NPC receiving a request for an H-2B Registration and an Application for Temporary Employment Certification is the Chicago NPC whose address is published in the Federal Register.

NPC Director means the OFLC official to whom the Administrator, OFLC has delegated authority for purposes of certain Chicago NPC operations and functions.

Non-agricultural labor and services means any labor or services not considered to be agricultural labor or services as defined in subpart B of this part. It does not include the provision of services as members of the medical profession by graduates of medical schools.

Occupational employment statistics (OES) survey means the program under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that provides annual wage estimates for occupations at the State and MSA levels.

Offered wage means the wage offered by an employer in an H-2B job order. The offered wage must equal or exceed the highest of the prevailing wage or Federal, State or local minimum wage.

Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) means the organizational component of the ETA that provides national leadership and policy guidance and develops regulations to carry out the Secretary's responsibilities, including determinations related to an employer's request for H-2B Registration, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, or Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

Prevailing wage determination (PWD) means the prevailing wage for the position, as described in §655.10, that is the subject of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The PWD is made on ETA Form 9141, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination.

Professional athlete means an individual who is employed as an athlete by:

(1) A team that is a member of an association of six or more professional sports teams whose total combined revenues exceed $10,000,000 per year, if the association governs the conduct of its members and regulates the contests and exhibitions in which its member teams regularly engage; or

(2) Any minor league team that is affiliated with such an association.

Seafood is defined as fresh or saltwater finfish, crustaceans, other forms of aquatic animal life, including, but not limited to, alligator, frog, aquatic turtle, jellyfish, sea cucumber, and sea urchin and the roe of such animals, and all mollusks.

Secretary means the Secretary of Labor, the chief official of the U.S. Department of Labor, or the Secretary's designee.

Secretary of Homeland Security means the chief official of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the Secretary of Homeland Security's designee.

Secretary of State means the chief official of the U.S. Department of State or the Secretary of State's designee.

State Workforce Agency (SWA) means a State government agency that receives funds under the Wagner-Peyser Act (29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.) to administer the State's public labor exchange activities.

Strike means a concerted stoppage of work by employees as a result of a labor dispute, or any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operation (including stoppage by reason of the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement).

Successor in interest means:

(1) Where an employer has violated 29 CFR part 503, or this subpart, and has ceased doing business or cannot be located for purposes of enforcement, a successor in interest to that employer may be held liable for the duties and obligations of the violating employer in certain circumstances. The following factors, as used under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, may be considered in determining whether an employer is a successor in interest; no one factor is dispositive, but all of the circumstances will be considered as a whole:

(i) Substantial continuity of the same business operations;

(ii) Use of the same facilities;

(iii) Continuity of the work force;

(iv) Similarity of jobs and working conditions;

(v) Similarity of supervisory personnel;

(vi) Whether the former management or owner retains a direct or indirect interest in the new enterprise;

(vii) Similarity in machinery, equipment, and production methods;

(viii) Similarity of products and services; and

(ix) The ability of the predecessor to provide relief.

(2) For purposes of debarment only, the primary consideration will be the personal involvement of the firm's ownership, management, supervisors, and others associated with the firm in the violation(s) at issue.

United States (U.S.) means the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) means the Federal agency within DHS that makes the determination under the INA whether to grant petitions filed by employers seeking H-2B workers to perform temporary non-agricultural work in the U.S.

United States worker (U.S. worker) means a worker who is:

(1) A citizen or national of the U.S.;

(2) An alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S., is admitted as a refugee under 8 U.S.C. 1157, section 207 of the INA, is granted asylum under 8 U.S.C. 1158, section 208 of the INA, or is an alien otherwise authorized under the immigration laws to be employed in the U.S.; or

(3) An individual who is not an unauthorized alien (as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(3), section 274a(h)(3) of the INA) with respect to the employment in which the worker is engaging.

Wage and Hour Division (WHD) means the agency within the Department of Labor with investigatory and law enforcement authority, as delegated from DHS, to carry out the provisions under 8 U.S.C. 1184(c), section 214(c) of the INA.

Wages mean all forms of cash remuneration to a worker by an employer in payment for personal services.

§655.6   Temporary need.

(a) An employer seeking certification under this subpart must establish that its need for non-agricultural services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job is permanent or temporary.

(b) The employer's need is considered temporary if justified to the CO as one of the following: A one-time occurrence; a seasonal need; a peakload need; or an intermittent need, as defined by DHS regulations. Except where the employer's need is based on a one-time occurrence, the CO will deny a request for an H-2B Registration or an Application for Temporary Employment Certification where the employer has a need lasting more than 9 months.

(c) A job contractor will only be permitted to seek certification if it can demonstrate through documentation its own temporary need, not that of its employer-client(s). A job contractor will only be permitted to file applications based on a seasonal need or a one-time occurrence.

(d) Nothing in this paragraph (d) is intended to limit the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security, in the course of adjudicating an H-2B petition, to make the final determination as to whether a prospective H-2B employer's need is temporary in nature.

§655.7   Persons and entities authorized to file.

(a) Persons authorized to file. In addition to the employer applicant, a request for an H-2B Registration or an Application for Temporary Employment Certification may be filed by an attorney or agent, as defined in §655.5.

(b) Employer's signature required. Regardless of whether the employer is represented by an attorney or agent, the employer is required to sign the H-2B Registration and Application for Temporary Employment Certification and all documentation submitted to the Department of Labor.

§655.8   Requirements for agents.

An agent filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification on behalf of an employer must provide:

(a) A copy of the agent agreement or other document demonstrating the agent's authority to represent the employer; and

(b) A copy of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) Farm Labor Contractor Certificate of Registration, if the agent is required under MSPA, at 29 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., to have such a certificate, identifying the specific farm labor contracting activities the agent is authorized to perform.

§655.9   Disclosure of foreign worker recruitment.

(a) The employer, and its attorney or agent, as applicable, must provide a copy of all agreements with any agent or recruiter whom it engages or plans to engage in the recruitment of H-2B workers under this Application for Temporary Employment Certification. These agreements must contain the contractual prohibition against charging fees as set forth in §655.20(p).

(b) The employer, and its attorney or agent, as applicable, must also provide the identity and location of all persons and entities hired by or working for the recruiter or agent referenced in paragraph (a) of this section, and any of the agents or employees of those persons and entities, to recruit prospective foreign workers for the H-2B job opportunities offered by the employer.

(c) The Department of Labor will maintain a publicly available list of agents and recruiters who are party to the agreements referenced in paragraph (a) of this section, as well as the persons and entities referenced in paragraph (b) of this section and the locations in which they are operating.

Prefiling Procedures

§655.10   Determination of prevailing wage for temporary labor certification purposes.

(a) Offered wage. The employer must advertise the position to all potential workers at a wage at least equal to the prevailing wage obtained from the NPWC, or the Federal, State or local minimum wage, whichever is highest. The employer must offer and pay this wage (or higher) to both its H-2B workers and its workers in corresponding employment. The issuance of a PWD under this section does not permit an employer to pay a wage lower than the highest wage required by any applicable Federal, State or local law.

(b) Determinations. Prevailing wages shall be determined as follows:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section, if the job opportunity is covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that was negotiated at arms' length between the union and the employer, the wage rate set forth in the CBA is considered as not adversely affecting the wages of U.S. workers, that is, it is considered the “prevailing wage” for labor certification purposes.

(2) If the job opportunity is not covered by a CBA, the prevailing wage for labor certification purposes shall be the arithmetic mean of the wages of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment using the wage component of the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics Survey (OES), unless the employer provides a survey acceptable to OFLC under paragraph (f) of this section.

(c) Request for PWD. (1) An employer must request and receive a PWD from the NPWC before filing the job order with the SWA.

(2) The PWD must be valid on the date the job order is posted.

(d) Multiple worksites. If the job opportunity involves multiple worksites within an area of intended employment and different prevailing wage rates exist for the opportunity within the area of intended employment, the prevailing wage is the highest applicable wage among all the worksites.

(e) NPWC action. The NPWC will provide the PWD, indicate the source, and return the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination (ETA Form 9141) with its endorsement to the employer.

(f) Employer-provided survey. (1) If the job opportunity is not covered by a CBA, or by a professional sports league's rules or regulations, the NPWC will consider a survey provided by the employer in making a Prevailing Wage Determination only if the employer submission demonstrates that the survey falls into one of the following categories:

(i) The survey was independently conducted and issued by a state, including any state agency, state college, or state university;

(ii) The survey is submitted for a geographic area where the OES does not collect data, or in a geographic area where the OES provides an arithmetic mean only at a national level for workers employed in the SOC;

(iii)(A) The job opportunity is not included within an occupational classification of the SOC system; or

(B) The job opportunity is within an occupational classification of the SOC system designated as an “all other” classification.

(2) The survey must provide the arithmetic mean of the wages of all workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment, except that if the survey provides a median but does not provide an arithmetic mean, the prevailing wage applicable to the employer's job opportunity shall be the median of the wages of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment.

(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (f)(2) of this section, the geographic area surveyed may be expanded beyond the area of intended employment, but only as necessary to meet the requirements of paragraph (f)(4)(ii) of this section. Any geographic expansion beyond the area of intended employment must include only those geographic areas that are contiguous to the area of intended employment.

(4) In each case where the employer submits a survey under paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the employer must submit, concurrently with the ETA Form 9141, a completed Form ETA-9165 containing specific information about the survey methodology, including such items as sample size and source, sample selection procedures, and survey job descriptions, to allow a determination of the adequacy of the data provided and validity of the statistical methodology used in conducting the survey. In addition, the information provided by the employer must include the attestation that:

(i) The surveyor either made a reasonable, good faith attempt to contact all employers employing workers in the occupation and geographic area surveyed or conducted a randomized sampling of such employers;

(ii) The survey includes wage data from at least 30 workers and three employers;

(iii) If the survey is submitted under paragraph (f)(1)(ii) or (iii) of this section, the collection was administered by a bona fide third party. The following are not bona fide third parties under this rule: Any H-2B employer or any H-2B employer's agent, representative, or attorney;

(iv) The survey was conducted across industries that employ workers in the occupation; and

(v) The wage reported in the survey includes all types of pay, consistent with Form ETA-9165.

(5) The survey must be based upon recently collected data: The survey must be the most current edition of the survey and must be based on wages paid not more than 24 months before the date the survey is submitted for consideration.

(g) Review of employer-provided surveys. (1) If the NPWC finds an employer-provided survey not to be acceptable, the NPWC shall inform the employer in writing of the reasons the survey was not accepted.

(2) The employer, after receiving notification that the survey it provided for consideration is not acceptable, may request review under §655.13.

(h) Validity period. The NPWC must specify the validity period of the prevailing wage, which in no event may be more than 365 days and no less than 90 days from the date that the determination is issued.

(i) Professional athletes. In computing the prevailing wage for a professional athlete when the job opportunity is covered by professional sports league rules or regulations, the wage set forth in those rules or regulations is considered the prevailing wage.

(j) Retention of documentation. The employer must retain the PWD for 3 years from the date of issuance or the date of a final determination on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, whichever is later, and submit it to a CO if requested by a Notice of Deficiency, described in §655.31, or audit, as described in §655.70, or to a WHD representative during a WHD investigation.

(k) Guam. The requirements of this section apply to any request filed for an H-2B job opportunity on Guam, subject to the transfer of authority to set the prevailing wage for a job opportunity on Guam to DOL in Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

[80 FR 24108, Apr. 29, 2015, as amended at 80 FR 24184, Apr. 29, 2015]

§655.11   Registration of H-2B employers.

All employers, including job contractors, that desire to hire H-2B workers must establish their need for services or labor is temporary by filing an H-2B Registration with the Chicago NPC.

(a) Registration filing. An employer must file an H-2B Registration. The H-2B Registration must be accompanied by documentation evidencing:

(1) The number of positions that will be sought in the first year of registration;

(2) The time period of need for the workers requested;

(3) That the nature of the employer's need for the services or labor to be performed is non-agricultural and temporary, and is justified as either a one-time occurrence, a seasonal need, a peakload need, or an intermittent need, as defined by DHS regulations and §655.6 (or in the case of job contractors, a seasonal need or one-time occurrence); and

(4) For job contractors, the job contractor's own seasonal need or one-time occurrence, such as through the provision of payroll records.

(b) Original signature. The H-2B Registration must bear the original signature of the employer (and that of the employer's attorney or agent if applicable). If and when the H-2B Registration is permitted to be filed electronically, the employer will satisfy this requirement by signing the H-2B Registration as directed by the CO.

(c) Timeliness of registration filing. A completed request for an H-2B Registration must be received by no less than 120 calendar days and no more than 150 calendar days before the employer's date of need, except where the employer submits the H-2B Registration in support of an emergency filing under §655.17.

(d) Temporary need. (1) The employer must establish that its need for non-agricultural services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job is permanent or temporary, consistent with DHS regulations. A job contractor must also demonstrate through documentation its own seasonal need or one-time occurrence.

(2) The employer's need will be assessed in accordance with the definitions provided by the Secretary of Homeland Security and as further defined in §655.6.

(e) NPC review. The CO will review the H-2B Registration and its accompanying documentation for completeness and make a determination based on the following factors:

(1) The job classification and duties qualify as non-agricultural;

(2) The employer's need for the services or labor to be performed is temporary in nature, and for job contractors, demonstration of the job contractor's own seasonal need or one-time occurrence;

(3) The number of worker positions and period of need are justified; and

(4) The request represents a bona fide job opportunity.

(f) Mailing and postmark requirements. Any notice or request pertaining to an H-2B Registration sent by the CO to an employer requiring a response will be mailed to the address provided on the H-2B Registration using methods to assure next day delivery, including electronic mail. The employer's response to the notice or request must be mailed using methods to assure next day delivery, including electronic mail, and be sent by the due date specified by the CO or by the next business day if the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday.

(g) Request for information (RFI). If the CO determines the H-2B Registration cannot be approved, the CO will issue an RFI. The RFI will be issued within 7 business days of the CO's receipt of the H-2B Registration. The RFI will:

(1) State the reason(s) why the H-2B Registration cannot be approved and what supplemental information or documentation is needed to correct the deficiencies;

(2) Specify a date, no later than 7 business days from the date the RFI is issued, by which the supplemental information or documentation must be sent by the employer;

(3) State that, upon receipt of a response to the RFI, the CO will review the H-2B Registration as well as any supplemental information and documentation and issue a Notice of Decision on the H-2B Registration. The CO may, at his or her discretion, issue one or more additional RFIs before issuing a Notice of Decision on the H-2B Registration; and

(4) State that failure to comply with an RFI, including not responding in a timely manner or not providing all required documentation within the specified timeframe, will result in a denial of the H-2B Registration.

(h) Notice of Decision. The CO will notify the employer in writing of the final decision on the H-2B Registration.

(1) Approved H-2B Registration. If the H-2B Registration is approved, the CO will send a Notice of Decision to the employer, and a copy to the employer's attorney or agent, if applicable. The Notice of Decision will notify the employer that it is eligible to seek H-2B workers in the occupational classification for the anticipated number of positions and period of need stated on the approved H-2B Registration. The CO may approve the H-2B Registration for a period of up to 3 consecutive years.

(2) Denied H-2B Registration. If the H-2B Registration is denied, the CO will send a Notice of Decision to the employer, and a copy to the employer's attorney or agent, if applicable. The Notice of Decision will:

(i) State the reason(s) why the H-2B Registration is denied;

(ii) Offer the employer an opportunity to request administrative review under §655.61 within 10 business days from the date the Notice of Decision is issued and state that if the employer does not request administrative review within that period the denial is final.

(i) Retention of documents. All employers filing an H-2B Registration are required to retain any documents and records not otherwise submitted proving compliance with this subpart. Such records and documents must be retained for a period of 3 years from the date of certification of the last Application for Temporary Employment Certification supported by the H-2B Registration, if approved, or 3 years from the date the decision is issued if the H-2B Registration is denied or 3 years from the day the Department of Labor receives written notification from the employer withdrawing its pending H-2B Registration.

(j) Transition period. In order to allow OFLC to make the necessary changes to its program operations to accommodate the new registration process, OFLC will announce in the Federal Register a separate transition period for the registration process, and until that time, will continue to adjudicate temporary need during the processing of applications.

§655.12   Use of registration of H-2B employers.

(a) Upon approval of the H-2B Registration, the employer is authorized for the specified period of up to 3 consecutive years from the date the H-2B Registration is approved to file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification, unless:

(1) The number of workers to be employed has increased by more than 20 percent (or 50 percent for employers requesting fewer than 10 workers) from the initial year;

(2) The dates of need for the job opportunity have changed by more than a total of 30 calendar days from the initial year for the entire period of need;

(3) The nature of the job classification and/or duties has materially changed; or

(4) The temporary nature of the employer's need for services or labor to be performed has materially changed.

(b) If any of the changes in paragraphs (a)(1) through (4) of this section apply, the employer must file a new H-2B Registration in accordance with §655.11.

(c) The H-2B Registration may not be transferred from one employer to another unless the employer to which it is transferred is a successor in interest to the employer to which it was issued.

§655.13   Review of PWDs.

(a) Request for review of PWDs. Any employer desiring review of a PWD must make a written request for such review to the NPWC Director within 7 business days from the date the PWD is issued. The request for review must clearly identify the PWD for which review is sought; set forth the particular grounds for the request; and include any materials submitted to the NPWC for purposes of securing the PWD.

(b) NPWC review. Upon the receipt of the written request for review, the NPWC Director will review the employer's request and accompanying documentation, including any supplementary material submitted by the employer, and after review shall issue a Final Determination letter; that letter may:

(1) Affirm the PWD issued by the NPWC; or

(2) Modify the PWD.

(c) Request for review by BALCA. Any employer desiring review of the NPWC Director's decision on a PWD must make a written request for review of the determination by BALCA within 10 business days from the date the Final Determination letter is issued.

(1) The request for BALCA review must be in writing and addressed to the NPWC Director who made the final determinations. Upon receipt of a request for BALCA review, the NPWC will prepare an appeal file and submit it to BALCA.

(2) The request for review, statements, briefs, and other submissions of the parties must contain only legal arguments and may refer to only the evidence that was within the record upon which the decision on the PWD was based.

(3) BALCA will handle appeals in accordance with §655.61.

§655.14   [Reserved]

Application for Temporary Employment Certification Filing Procedures

§655.15   Application filing requirements.

All registered employers that desire to hire H-2B workers must file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification with the NPC designated by the Administrator, OFLC. Except for employers that qualify for emergency procedures at §655.17, employers that fail to register under the procedures in §655.11 and/or that fail to submit a PWD obtained under §655.10 will not be eligible to file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification and their applications will be returned without review.

(a) What to file. A registered employer seeking H-2B workers must file a completed Application for Temporary Employment Certification (ETA Form 9142B and the appropriate appendices and valid PWD), a copy of the job order being submitted concurrently to the SWA serving the area of intended employment, as set forth in §655.16, and copies of all contracts and agreements with any agent and/or recruiter, executed in connection with the job opportunities and all information required, as specified in §§655.8 and 655.9.

(b) Timeliness. A completed Application for Temporary Employment Certification must be filed no more than 90 calendar days and no less than 75 calendar days before the employer's date of need.

(c) Location and method of filing. The employer must submit the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and all required supporting documentation to the NPC either electronically or by mail.

(d) Original signature. The Application for Temporary Employment Certification must bear the original signature of the employer (and that of the employer's authorized attorney or agent if the employer is so represented). If the Application for Temporary Employment Certification is filed electronically, the employer must satisfy this requirement by signing the Application for Temporary Employment Certification as directed by the CO.

(e) Requests for multiple positions. Certification of more than one position may be requested on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification as long as all H-2B workers will perform the same services or labor under the same terms and conditions, in the same occupation, in the same area of intended employment, and during the same period of employment.

(f) Separate applications. Except as otherwise permitted by this paragraph (f), only one Application for Temporary Employment Certification may be filed for worksite(s) within one area of intended employment for each job opportunity with an employer for each period of employment. Except where otherwise permitted under §655.4, an association or other organization of employers is not permitted to file master applications on behalf of its employer-members under the H-2B program.

(1) Subject to paragraph (f)(2) of this section, if a petition for H-2B nonimmigrants filed by an employer in the seafood industry is granted, the employer may bring the nonimmigrants described in the petition into the United States at any time during the 120-day period beginning on the start date for which the employer is seeking the services of the nonimmigrants without filing another petition.

(2) An employer in the seafood industry may not bring H-2B nonimmigrants into the United States after the date that is 90 days after the start date for which the employer is seeking the services of the nonimmigrants unless the employer conducts new recruitment, that begins at least 45 days after, and ends before the 90th day after, the certified start date of need as follows:

(i) Completes a new assessment of the local labor market by—

(A) Listing the job orders in local newspapers on 2 separate Sundays; and

(B) Placing new job orders for the job opportunity with the State Workforce Agency serving the area of intended employment and posting the job opportunity at the place of employment for at least 10 days; and

(C) Offering the job to an equally or better qualified United States worker who—

(1) Applies for the job; and

(2) Will be available at the time and place of need.

(3) In order to comply with this provision, employers in the seafood industry must—

(1) Sign and date an attestation form stating the employer's compliance with this subparagraph. The attestation form is available at http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/form.cfm;

(2) Provide each H-2B nonimmigrant worker seeking admission to the United States a copy of the signed and dated attestation, with instructions that the worker must present the documentation upon request to the Department of State's consular officers when they apply for a visa and/or the Department of Homeland Security's U.S Customs and Border Protection officers when seeking admission to the United States. Without this attestation, an H-2B nonimmigrant may be denied a visa or admission to the United States if seeking to enter at any time other than the start date stated in the petition. (The attestation is not necessary when filing an amended petition based on a worker who is being substituted in accordance with DHS regulations.) The attestation presented by an H-2B nonimmigrant worker must be the official attestation downloaded from OFLC's Web site and may not be altered or revised in any manner; and

(3) Retain the additional recruitment documentation, together with their prefiling recruitment documentation, for a period of 3 years from the date of certification, consistent with the document retention requirements under §655.56. Seafood industry employers who conduct the required additional recruitment should not submit proof of the additional recruitment to the Office of Foreign Labor Certification.

(g) One-time occurrence. Where a one-time occurrence lasts longer than 1 year, the CO will instruct the employer on any additional recruitment requirements with respect to the continuing validity of the labor market test or offered wage obligation.

(h) Information dissemination. Information received in the course of processing a request for an H-2B Registration, an Application for Temporary Employment Certification or program integrity measures such as audits may be forwarded from OFLC to WHD, or any other Federal agency as appropriate, for investigative and/or enforcement purposes.

§655.16   Filing of the job order at the SWA.

(a) Submission of the job order. (1) The employer must submit the job order to the SWA serving the area of intended employment at the same time it submits the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and a copy of the job order to the NPC in accordance with §655.15. If the job opportunity is located in more than one State within the same area of intended employment, the employer may submit the job order to any one of the SWAs having jurisdiction over the anticipated worksites, but must identify the receiving SWA on the copy of the job order submitted to the NPC with its Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The employer must inform the SWA that the job order is being placed in connection with a concurrently submitted Application for Temporary Employment Certification for H-2B workers.

(2) In addition to complying with State-specific requirements governing job orders, the job order submitted to the SWA must satisfy the requirements set forth in §655.18.

(b) SWA review of the job order. The SWA must review the job order and ensure that it complies with criteria set forth in §655.18. If the SWA determines that the job order does not comply with the applicable criteria, the SWA must inform the CO at the NPC of the noted deficiencies within 6 business days of receipt of the job order.

(c) Intrastate and interstate clearance. Upon receipt of the Notice of Acceptance, as described in §655.33, the SWA must promptly place the job order in intrastate clearance, and in interstate clearance by providing a copy of the job order to other states as directed by the CO.

(d) Duration of job order posting and SWA referral of U.S. workers. Upon receipt of the Notice of Acceptance, any SWA in receipt of the employer's job order must keep the job order on its active file until the end of the recruitment period, as set forth in §655.40(c), and must refer to the employer in a manner consistent with §655.47 all qualified U.S. workers who apply for the job opportunity or on whose behalf a job application is made.

(e) Amendments to a job order. The employer may amend the job order at any time before the CO makes a final determination, in accordance with procedures set forth in §655.35.

§655.17   Emergency situations.

(a) Waiver of time period. The CO may waive the time period(s) for filing an H-2B Registration and/or an Application for Temporary Employment Certification for employers that have good and substantial cause, provided that the CO has sufficient time to thoroughly test the domestic labor market on an expedited basis and to make a final determination as required by §655.50.

(b) Employer requirements. The employer requesting a waiver of the required time period(s) must submit to the NPC a request for a waiver of the time period requirement, a completed Application for Temporary Employment Certification and the proposed job order identifying the SWA serving the area of intended employment, and must otherwise meet the requirements of §655.15. If the employer did not previously apply for an H-2B Registration, the employer must also submit a completed H-2B Registration with all supporting documentation, as required by §655.11. If the employer did not previously apply for a PWD, the employer must also submit a completed PWD request. The employer's waiver request must include detailed information describing the good and substantial cause that has necessitated the waiver request. Good and substantial cause may include, but is not limited to, the substantial loss of U.S. workers due to Acts of God, or a similar unforeseeable man-made catastrophic event (such as an oil spill or controlled flooding) that is wholly outside of the employer's control, unforeseeable changes in market conditions, or pandemic health issues. A denial of a previously submitted H-2B Registration in accordance with the procedures set forth in §655.11 does not constitute good and substantial cause necessitating a waiver under this section.

(c) Processing of emergency applications. The CO will process the emergency H-2B Registration and/or Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order in a manner consistent with the provisions of this subpart and make a determination on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification in accordance with §655.50. If the CO grants the waiver request, the CO will forward a Notice of Acceptance and the approved job order to the SWA serving the area of intended employment identified by the employer in the job order. If the CO determines that the certification cannot be granted because, under paragraph (a) of this section, the request for emergency filing is not justified and/or there is not sufficient time to make a determination of temporary need or ensure compliance with the criteria for certification contained in §655.51, the CO will send a Final Determination letter to the employer in accordance with §655.53.

§655.18   Job order assurances and contents.

(a) General. Each job order placed in connection with an Application for Temporary Employment Certification must at a minimum include the information contained in paragraph (b) of this section. In addition, by submitting the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, an employer agrees to comply with the following assurances with respect to each job order:

(1) Prohibition against preferential treatment. The employer's job order must offer to U.S. workers no less than the same benefits, wages, and working conditions that the employer is offering, intends to offer, or will provide to H-2B workers. Job offers may not impose on U.S. workers any restrictions or obligations that will not be imposed on the employer's H-2B workers. This does not relieve the employer from providing to H-2B workers at least the minimum benefits, wages, and working conditions which must be offered to U.S. workers consistent with this section.

(2) Bona fide job requirements. Each job qualification and requirement must be listed in the job order and must be bona fide and consistent with the normal and accepted qualifications and requirements imposed by non-H-2B employers in the same occupation and area of intended employment.

(b) Contents. In addition to complying with the assurances in paragraph (a) of this section, the employer's job order must meet the following requirements:

(1) State the employer's name and contact information;

(2) Indicate that the job opportunity is a temporary, full-time position, including the total number of job openings the employer intends to fill;

(3) Describe the job opportunity for which certification is sought with sufficient information to apprise U.S. workers of the services or labor to be performed, including the duties, the minimum education and experience requirements, the work hours and days, and the anticipated start and end dates of the job opportunity;

(4) Indicate the geographic area of intended employment with enough specificity to apprise applicants of any travel requirements and where applicants will likely have to reside to perform the services or labor;

(5) Specify the wage that the employer is offering, intends to offer, or will provide to H-2B workers, or, in the event that there are multiple wage offers, the range of wage offers, and ensure that the wage offer equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage or the Federal, State, or local minimum wage;

(6) If applicable, specify that overtime will be available to the worker and the wage offer(s) for working any overtime hours;

(7) If applicable, state that on-the-job training will be provided to the worker;

(8) State that the employer will use a single workweek as its standard for computing wages due;

(9) Specify the frequency with which the worker will be paid, which must be at least every 2 weeks or according to the prevailing practice in the area of intended employment, whichever is more frequent;

(10) If the employer provides the worker with the option of board, lodging, or other facilities, including fringe benefits, or intends to assist workers to secure such lodging, disclose the provision and cost of the board, lodging, or other facilities, including fringe benefits or assistance to be provided;

(11) State that the employer will make all deductions from the worker's paycheck required by law. Specify any deductions the employer intends to make from the worker's paycheck which are not required by law, including, if applicable, any deductions for the reasonable cost of board, lodging, or other facilities;

(12) Detail how the worker will be provided with or reimbursed for transportation and subsistence from the place from which the worker has come to work for the employer, whether in the U.S. or abroad, to the place of employment, if the worker completes 50 percent of the period of employment covered by the job order, consistent with §655.20(j)(1)(i);

(13) State that the employer will provide or pay for the worker's cost of return transportation and daily subsistence from the place of employment to the place from which the worker, disregarding intervening employment, departed to work for the employer, if the worker completes the certified period of employment or is dismissed from employment for any reason by the employer before the end of the period, consistent with §655.20(j)(1)(ii);

(14) If applicable, state that the employer will provide daily transportation to and from the worksite;

(15) State that the employer will reimburse the H-2B worker in the first workweek for all visa, visa processing, border crossing, and other related fees, including those mandated by the government, incurred by the H-2B worker (but need not include passport expenses or other charges primarily for the benefit of the worker);

(16) State that the employer will provide to the worker, without charge or deposit charge, all tools, supplies, and equipment required to perform the duties assigned, in accordance with §655.20(k);

(17) State the applicability of the three-fourths guarantee, offering the worker employment for a total number of work hours equal to at least three-fourths of the workdays of each 12-week period, if the period of employment covered by the job order is 120 or more days, or each 6-week period, if the period of employment covered by the job order is less than 120 days, in accordance with §655.20(f); and

(18) Instruct applicants to inquire about the job opportunity or send applications, indications of availability, and/or resumes directly to the nearest office of the SWA in the State in which the advertisement appeared and include the SWA contact information.

§655.19   Job contractor filing requirements.

(a) Provided that a job contractor and any employer-client are joint employers, a job contractor may submit an Application for Temporary Employment Certification on behalf of itself and that employer-client.

(b) A job contractor must have separate contracts with each different employer-client. Each contract or agreement may support only one Application for Temporary Employment Certification for each employer-client job opportunity within a single area of intended employment.

(c) Either the job contractor or its employer-client may submit an ETA Form 9141, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, describing the job opportunity to the NPWC. However, each of the joint employers is separately responsible for ensuring that the wage offer listed on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, ETA Form 9142B, and related recruitment at least equals the prevailing wage rate determined by the NPWC and that all other wage obligations are met.

(d)(1) A job contractor that is filing as a joint employer with its employer-client must submit to the NPC a completed Application for Temporary Employment Certification, ETA Form 9142, that clearly identifies the joint employers (the job contractor and its employer-client) and the employment relationship (including the actual worksite), in accordance with the instructions provided by the Department of Labor. The Application for Temporary Employment Certification must bear the original signature of the job contractor and the employer-client and be accompanied by the contract or agreement establishing the employers' relationship related to the workers sought.

(2) By signing the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, each employer independently attests to the conditions of employment required of an employer participating in the H-2B program and assumes full responsibility for the accuracy of the representations made in the application and for all of the responsibilities of an employer in the H-2B program.

(e)(1) Either the job contractor or its employer-client may place the required job order and conduct recruitment as described in §§655.16 and 655.43 through 655.46. Also, either one of the joint employers may assume responsibility for interviewing applicants. However, both of the joint employers must sign the recruitment report that is submitted to the NPC with the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, ETA Form 9142B.

(e)(1) Either the job contractor or its employer-client may place the required job order and conduct recruitment as described in §655.16 and §§655.42 through 655.46. Also, either one of the joint employers may assume responsibility for interviewing applicants. However, both of the joint employers must sign the recruitment report that is submitted to the NPC with the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, ETA Form 9142B.

(2) The job order and all recruitment conducted by joint employers must satisfy the content requirements identified in §§655.18 and 655.41. Additionally, in order to fully apprise applicants of the job opportunity and avoid potential confusion inherent in a job opportunity involving two employers, joint employer recruitment must clearly identify both employers (the job contractor and its employer-client) by name and must clearly identify the worksite location(s) where workers will perform labor or services.

(3)(i) Provided that all of the employer-clients' job opportunities are in the same occupation and area of intended employment and have the same requirements and terms and conditions of employment, including dates of employment, a job contractor may combine more than one of its joint employer employer-clients' job opportunities in a single advertisement. Each advertisement must fully apprise potential workers of the job opportunity available with each employer-client and otherwise satisfy the advertising content requirements required for all H-2B-related advertisements, as identified in §655.41. Such a shared advertisement must clearly identify the job contractor by name, the joint employment relationship, and the number of workers sought for each job opportunity, identified by employer-client name and location (e.g., 5 openings with Employer-Client 1 (worksite location), 3 openings with Employer-Client 2 (worksite location)).

(ii) In addition, the advertisement must contain the following statement: “Applicants may apply for any or all of the jobs listed. When applying, please identify the job(s) (by company and work location) you are applying to for the entire period of employment specified.” If an applicant fails to identify one or more specific work location(s), that applicant is presumed to have applied to all work locations listed in the advertisement.

(f) If an application for joint employers is approved, the NPC will issue one certification and send it to the job contractor. In order to ensure notice to both employers, a courtesy copy of the certification cover letter will be sent to the employer-client. (g) When submitting a certified Application for Temporary Employment Certification to USCIS, the job contractor should submit the complete ETA Form 9142B containing the original signatures of both the job contractor and employer-client.

[42 FR 45899, Sept. 13, 1977, as amended at 84 FR 62446, Nov. 15, 2019]

Assurances and Obligations

§655.20   Assurances and obligations of H-2B employers.

An employer employing H-2B workers and/or workers in corresponding employment under an Application for Temporary Employment Certification has agreed as part of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification that it will abide by the following conditions with respect to its H-2B workers and any workers in corresponding employment:

(a) Rate of pay. (1) The offered wage in the job order equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage or Federal minimum wage, State minimum wage, or local minimum wage. The employer must pay at least the offered wage, free and clear, during the entire period of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification granted by OFLC.

(2) The offered wage is not based on commissions, bonuses, or other incentives, including paying on a piece-rate basis, unless the employer guarantees a wage earned every workweek that equals or exceeds the offered wage.

(3) If the employer requires one or more minimum productivity standards of workers as a condition of job retention, the standards must be specified in the job order and the employer must demonstrate that they are normal and usual for non-H-2B employers for the same occupation in the area of intended employment.

(4) An employer that pays on a piece-rate basis must demonstrate that the piece rate is no less than the normal rate paid by non-H-2B employers to workers performing the same activity in the area of intended employment. The average hourly piece rate earnings must result in an amount at least equal to the offered wage. If the worker is paid on a piece rate basis and at the end of the workweek the piece rate does not result in average hourly piece rate earnings during the workweek at least equal to the amount the worker would have earned had the worker been paid at the offered hourly wage, then the employer must supplement the worker's pay at that time so that the worker's earnings are at least as much as the worker would have earned during the workweek if the worker had instead been paid at the offered hourly wage for each hour worked.

(b) Wages free and clear. The payment requirements for wages in this section will be satisfied by the timely payment of such wages to the worker either in cash or negotiable instrument payable at par. The payment must be made finally and unconditionally and “free and clear.” The principles applied in determining whether deductions are reasonable and payments are received free and clear and the permissibility of deductions for payments to third persons are explained in more detail in 29 CFR part 531.

(c) Deductions. The employer must make all deductions from the worker's paycheck required by law. The job order must specify all deductions not required by law which the employer will make from the worker's pay; any such deductions not disclosed in the job order are prohibited. The wage payment requirements of paragraph (b) of this section are not met where unauthorized deductions, rebates, or refunds reduce the wage payment made to the worker below the minimum amounts required by the offered wage or where the worker fails to receive such amounts free and clear because the worker “kicks back” directly or indirectly to the employer or to another person for the employer's benefit the whole or part of the wages delivered to the worker. Authorized deductions are limited to: Those required by law, such as taxes payable by workers that are required to be withheld by the employer and amounts due workers which the employer is required by court order to pay to another; deductions for the reasonable cost or fair value of board, lodging, and facilities furnished; and deductions of amounts which are authorized to be paid to third persons for the worker's account and benefit through his or her voluntary assignment or order or which are authorized by a collective bargaining agreement with bona fide representatives of workers which covers the employer. Deductions for amounts paid to third persons for the worker's account and benefit which are not so authorized or are contrary to law or from which the employer, agent or recruiter including any agents or employees of these entities, or any affiliated person derives any payment, rebate, commission, profit, or benefit directly or indirectly, may not be made if they reduce the actual wage paid to the worker below the offered wage indicated on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(d) Job opportunity is full-time. The job opportunity is a full-time temporary position, consistent with §655.5, and the employer must use a single workweek as its standard for computing wages due. An employee's workweek must be a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours—seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It need not coincide with the calendar week but may begin on any day and at any hour of the day.

(e) Job qualifications and requirements. Each job qualification and requirement must be listed in the job order and must be bona fide and consistent with the normal and accepted qualifications and requirements imposed by non-H-2B employers in the same occupation and area of intended employment. The employer's job qualifications and requirements imposed on U.S. workers must not be less favorable than the qualifications and requirements that the employer is imposing or will impose on H-2B workers. A qualification means a characteristic that is necessary to the individual's ability to perform the job in question. A requirement means a term or condition of employment which a worker is required to accept in order to obtain the job opportunity. The CO may require the employer to submit documentation to substantiate the appropriateness of any job qualification and/or requirement specified in the job order.

(f) Three-fourths guarantee. (1) The employer must guarantee to offer the worker employment for a total number of work hours equal to at least three-fourths of the workdays in each 12-week period (each 6-week period if the period of employment covered by the job order is less than 120 days) beginning with the first workday after the arrival of the worker at the place of employment or the advertised first date of need, whichever is later, and ending on the expiration date specified in the job order or in its extensions, if any. See the exception in paragraph (y) of this section.

(2) For purposes of this paragraph (f) a workday means the number of hours in a workday as stated in the job order. The employer must offer a total number of hours of work to ensure the provision of sufficient work to reach the three-fourths guarantee in each 12-week period (each 6-week period if the period of employment covered by the job order is less than 120 days) during the work period specified in the job order, or during any modified job order period to which the worker and employer have mutually agreed and that has been approved by the CO.

(3) In the event the worker begins working later than the specified beginning date the guarantee period begins with the first workday after the arrival of the worker at the place of employment, and continues until the last day during which the job order and all extensions thereof are in effect.

(4) The 12-week periods (6-week periods if the period of employment covered by the job order is less than 120 days) to which the guarantee applies are based upon the workweek used by the employer for pay purposes. The first 12-week period (or 6-week period, as appropriate) also includes any partial workweek, if the first workday after the worker's arrival at the place of employment is not the beginning of the employer's workweek, with the guaranteed number of hours increased on a pro rata basis (thus, the first period may include up to 12 weeks and 6 days (or 6 weeks and 6 days, as appropriate)). The final 12-week period (or 6-week period, as appropriate) includes any time remaining after the last full 12-week period (or 6-week period) ends, and thus may be as short as 1 day, with the guaranteed number of hours decreased on a pro rata basis.

(5) Therefore, if, for example, a job order is for a 32-week period (a period greater than 120 days), during which the normal workdays and work hours for the workweek are specified as 5 days a week, 7 hours per day, the worker would have to be guaranteed employment for at least 315 hours in the first 12-week period (12 weeks × 35 hours/week = 420 hours × 75 percent = 315), at least 315 hours in the second 12-week period, and at least 210 hours (8 weeks × 35 hours/week = 280 hours × 75 percent = 210) in the final partial period. If the job order is for a 16-week period (less than 120 days), during which the normal workdays and work hours for the workweek are specified as 5 days a week, 7 hours per day, the worker would have to be guaranteed employment for at least 157.5 hours (6 weeks × 35 hours/week = 210 hours × 75 percent = 157.5) in the first 6-week period, at least 157.5 hours in the second 6-week period, and at least 105 hours (4 weeks × 35 hours/week = 140 hours × 75 percent = 105) in the final partial period.

(6) If the worker is paid on a piece rate basis, the employer must use the worker's average hourly piece rate earnings or the offered wage, whichever is higher, to calculate the amount due under the guarantee.

(7) A worker may be offered more than the specified hours of work on a single workday. For purposes of meeting the guarantee, however, the worker will not be required to work for more than the number of hours specified in the job order for a workday. The employer, however, may count all hours actually worked in calculating whether the guarantee has been met. If during any 12-week period (6-week period if the period of employment covered by the job order is less than 120 days) during the period of the job order the employer affords the U.S. or H-2B worker less employment than that required under paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the employer must pay such worker the amount the worker would have earned had the worker, in fact, worked for the guaranteed number of days. An employer has not met the work guarantee if the employer has merely offered work on three-fourths of the workdays in an 12-week period (or 6-week period, as appropriate) if each workday did not consist of a full number of hours of work time as specified in the job order.

(8) Any hours the worker fails to work, up to a maximum of the number of hours specified in the job order for a workday, when the worker has been offered an opportunity to work in accordance with paragraph (f)(1) of this section, and all hours of work actually performed (including voluntary work over 8 hours in a workday), may be counted by the employer in calculating whether each 12-week period (or 6-week period, as appropriate) of guaranteed employment has been met. An employer seeking to calculate whether the guaranteed number of hours has been met must maintain the payroll records in accordance with this part.

(g) Impossibility of fulfillment. If, before the expiration date specified in the job order, the services of the worker are no longer required for reasons beyond the control of the employer due to fire, weather, or other Act of God, or similar unforeseeable man-made catastrophic event (such as an oil spill or controlled flooding) that is wholly outside the employer's control that makes the fulfillment of the job order impossible, the employer may terminate the job order with the approval of the CO. In the event of such termination of a job order, the employer must fulfill a three-fourths guarantee, as described in paragraph (f) of this section, for the time that has elapsed from the start date listed in the job order or the first workday after the arrival of the worker at the place of employment, whichever is later, to the time of its termination. The employer must make efforts to transfer the H-2B worker or worker in corresponding employment to other comparable employment acceptable to the worker and consistent with the INA, as applicable. If a transfer is not effected, the employer must return the worker, at the employer's expense, to the place from which the worker (disregarding intervening employment) came to work for the employer, or transport the worker to the worker's next certified H-2B employer, whichever the worker prefers.

(h) Frequency of pay. The employer must state in the job order the frequency with which the worker will be paid, which must be at least every 2 weeks or according to the prevailing practice in the area of intended employment, whichever is more frequent. Employers must pay wages when due.

(i) Earnings statements. (1) The employer must keep accurate and adequate records with respect to the workers' earnings, including but not limited to: Records showing the nature, amount and location(s) of the work performed; the number of hours of work offered each day by the employer (broken out by hours offered both in accordance with and over and above the three-fourths guarantee in paragraph (f) of this section); the hours actually worked each day by the worker; if the number of hours worked by the worker is less than the number of hours offered, the reason(s) the worker did not work; the time the worker began and ended each workday; the rate of pay (both piece rate and hourly, if applicable); the worker's earnings per pay period; the worker's home address; and the amount of and reasons for any and all deductions taken from or additions made to the worker's wages.

(2) The employer must furnish to the worker on or before each payday in one or more written statements the following information:

(i) The worker's total earnings for each workweek in the pay period;

(ii) The worker's hourly rate and/or piece rate of pay;

(iii) For each workweek in the pay period the hours of employment offered to the worker (showing offers in accordance with the three-fourths guarantee as determined in paragraph (f) of this section, separate from any hours offered over and above the guarantee);

(iv) For each workweek in the pay period the hours actually worked by the worker;

(v) An itemization of all deductions made from or additions made to the worker's wages;

(vi) If piece rates are used, the units produced daily;

(vii) The beginning and ending dates of the pay period; and

(viii) The employer's name, address and FEIN.

(j) Transportation and visa fees. (1)(i) Transportation to the place of employment. The employer must provide or reimburse the worker for transportation and subsistence from the place from which the worker has come to work for the employer, whether in the U.S. or abroad, to the place of employment if the worker completes 50 percent of the period of employment covered by the job order (not counting any extensions). The employer may arrange and pay for the transportation and subsistence directly, advance at a minimum the most economical and reasonable common carrier cost of the transportation and subsistence to the worker before the worker's departure, or pay the worker for the reasonable costs incurred by the worker. When it is the prevailing practice of non-H-2B employers in the occupation in the area to do so or when the employer extends such benefits to similarly situated H-2B workers, the employer must advance the required transportation and subsistence costs (or otherwise provide them) to workers in corresponding employment who are traveling to the employer's worksite. The amount of the transportation payment must be no less (and is not required to be more) than the most economical and reasonable common carrier transportation charges for the distances involved. The amount of the daily subsistence must be at least the amount permitted in §655.173. Where the employer will reimburse the reasonable costs incurred by the worker, it must keep accurate and adequate records of: The costs of transportation and subsistence incurred by the worker; the amount reimbursed; and the date(s) of reimbursement. Note that the FLSA applies independently of the H-2B requirements and imposes obligations on employers regarding payment of wages.

(ii) Transportation from the place of employment. If the worker completes the period of employment covered by the job order (not counting any extensions), or if the worker is dismissed from employment for any reason by the employer before the end of the period, and the worker has no immediate subsequent H-2B employment, the employer must provide or pay at the time of departure for the worker's cost of return transportation and daily subsistence from the place of employment to the place from which the worker, disregarding intervening employment, departed to work for the employer. If the worker has contracted with a subsequent employer that has not agreed in the job order to provide or pay for the worker's transportation from the employer's worksite to such subsequent employer's worksite, the employer must provide or pay for that transportation and subsistence. If the worker has contracted with a subsequent employer that has agreed in the job order to provide or pay for the worker's transportation from the employer's worksite to such subsequent employer's worksite, the subsequent employer must provide or pay for such expenses.

(iii) Employer-provided transportation. All employer-provided transportation must comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations and must provide, at a minimum, the same vehicle safety standards, driver licensure requirements, and vehicle insurance as required under 49 CFR parts 390, 393, and 396.

(iv) Disclosure. All transportation and subsistence costs that the employer will pay must be disclosed in the job order.

(2) The employer must pay or reimburse the worker in the first workweek for all visa, visa processing, border crossing, and other related fees (including those mandated by the government) incurred by the H-2B worker, but not for passport expenses or other charges primarily for the benefit of the worker.

(k) Employer-provided items. The employer must provide to the worker, without charge or deposit charge, all tools, supplies, and equipment required to perform the duties assigned.

(l) Disclosure of job order. The employer must provide to an H-2B worker outside of the U.S. no later than the time at which the worker applies for the visa, or to a worker in corresponding employment no later than on the day work commences, a copy of the job order including any subsequent approved modifications. For an H-2B worker changing employment from an H-2B employer to a subsequent H-2B employer, the copy must be provided no later than the time an offer of employment is made by the subsequent H-2B employer. The disclosure of all documents required by this paragraph (l) must be provided in a language understood by the worker, as necessary or reasonable.

(m) Notice of worker rights. The employer must post and maintain in a conspicuous location at the place of employment a poster provided by the Department of Labor that sets out the rights and protections for H-2B workers and workers in corresponding employment. The employer must post the poster in English. To the extent necessary, the employer must request and post additional posters, as made available by the Department of Labor, in any language common to a significant portion of the workers if they are not fluent in English.

(n) No unfair treatment. The employer has not and will not intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge or in any manner discriminate against, and has not and will not cause any person to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, or in any manner discriminate against, any person who has:

(1) Filed a complaint under or related to 8 U.S.C. 1184(c), section 214(c) of the INA, 29 CFR part 503, or this subpart, or any other regulation promulgated thereunder;

(2) Instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to 8 U.S.C. 1184(c), section 214(c) of the INA, 29 CFR part 503, or this subpart or any other regulation promulgated thereunder;

(3) Testified or is about to testify in any proceeding under or related to 8 U.S.C. 1184(c), section 214(c) of the INA, 29 CFR part 503, or this subpart or any other regulation promulgated thereunder;

(4) Consulted with a workers' center, community organization, labor union, legal assistance program, or an attorney on matters related to 8 U.S.C. 1184(c), section 214(c) of the INA, 29 CFR part 503, or this subpart or any other regulation promulgated thereunder; or

(5) Exercised or asserted on behalf of himself/herself or others any right or protection afforded by 8 U.S.C. 1184(c), section 214(c) of the INA, 29 CFR part 503, or this subpart or any other regulation promulgated thereunder.

(o) Comply with the prohibitions against employees paying fees. The employer and its attorney, agents, or employees have not sought or received payment of any kind from the worker for any activity related to obtaining H-2B labor certification or employment, including payment of the employer's attorney or agent fees, application and H-2B Petition fees, recruitment costs, or any fees attributed to obtaining the approved Application for Temporary Employment Certification. For purposes of this paragraph (o), payment includes, but is not limited to, monetary payments, wage concessions (including deductions from wages, salary, or benefits), kickbacks, bribes, tributes, in-kind payments, and free labor. All wages must be paid free and clear. This provision does not prohibit employers or their agents from receiving reimbursement for costs that are the responsibility and primarily for the benefit of the worker, such as government-required passport fees.

(p) Contracts with third parties to comply with prohibitions. The employer must contractually prohibit in writing any agent or recruiter (or any agent or employee of such agent or recruiter) whom the employer engages, either directly or indirectly, in recruitment of H-2B workers to seek or receive payments or other compensation from prospective workers. The contract must include the following statement: “Under this agreement, [name of agent, recruiter] and any agent of or employee of [name of agent or recruiter] are prohibited from seeking or receiving payments from any prospective employee of [employer name] at any time, including before or after the worker obtains employment. Payments include but are not limited to, any direct or indirect fees paid by such employees for recruitment, job placement, processing, maintenance, attorneys' fees, agent fees, application fees, or petition fees.”

(q) Prohibition against preferential treatment of foreign workers. The employer's job offer must offer to U.S. workers no less than the same benefits, wages, and working conditions that the employer is offering, intends to offer, or will provide to H-2B workers. Job offers may not impose on U.S. workers any restrictions or obligations that will not be imposed on the employer's H-2B workers. This does not relieve the employer from providing to H-2B workers at least the minimum benefits, wages, and working conditions which must be offered to U.S. workers consistent with this section.

(r) Non-discriminatory hiring practices. The job opportunity is, and through the period set forth in paragraph (t) of this section must continue to be, open to any qualified U.S. worker regardless of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, or citizenship. Rejections of any U.S. workers who applied or apply for the job must only be for lawful, job-related reasons, and those not rejected on this basis have been or will be hired. In addition, the employer has and will continue to retain records of all hired workers and rejected applicants as required by §655.56.

(s) Recruitment requirements. The employer must conduct all required recruitment activities, including any additional employer-conducted recruitment activities as directed by the CO, and as specified in §§655.40 through 655.46.

(t) Continuing requirement to hire U.S. workers. The employer has and will continue to cooperate with the SWA by accepting referrals of all qualified U.S. workers who apply (or on whose behalf a job application is made) for the job opportunity, and must provide employment to any qualified U.S. worker who applies to the employer for the job opportunity, until 21 days before the date of need.

(u) No strike or lockout. There is no strike or lockout at any of the employer's worksites within the area of intended employment for which the employer is requesting H-2B certification at the time the Application for Temporary Employment Certification is filed.

(v) No recent or future layoffs. The employer has not laid off and will not lay off any similarly employed U.S. worker in the occupation that is the subject of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification in the area of intended employment within the period beginning 120 calendar days before the date of need through the end of the period of certification. A layoff for lawful, job-related reasons such as lack of work or the end of a season is permissible if all H-2B workers are laid off before any U.S. worker in corresponding employment.

(w) Contact with former U.S. employees. The employer will contact (by mail or other effective means) its former U.S. workers, including those who have been laid off within 120 calendar days before the date of need (except those who were dismissed for cause or who abandoned the worksite), employed by the employer in the occupation at the place of employment during the previous year, disclose the terms of the job order, and solicit their return to the job.

(x) Area of intended employment and job opportunity. The employer must not place any H-2B workers employed under the approved Application for Temporary Employment Certification outside the area of intended employment or in a job opportunity not listed on the approved Application for Temporary Employment Certification unless the employer has obtained a new approved Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(y) Abandonment/termination of employment. Upon the separation from employment of worker(s) employed under the Application for Temporary Employment Certification or workers in corresponding employment, if such separation occurs before the end date of the employment specified in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the employer must notify OFLC in writing of the separation from employment not later than 2 work days after such separation is discovered by the employer. In addition, the employer must notify DHS in writing (or any other method specified by the Department of Labor or DHS in the Federal Register or the Code of Federal Regulations) of such separation of an H-2B worker. An abandonment or abscondment is deemed to begin after a worker fails to report for work at the regularly scheduled time for 5 consecutive working days without the consent of the employer. If the separation is due to the voluntary abandonment of employment by the H-2B worker or worker in corresponding employment, and the employer provides appropriate notification specified under this paragraph (y), the employer will not be responsible for providing or paying for the subsequent transportation and subsistence expenses of that worker under this section, and that worker is not entitled to the three-fourths guarantee described in paragraph (f) of this section. The employer's obligation to guarantee three-fourths of the work described in paragraph (f) ends with the last full 12-week period (or 6-week period, as appropriate) preceding the worker's voluntary abandonment or termination for cause.

(z) Compliance with applicable laws. During the period of employment specified on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the employer must comply with all applicable Federal, State and local employment-related laws and regulations, including health and safety laws. This includes compliance with 18 U.S.C. 1592(a), with respect to prohibitions against employers, the employer's agents or their attorneys knowingly holding, destroying or confiscating workers' passports, visas, or other immigration documents.

(aa) Disclosure of foreign worker recruitment. The employer, and its attorney or agent, as applicable, must comply with §655.9 by providing a copy of all agreements with any agent or recruiter whom it engages or plans to engage in the recruitment of H-2B workers, and the identity and location of the persons or entities hired by or working for the agent or recruiter and any of the agents or employees of those persons and entities, to recruit foreign workers. Pursuant to §655.15(a), the agreements and information must be filed with the Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(bb) Cooperation with investigators. The employer must cooperate with any employee of the Secretary who is exercising or attempting to exercise the Department's authority pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(14)(B), section 214(c)(14)(B) of the INA.

§§655.21-655.29   [Reserved]

Processing of an Application for Temporary Employment Certification

§655.30   Processing of an application and job order.

(a) NPC review. The CO will review the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order for compliance with all applicable program requirements.

(b) Mailing and postmark requirements. Any notice or request sent by the CO to an employer requiring a response will be mailed to the address provided in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification using methods to assure next day delivery, including electronic mail. The employer's response to such a notice or request must be mailed using methods to assure next day delivery, including electronic mail, and be sent by the due date or the next business day if the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday.

(c) Information dissemination. OFLC may forward information received in the course of processing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification and program integrity measures to WHD, or any other Federal agency, as appropriate, for investigation and/or enforcement purposes.

§655.31   Notice of deficiency.

(a) Notification timeline. If the CO determines the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and/or job order is incomplete, contains errors or inaccuracies, or does not meet the requirements set forth in this subpart, the CO will notify the employer within 7 business days from the CO's receipt of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. If applicable, the Notice of Deficiency will include job order deficiencies identified by the SWA under §655.16. The CO will send a copy of the Notice of Deficiency to the SWA serving the area of intended employment identified by the employer on its job order, and if applicable, to the employer's attorney or agent.

(b) Notice content. The Notice of Deficiency will:

(1) State the reason(s) why the Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order fails to meet the criteria for acceptance and state the modification needed for the CO to issue a Notice of Acceptance;

(2) Offer the employer an opportunity to submit a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order within 10 business days from the date of the Notice of Deficiency. The Notice will state the modification needed for the CO to issue a Notice of Acceptance;

(3) Offer the employer an opportunity to request administrative review of the Notice of Deficiency before an ALJ under provisions set forth in §655.61. The Notice will inform the employer that it must submit a written request for review to the Chief ALJ of DOL within 10 business days from the date the Notice of Deficiency is issued by facsimile or other means normally assuring next day delivery, and that the employer must simultaneously serve a copy on the CO. The Notice will also state that the employer may submit any legal arguments that the employer believes will rebut the basis of the CO's action; and

(4) State that if the employer does not comply with the requirements of this section by either submitting a modified application within 10 business days or requesting administrative review before an ALJ under §655.61, the CO will deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The Notice will inform the employer that the denial of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification is final, and cannot be appealed. The Department of Labor will not further consider that Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

§655.32   Submission of a modified application or job order.

(a) Review of a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order. Upon receipt of a response to a Notice of Deficiency, including any modifications, the CO will review the response. The CO may issue one or more additional Notices of Deficiency before issuing a decision. The employer's failure to comply with a Notice of Deficiency, including not responding in a timely manner or not providing all required documentation, will result in a denial of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(b) Acceptance of a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order. If the CO accepts the modification(s) to the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and/or job order, the CO will issue a Notice of Acceptance to the employer. The CO will send a copy of the Notice of Acceptance to the SWA instructing it to make any necessary modifications to the not yet posted job order and, if applicable, to the employer's attorney or agent, and follow the procedure set forth in §655.33.

(c) Denial of a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order. If the CO finds the response to Notice of Deficiency unacceptable, the CO will deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification in accordance with the labor certification determination provisions in §655.51.

(d) Appeal from denial of a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order. The procedures for appealing a denial of a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification and/or job order are the same as for appealing the denial of a non-modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification outlined in §655.61.

(e) Post acceptance modifications. Irrespective of the decision to accept the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the CO may require modifications to the job order at any time before the final determination to grant or deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification if the CO determines that the offer of employment does not contain all the minimum benefits, wages, and working condition provisions as set forth in §655.18. The employer must make such modification, or certification will be denied under §655.53. The employer must provide all workers recruited in connection with the job opportunity in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification with a copy of the modified job order no later than the date work commences, as approved by the CO.

§655.33   Notice of acceptance.

(a) Notification timeline. If the CO determines the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order are complete and meet the requirements of this subpart, the CO will notify the employer in writing within 7 business days from the date the CO received the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order or modification thereof. A copy of the Notice of Acceptance will be sent to the SWA serving the area of intended employment identified by the employer on its job order and, if applicable, to the employer's attorney or agent.

(b) Notice content. The notice will:

(1) Direct the employer to engage in recruitment of U.S. workers as provided in §§655.40 through 655.46, including any additional recruitment ordered by the CO under §655.46;

(2) State that such employer-conducted recruitment is in addition to the job order being circulated by the SWA(s) and that the employer must conduct recruitment within 14 calendar days from the date the Notice of Acceptance is issued, consistent with §655.40;

(3) Direct the SWA to place the job order into intra- and interstate clearance as set forth in §655.16 and to commence such clearance by:

(i) Sending a copy of the job order to other States listed as anticipated worksites in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order, if applicable; and

(ii) Sending a copy of the job order to the SWAs for all States designated by the CO for interstate clearance;

(4) Instruct the SWA to keep the approved job order on its active file until the end of the recruitment period as defined in §655.40(c), and to transmit the same instruction to other SWAs to which it circulates the job order in the course of interstate clearance;

(5) Where the occupation or industry is traditionally or customarily unionized, direct the SWA to circulate a copy of the job order to the following labor organizations:

(i) The central office of the State Federation of Labor in the State(s) in which work will be performed; and

(ii) The office(s) of local union(s) representing employees in the same or substantially equivalent job classification in the area(s) in which work will be performed;

(6) Advise the employer, as appropriate, that it must contact the appropriate designated community-based organization(s) with notice of the job opportunity; and

(7) Require the employer to submit a report of its recruitment efforts as specified in §655.48.

§655.34   Electronic job registry.

(a) Location of and placement in the electronic job registry. Upon acceptance of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification under §655.33, the CO will place for public examination a copy of the job order posted by the SWA on the Department's electronic job registry, including any amendments or required modifications approved by the CO.

(b) Length of posting on electronic job registry. The Department of Labor will keep the job order posted on the electronic job registry until the end of the recruitment period, as set forth in §655.40(c).

(c) Conclusion of active posting. Once the recruitment period has concluded the job order will be placed in inactive status on the electronic job registry.

§655.35   Amendments to an application or job order.

(a) Increases in number of workers. The employer may request to increase the number of workers noted in the H-2B Registration by no more than 20 percent (50 percent for employers requesting fewer than 10 workers). All requests for increasing the number of workers must be made in writing and will not be effective until approved by the CO. In considering whether to approve the request, the CO will determine whether the proposed amendment(s) are sufficiently justified and must take into account the effect of the changes on the underlying labor market test for the job opportunity. Upon acceptance of an amendment, the CO will submit to the SWA any necessary changes to the job order and update the electronic job registry. The employer must promptly provide copies of any approved amendments to all U.S. workers hired under the original job order.

(b) Minor changes to the period of employment. The employer may request minor changes to the total period of employment listed on its Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order, for a period of up to 14 days, but the period of employment may not exceed a total of 9 months, except in the event of a one-time occurrence. All requests for minor changes to the total period of employment must be made in writing and will not be effective until approved by the CO. In considering whether to approve the request, the CO will determine whether the proposed amendment(s) are sufficiently justified and must take into account the effect of the changes on the underlying labor market test for the job opportunity. Upon acceptance of an amendment, the CO will submit to the SWA any necessary changes to the job order and update the electronic job registry. The employer must promptly provide copies of any approved amendments to all U.S. workers hired under the original job order

(c) Other amendments to the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order. The employer may request other amendments to the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order. All such requests must be made in writing and will not be effective until approved by the CO. In considering whether to approve the request, the CO will determine whether the proposed amendment(s) are sufficiently justified and must take into account the effect of the changes on the underlying labor market test for the job opportunity. Upon acceptance of an amendment, the CO will submit to the SWA any necessary changes to the job order and update the electronic job registry.

(d) Amendments after certification are not permitted. The employer must promptly provide copies of any approved amendments to all U.S. workers hired under the original job order.

§§655.36-655.39   [Reserved]

Post-Acceptance Requirements

§655.40   Employer-conducted recruitment.

(a) Employer obligations. Employers must conduct recruitment of U.S. workers to ensure that there are not qualified U.S. workers who will be available for the positions listed in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. U.S. Applicants can be rejected only for lawful job-related reasons.

(b) Employer-conducted recruitment period. Unless otherwise instructed by the CO, the employer must conduct the recruitment described in §§655.43 through 655.46 within 14 calendar days from the date the Notice of Acceptance is issued. All employer-conducted recruitment must be completed before the employer submits the recruitment report as required in §655.48.

(c) U.S. workers. Employers must continue to accept referrals and applications of all U.S. applicants interested in the position until 21 days before the date of need.

(d) Interviewing U.S. workers. Employers that wish to require interviews must conduct those interviews by phone or provide a procedure for the interviews to be conducted in the location where the worker is being recruited so that the worker incurs little or no cost. Employers cannot provide potential H-2B workers with more favorable treatment with respect to the requirement for, and conduct of, interviews.

(e) Qualified and available U.S. workers. The employer must consider all U.S. applicants for the job opportunity. The employer must accept and hire any applicants who are qualified and who will be available.

(f) Recruitment report. The employer must prepare a recruitment report meeting the requirements of §655.48.

[42 FR 45899, Sept. 13, 1977, as amended at 84 FR 62446, Nov. 15, 2019]

§655.41   Advertising requirements.

(a) All recruitment conducted under §§655.43 through 655.46 must contain terms and conditions of employment that are not less favorable than those offered to the H-2B workers and, at a minimum, must comply with the assurances applicable to job orders as set forth in §655.18(a).

(b) All advertising must contain the following information:

(1) The employer's name and contact information;

(2) The geographic area of intended employment with enough specificity to apprise applicants of any travel requirements and where applicants will likely have to reside to perform the services or labor;

(3) A description of the job opportunity for which certification is sought with sufficient information to apprise U.S. workers of the services or labor to be performed, including the duties, the minimum education and experience requirements, the work hours and days, and the anticipated start and end dates of the job opportunity;

(4) A statement that the job opportunity is a temporary, full-time position including the total number of job openings the employer intends to fill;

(5) If applicable, a statement that overtime will be available to the worker and the wage offer(s) for working any overtime hours;

(6) If applicable, a statement indicating that on-the-job training will be provided to the worker;

(7) The wage that the employer is offering, intends to offer or will provide to the H-2B workers or, in the event that there are multiple wage offers, the range of applicable wage offers, each of which must equal or exceed the highest of the prevailing wage or the Federal, State, or local minimum wage;

(8) If applicable, any board, lodging, or other facilities the employer will offer to workers or intends to assist workers in securing;

(9) All deductions not required by law that the employer will make from the worker's paycheck, including, if applicable, reasonable deduction for board, lodging, and other facilities offered to the workers;

(10) A statement that transportation and subsistence from the place where the worker has come to work for the employer to the place of employment and return transportation and subsistence will be provided, as required by §655.20(j)(1);

(11) If applicable, a statement that work tools, supplies, and equipment will be provided to the worker without charge;

(12) If applicable, a statement that daily transportation to and from the worksite will be provided by the employer;

(13) A statement summarizing the three-fourths guarantee as required by §655.20(f); and

(14) A statement directing applicants to apply for the job opportunity at the nearest office of the SWA in the State in which the advertisement appeared, the SWA contact information, and, if applicable, the job order number.

[42 FR 45899, Sept. 13, 1977, as amended at 84 FR 62446, Nov. 15, 2019]

§655.42   [Reserved]

§655.43   Contact with former U.S. employees.

The employer must contact (by mail or other effective means) its former U.S. workers, including those who have been laid off within 120 calendar days before the date of need, employed by the employer in the occupation at the place of employment during the previous year (except those who were dismissed for cause or who abandoned the worksite), disclose the terms of the job order, and solicit their return to the job. The employer must maintain documentation sufficient to prove such contact in accordance with §655.56.

§655.44   [Reserved]

§655.45   Contact with bargaining representative, posting and other contact requirements.

(a) If there is a bargaining representative for any of the employer's employees in the occupation and area of intended employment, the employer must provide written notice of the job opportunity, by providing a copy of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and the job order, and maintain documentation that it was sent to the bargaining representative(s). An employer governed by this paragraph (a) must include information in its recruitment report that confirms that the bargaining representative(s) was contacted and notified of the position openings and whether the organization referred qualified U.S. worker(s), including the number of referrals, or was non-responsive to the employer's requests.

(b) If there is no bargaining representative, the employer must post the availability of the job opportunity in at least 2 conspicuous locations at the place(s) of anticipated employment or in some other manner that provides reasonable notification to all employees in the job classification and area in which the work will be performed by the H-2B workers. Electronic posting, such as displaying the notice prominently on any internal or external Web site that is maintained by the employer and customarily used for notices to employees about terms and conditions of employment, is sufficient to meet this posting requirement as long as it otherwise meets the requirements of this section. The notice must meet the requirements under §655.41 and be posted for at least 15 consecutive business days. The employer must maintain a copy of the posted notice and identify where and when it was posted in accordance with §655.56.

(c) If appropriate to the occupation and area of intended employment, as indicated by the CO in the Notice of Acceptance, the employer must provide written notice of the job opportunity to a community-based organization, and maintain documentation that it was sent to any designated community-based organization. An employer governed by this paragraph (c) must include information in its recruitment report that confirms that the community-based organization was contacted and notified of the position openings and whether the organization referred qualified U.S. worker(s), including the number of referrals, or was non-responsive to the employer's requests.

§655.46   Additional employer-conducted recruitment.

(a) Requirement to conduct additional recruitment. The employer may be instructed by the CO to conduct additional reasonable recruitment. Such recruitment may be required at the discretion of the CO where the CO has determined that there is a likelihood that U.S. workers who are qualified and will be available for the work, including but not limited to where the job opportunity is located in an Area of Substantial Unemployment.

(b) Nature of the additional employer-conducted recruitment. The CO will describe the precise number and nature of the additional recruitment efforts. Additional recruitment may include, but is not limited to, posting on the employer's Web site or another Web site, contact with additional community-based organizations, additional contact with State One-Stop Career Centers, and other print advertising, such as using a professional, trade or ethnic publication where such a publication is appropriate for the occupation and the workers likely to apply for the job opportunity. When assessing the appropriateness of a particular recruitment method, the CO will consider the cost of the additional recruitment and the likelihood that the additional recruitment method(s) will identify qualified and available U.S. workers.

(c) Proof of the additional employer-conducted recruitment. The CO will specify the documentation or other supporting evidence that must be maintained by the employer as proof that the additional recruitment requirements were met. Documentation must be maintained as required in §655.56.

§655.47   Referrals of U.S. workers.

SWAs may only refer for employment individuals who have been apprised of all the material terms and conditions of employment and who are qualified and will be available for employment.

§655.48   Recruitment report.

(a) Requirements of the recruitment report. The employer must prepare, sign, and date a recruitment report. Where recruitment was conducted by a job contractor or its employer-client, both joint employers must sign the recruitment report in accordance with §655.19(e). The recruitment report must be submitted by a date specified by the CO in the Notice of Acceptance and contain the following information:

(1) The name of each recruitment activity or source (e.g., job order and the name of the newspaper);

(2) The name and contact information of each U.S. worker who applied or was referred to the job opportunity up to the date of the preparation of the recruitment report, and the disposition of each worker's application. The employer must clearly indicate whether the job opportunity was offered to the U.S. worker and whether the U.S. worker accepted or declined;

(3) Confirmation that former U.S. employees were contacted, if applicable, and by what means;

(4) Confirmation that the bargaining representative was contacted, if applicable, and by what means, or that the employer posted the availability of the job opportunity to all employees in the job classification and area in which the work will be performed by the H-2B workers;

(5) Confirmation that the community-based organization designated by the CO was contacted, if applicable;

(6) If applicable, confirmation that additional recruitment was conducted as directed by the CO; and

(7) If applicable, for each U.S. worker who applied for the position but was not hired, the lawful job-related reason(s) for not hiring the U.S. worker.

(b) Duty to update recruitment report. The employer must continue to update the recruitment report throughout the recruitment period. In a joint employment situation, either the job contractor or the employer-client may update the recruitment report. The updated report must be signed, dated and need not be submitted to the Department of Labor, but must be made available in the event of a post-certification audit or upon request by DOL.

§655.49   [Reserved]

Labor Certification Determinations

§655.50   Determinations.

(a) Certifying Officers (COs). The Administrator, OFLC is the Department's National CO. The Administrator, OFLC and the CO(s), by virtue of delegation from the Administrator, OFLC, have the authority to certify or deny Applications for Temporary Employment Certification under the H-2B nonimmigrant classification. If the Administrator, OFLC directs that certain types of temporary labor certification applications or a specific Application for Temporary Employment Certification under the H-2B nonimmigrant classification be handled by the OFLC's National Office, the Director of the NPC will refer such applications to the Administrator, OFLC.

(b) Determination. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (b), the CO will make a determination either to certify or deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The CO will certify the application only if the employer has met all the requirements of this subpart, including the criteria for certification in §655.51, thus demonstrating that there is an insufficient number of U.S. workers who are qualified and who will be available for the job opportunity for which certification is sought and that the employment of the H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

§655.51   Criteria for certification.

(a) The criteria for certification include whether the employer has a valid H-2B Registration to participate in the H-2B program and has complied with all of the requirements necessary to grant the labor certification.

(b) In making a determination whether there are insufficient U.S. workers to fill the employer's job opportunity, the CO will count as available any U.S. worker referred by the SWA or any U.S. worker who applied (or on whose behalf an application is made) directly to the employer, but who was rejected by the employer for other than a lawful job-related reason.

(c) A certification will not be granted to an employer that has failed to comply with one or more sanctions or remedies imposed by final agency actions under the H-2B program.

§655.52   Approved certification.

If a temporary labor certification is granted, the CO will send the approved Application for Temporary Employment Certification and a Final Determination letter to the employer by means normally assuring next day delivery, including electronic mail, and a copy, if applicable, to the employer's attorney or agent. If the Application for Temporary Employment Certification is electronically filed, the employer must sign the certified Application for Temporary Employment Certification as directed by the CO. The employer must retain a signed copy of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and the original signed Appendix B of the Application, as required by §655.56.

§655.53   Denied certification.

If a temporary labor certification is denied, the CO will send the Final Determination letter to the employer by means normally assuring next day delivery, including electronic mail, and a copy, if applicable, to the employer's attorney or agent. The Final Determination letter will:

(a) State the reason(s) certification is denied, citing the relevant regulatory standards;

(b) Offer the employer an opportunity to request administrative review of the denial under §655.61; and

(c) State that if the employer does not request administrative review in accordance with §655.61, the denial is final and the Department of Labor will not accept any appeal on that Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

§655.54   Partial certification.

The CO may issue a partial certification, reducing either the period of need or the number of H-2B workers or both for certification, based upon information the CO receives during the course of processing the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The number of workers certified will be reduced by one for each U.S. worker who is qualified and who will be available at the time and place needed to perform the services or labor and who has not been rejected for lawful job-related reasons. If a partial labor certification is issued, the CO will amend the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and then return it to the employer with a Final Determination letter, with a copy to the employer's attorney or agent, if applicable. The Final Determination letter will:

(a) State the reason(s) why either the period of need and/or the number of H-2B workers requested has been reduced, citing the relevant regulatory standards;

(b) If applicable, address the availability of U.S. workers in the occupation;

(c) Offer the employer an opportunity to request administrative review of the partial certification under §655.61; and

(d) State that if the employer does not request administrative review in accordance with §655.61, the partial certification is final and the Department of Labor will not accept any appeal on that Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

§655.55   Validity of temporary labor certification.

(a) Validity period. A temporary labor certification is valid only for the period as approved on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The certification expires on the last day of authorized employment.

(b) Scope of validity. A temporary labor certification is valid only for the number of H-2B positions, the area of intended employment, the job classification and specific services or labor to be performed, and the employer specified on the approved Application for Temporary Employment Certification, including any approved modifications. The temporary labor certification may not be transferred from one employer to another unless the employer to which it is transferred is a successor in interest to the employer to which it was issued.

§655.56   Document retention requirements of H-2B employers.

(a) Entities required to retain documents. All employers filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification requesting H-2B workers are required to retain the documents and records proving compliance with 29 CFR part 503 and this subpart, including but not limited to those specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) Period of required retention. The employer must retain records and documents for 3 years from the date of certification of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, or from the date of adjudication if the Application for Temporary Employment Certification is denied, or 3 years from the day the Department of Labor receives the letter of withdrawal provided in accordance with §655.62. For the purposes of this section, records and documents required to be retained in connection with an H-2B Registration must be retained in connection with all of the Applications for Temporary Employment Certification that are supported by it.

(c) Documents and records to be retained by all employer applicants. All employers filing an H-2B Registration and an Application for Temporary Employment Certification must retain the following documents and records and must provide the documents and records to the Department of Labor and other Federal agencies in the event of an audit or investigation:

(1) Documents and records not previously submitted during the registration process that substantiate temporary need;

(2) Proof of recruitment efforts, as applicable, including:

(i) Job order placement as specified in §655.16;

(ii) Contact with former U.S. workers as specified in §655.43;

(iii) Contact with bargaining representative(s), or a copy of the posting of the job opportunity, if applicable, as specified in §655.45(a) or (b); and

(iv) Additional employer-conducted recruitment efforts as specified in §655.46;

(3) Substantiation of the information submitted in the recruitment report prepared in accordance with §655.48, such as evidence of nonapplicability of contact with former workers as specified in §655.43;

(4) The final recruitment report and any supporting resumes and contact information as specified in §655.48;

(5) Records of each worker's earnings, hours offered and worked, location(s) of work performed, and other information as specified in §655.20(i);

(6) If appropriate, records of reimbursement of transportation and subsistence costs incurred by the workers, as specified in §655.20(j).

(7) Evidence of contact with U.S. workers who applied for the job opportunity in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, including documents demonstrating that any rejections of U.S. workers were for lawful, job-related reasons, as specified in §655.20(r);

(8) Evidence of contact with any former U.S. worker in the occupation at the place of employment in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, including documents demonstrating that the U.S. worker had been offered the job opportunity in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, as specified in §655.20(w), and that the U.S. worker either refused the job opportunity or was rejected only for lawful, job-related reasons, as specified in §655.20(r);

(9) The written contracts with agents or recruiters as specified in §§655.8 and 655.9, and the list of the identities and locations of persons hired by or working for the agent or recruiter and these entities' agents or employees, as specified in §655.9;

(10) Written notice provided to and informing OFLC that an H-2B worker or worker in corresponding employment has separated from employment before the end date of employment specified in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, as specified in §655.20(y);

(11) The H-2B Registration, job order and a copy of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and the original signed Appendix B of the Application. If the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and H-2B Registration is electronically filed, a printed copy of each adjudicated Application for Temporary Employment Certification, including any modifications, amendments or extensions must be signed by the employer as directed by the CO and retained;

(12) The H-2B Petition, including all accompanying documents; and

(13) Any collective bargaining agreement(s), individual employment contract(s), or payroll records from the previous year necessary to substantiate any claim that certain incumbent workers are not included in corresponding employment, as specified in §655.5.

(d) Availability of documents for enforcement purposes. An employer must make available to the Administrator, WHD within 72 hours following a request by the WHD the documents and records required under 29 CFR part 503 and this section so that the Administrator, WHD may copy, transcribe, or inspect them.

[42 FR 45899, Sept. 13, 1977, as amended at 84 FR 62446, Nov. 15, 2019]

§655.57   Request for determination based on nonavailability of U.S. workers.

(a) Standards for requests. If a temporary labor certification has been partially granted or denied, based on the CO's determination that qualified U.S. workers are available, and, on or after 21 calendar days before the date of need, some or all of those qualified U.S. workers are, in fact no longer available, the employer may request a new temporary labor certification determination from the CO. Prior to making a new determination the CO will promptly ascertain (which may be through the SWA or other sources of information on U.S. worker availability) whether specific qualified replacement U.S. workers are available or can be reasonably expected to be present at the employer's establishment within 72 hours from the date the employer's request was received. The CO will expeditiously, but in no case later than 72 hours after the time a complete request (including the signed statement included in paragraph (b) of this section) is received, make a determination on the request. An employer may appeal a denial of such a determination in accordance with procedures contained in §655.61.

(b) Unavailability of U.S. workers. The employer's request for a new determination must be made directly to the CO by electronic mail or other appropriate means and must be accompanied by a signed statement confirming the employer's assertion. In addition, unless the employer has provided to the CO notification of abandonment or termination of employment as required by §655.20(y), the employer's signed statement must include the name and contact information of each U.S. worker who became unavailable and must supply the reason why the worker has become unavailable.

(c) Notification of determination. If the CO determines that U.S. workers have become unavailable and cannot identify sufficient available U.S. workers who are qualified or who are likely to become available, the CO will grant the employer's request for a new determination. However, this does not preclude an employer from submitting subsequent requests for new determinations, if warranted, based on subsequent facts concerning purported nonavailability of U.S. workers or referred workers not being qualified because of lawful job-related reasons.

§§655.58-655.59   [Reserved]

Post Certification Activities

§655.60   Extensions.

An employer may apply for extensions of the period of employment in the following circumstances. A request for extension must be related to weather conditions or other factors beyond the control of the employer (which may include unforeseeable changes in market conditions), and must be supported in writing, with documentation showing why the extension is needed and that the need could not have been reasonably foreseen by the employer. The CO will notify the employer of the decision in writing. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the CO will not grant an extension where the total work period under that Application for Temporary Employment Certification and the authorized extension would exceed 9 months for employers whose temporary need is seasonal, peakload, or intermittent, or 3 years for employers that have a one-time occurrence of temporary need. The employer may appeal a denial of a request for an extension by following the procedures in §655.61. The H-2B employer's assurances and obligations under the temporary labor certification will continue to apply during the extended period of employment. The employer must immediately provide to its workers a copy of any approved extension.

§655.61   Administrative review.

(a) Request for review. Where authorized in this subpart, employers may request an administrative review before the BALCA of a determination by the CO. In such cases, the request for review:

(1) Must be sent to the BALCA, with a copy simultaneously sent to the CO who issued the determination, within 10 business days from the date of determination;

(2) Must clearly identify the particular determination for which review is sought;

(3) Must set forth the particular grounds for the request;

(4) Must include a copy of the CO's determination; and

(5) May contain only legal argument and such evidence as was actually submitted to the CO before the date the CO's determination was issued.

(b) Appeal file. Upon the receipt of a request for review, the CO will, within 7 business days, assemble and submit the Appeal File using means to ensure same day or next day delivery, to the BALCA, the employer, and the Associate Solicitor for Employment and Training Legal Services, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor.

(c) Briefing schedule. Within 7 business days of receipt of the Appeal File, the counsel for the CO may submit, using means to ensure same day or next day delivery, a brief in support of the CO's decision.

(d) Assignment. The Chief ALJ may designate a single member or a three member panel of the BALCA to consider a particular case.

(e) Review. The BALCA must review the CO's determination only on the basis of the Appeal File, the request for review, and any legal briefs submitted and must:

(1) Affirm the CO's determination; or

(2) Reverse or modify the CO's determination; or

(3) Remand to the CO for further action.

(f) Decision. The BALCA should notify the employer, the CO, and counsel for the CO of its decision within 7 business days of the submission of the CO's brief or 10 business days after receipt of the Appeal File, whichever is later, using means to ensure same day or next day delivery.

§655.62   Withdrawal of an Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

Employers may withdraw an Application for Temporary Employment Certification after it has been accepted and before it is adjudicated. The employer must request such withdrawal in writing.

§655.63   Public disclosure.

The Department of Labor will maintain an electronic file accessible to the public with information on all employers applying for temporary nonagricultural labor certifications. The database will include such information as the number of workers requested, the date filed, the date decided, and the final disposition.

§655.65   Special Document Retention Provisions for Fiscal Years 2017 through 2020 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act.

(a) An employer that files a petition with USCIS to employ H-2B workers in fiscal year 2017 under authority of the temporary increase in the numerical limitation under Public Law 115-31 must maintain for a period of 3 years from the date of certification, consistent with 20 CFR 655.56 and 29 CFR 503.17, the following:

(1) A copy of the attestation filed pursuant to regulations governing that temporary increase;

(2) Evidence establishing that employer's business is likely to suffer irreparable harm (that is, permanent and severe financial loss), if it cannot employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers in fiscal year 2017;

(3) If applicable, evidence of additional recruitment and a recruitment report that meets the requirements set forth in 20 CFR 655.48(a)(1), (2), and (7).

DOL or DHS may inspect these documents upon request.

(b) This section expires on October 1, 2020.

Effective Date Note: At 82 FR 32999, July 19, 2017, §655.65 was added, effective July 19, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2020.

§655.66   Special document retention provisions for Fiscal Years 2018 through 2021 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Public Law 115-141.

(a) An employer that files a petition with USCIS to employ H-2B workers in fiscal year 2018 under authority of the temporary increase in the numerical limitation under section 205 of Division M, Public Law 115-141 must maintain for a period of 3 years from the date of certification, consistent with 20 CFR 655.56 and 29 CFR 503.17, the following:

(1) A copy of the attestation filed pursuant to regulations governing that temporary increase;

(2) Evidence establishing that employer's business is likely to suffer irreparable harm (that is, permanent and severe financial loss), if it cannot employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers in fiscal year 2018; and

(3) If applicable, evidence of additional recruitment and a recruitment report that meets the requirements set forth in 20 CFR 655.48(a)(1), (2), and (7).

DOL or DHS may inspect these documents upon request.

(b) This section expires on October 1, 2021.

Effective Date Note: At 83 FR 24918, May 31, 2018, §655.66 was added, effective May 31, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2021.

§655.67   Special document retention provisions for Fiscal Years 2019 through 2022 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019.

(a) An employer who files a petition with USCIS to employ H-2B workers in fiscal year 2019 under authority of the temporary increase in the numerical limitation under section 105 of Division H, Public Law 116-6 must maintain for a period of 3 years from the date of certification, consistent with §655.56 and 29 CFR 503.17, the following:

(1) A copy of the attestation filed pursuant to regulations governing that temporary increase;

(2) Evidence establishing that employer's business is likely to suffer irreparable harm (that is, permanent and severe financial loss), if it cannot employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers in fiscal year 2019; and

(3) Documentary evidence establishing that each of the workers the employer requested and/or instructed to apply for a visa, whether named or unnamed, had been issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status during one of the last three (3) fiscal years (Fiscal Years 2016, 2017 or 2018), as attested to pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(x).

(4) If applicable, evidence of additional recruitment and a recruitment report that meets the requirements set forth in §655.48(a)(1), (2), and (7).

DOL or DHS may inspect these documents upon request.

(b) This section expires on October 1, 2022.

Effective Date Note: At 84 FR 20021, May 8, 2019, §655.67 was added, effective May 8, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2022.

§655.68-655.69   [Reserved]

Integrity Measures

§655.70   Audits.

The CO may conduct audits of adjudicated temporary employment certification applications.

(a) Discretion. The CO has the sole discretion to choose the applications selected for audit.

(b) Audit letter. Where an application is selected for audit, the CO will send an audit letter to the employer and a copy, if appropriate, to the employer's attorney or agent. The audit letter will:

(1) Specify the documentation that must be submitted by the employer;

(2) Specify a date, no more than 30 calendar days from the date the audit letter is issued, by which the required documentation must be sent to the CO; and

(3) Advise that failure to fully comply with the audit process may result:

(i) In the requirement that the employer undergo the assisted recruitment procedures in §655.71 in future filings of H-2B temporary employment certification applications for a period of up to 2 years, or

(ii) In a revocation of the certification and/or debarment from the H-2B program and any other foreign labor certification program administered by the Department Labor.

(c) Supplemental information request. During the course of the audit examination, the CO may request supplemental information and/or documentation from the employer in order to complete the audit. If circumstances warrant, the CO can issue one or more requests for supplemental information.

(d) Potential referrals. In addition to measures in this subpart, the CO may decide to provide the audit findings and underlying documentation to DHS, WHD, or other appropriate enforcement agencies. The CO may refer any findings that an employer discouraged a qualified U.S. worker from applying, or failed to hire, discharged, or otherwise discriminated against a qualified U.S. worker to the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration Related Employment Practices.

§655.71   CO-ordered assisted recruitment.

(a) Requirement of assisted recruitment. If, as a result of audit or otherwise, the CO determines that a violation has occurred that does not warrant debarment, the CO may require the employer to engage in assisted recruitment for a defined period of time for any future Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(b) Notification of assisted recruitment. The CO will notify the employer (and its attorney or agent, if applicable) in writing of the assisted recruitment that will be required of the employer for a period of up to 2 years from the date the notice is issued. The notification will state the reasons for the imposition of the additional requirements, state that the employer's agreement to accept the conditions will constitute their inclusion as bona fide conditions and terms of an application for temporary employment certification, and offer the employer an opportunity to request an administrative review. If administrative review is requested, the procedures in §655.61 apply.

(c) Assisted recruitment. The assisted recruitment process will be in addition to any recruitment required of the employer by §§655.41 through 655.46 and may consist of, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:

(1) Requiring the employer to submit a draft advertisement to the CO for review and approval at the time of filing the Application for Temporary Employment Certification;

(2) Designating the sources where the employer must recruit for U.S. workers and directing the employer to place the advertisement(s) in such sources;

(3) Extending the length of the placement of the advertisement and/or job order;

(4) Requiring the employer to notify the CO and the SWA in writing when the advertisement(s) are placed;

(5) Requiring an employer to perform any additional assisted recruitment directed by the CO;

(6) Requiring the employer to provide proof of the publication of all advertisements as directed by the CO, in addition to providing a copy of the job order;

(7) Requiring the employer to provide proof of all SWA referrals made in response to the job order;

(8) Requiring the employer to submit any proof of contact with all referrals and past U.S. workers; and/or

(9) Requiring the employer to provide any additional documentation verifying it conducted the assisted recruitment as directed by the CO.

(d) Failure to comply. If an employer materially fails to comply with requirements ordered by the CO under this section, the certification will be denied and the employer and/or its attorney or agent may be debarred under §655.73.

[42 FR 45899, Sept. 13, 1977, as amended at 84 FR 62447, Nov. 15, 2019]

§655.72   Revocation.

(a) Basis for DOL revocation. The Administrator, OFLC may revoke a temporary labor certification approved under this subpart, if the Administrator, OFLC finds:

(1) The issuance of the temporary labor certification was not justified due to fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact in the application process, as defined in §655.73(d);

(2) The employer substantially failed to comply with any of the terms or conditions of the approved temporary labor certification. A substantial failure is a willful failure to comply that constitutes a significant deviation from the terms and conditions of the approved certification and is further defined in §655.73(d) and (e);

(3) The employer failed to cooperate with a DOL investigation or with a DOL official performing an investigation, inspection, audit (under §655.73), or law enforcement function under 29 CFR part 503 or this subpart; or

(4) The employer failed to comply with one or more sanctions or remedies imposed by WHD, or with one or more decisions or orders of the Secretary with the respect to the H-2B program.

(b) DOL procedures for revocation—(1) Notice of Revocation. If the Administrator, OFLC makes a determination to revoke an employer's temporary labor certification, the Administrator, OFLC will send to the employer (and its attorney or agent, if applicable) a Notice of Revocation. The notice will contain a detailed statement of the grounds for the revocation and inform the employer of its right to submit rebuttal evidence or to appeal. If the employer does not file rebuttal evidence or an appeal within 10 business days from the date the Notice of Revocation is issued, the notice is the final agency action and will take effect immediately at the end of the 10-day period.

(2) Rebuttal. If the employer timely submits rebuttal evidence, the Administrator, OFLC will inform the employer of the final determination on the revocation within 10 business days of receiving the rebuttal evidence. If the Administrator, OFLC determines that the certification should be revoked, the Administrator, OFLC will inform the employer of its right to appeal according to the procedures of §655.61. If the employer does not appeal the final determination, it will become the final agency action.

(3) Appeal. An employer may appeal a Notice of Revocation, or a final determination of the Administrator, OFLC after the review of rebuttal evidence, according to the appeal procedures of §655.61. The ALJ's decision is the final agency action.

(4) Stay. The timely filing of rebuttal evidence or an administrative appeal will stay the revocation pending the outcome of those proceedings.

(5) Decision. If the temporary labor certification is revoked, the Administrator, OFLC will send a copy of the final agency action to DHS and the Department of State.

(c) Employer's obligations in the event of revocation. If an employer's temporary labor certification is revoked, the employer is responsible for:

(1) Reimbursement of actual inbound transportation and other expenses;

(2) The workers' outbound transportation expenses;

(3) Payment to the workers of the amount due under the three-fourths guarantee; and

(4) Any other wages, benefits, and working conditions due or owing to the workers under this subpart.

§655.73   Debarment.

(a) Debarment of an employer. The Administrator, OFLC may not issue future labor certifications under this subpart to an employer or any successor in interest to that employer, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section, if the Administrator, OFLC finds that the employer committed the following violations:

(1) Willful misrepresentation of a material fact in its H-2B Registration, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, Application for Temporary Employment Certification, or H-2B Petition;

(2) Substantial failure to meet any of the terms and conditions of its H-2B Registration, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, Application for Temporary Employment Certification, or H-2B Petition. A substantial failure is a willful failure to comply that constitutes a significant deviation from the terms and conditions of such documents; or

(3) Willful misrepresentation of a material fact to the DOS during the visa application process.

(b) Debarment of an agent or attorney. If the Administrator, OFLC finds, under this section, that an attorney or agent committed a violation as described in paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section or participated in an employer's violation, the Administrator, OFLC may not issue future labor certifications to an employer represented by such agent or attorney, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section.

(c) Period of debarment. Debarment under this subpart may not be for less than 1 year or more than 5 years from the date of the final agency decision.

(d) Determining whether a violation is willful. A willful misrepresentation of a material fact or a willful failure to meet the required terms and conditions occurs when the employer, attorney, or agent knows a statement is false or that the conduct is in violation, or shows reckless disregard for the truthfulness of its representation or for whether its conduct satisfies the required conditions.

(e) Determining whether a violation is significant. In determining whether a violation is a significant deviation from the terms and conditions of the H-2B Registration, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, Application for Temporary Employment Certification, or H-2B Petition, the factors that the Administrator, OFLC may consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Previous history of violation(s) under the H-2B program;

(2) The number of H-2B workers, workers in corresponding employment, or improperly rejected U.S. applicants who were and/or are affected by the violation(s);

(3) The gravity of the violation(s);

(4) The extent to which the violator achieved a financial gain due to the violation(s), or the potential financial loss or potential injury to the worker(s); and

(5) Whether U.S. workers have been harmed by the violation.

(f) Violations. Where the standards set forth in paragraphs (d) and (e) in this section are met, debarrable violations would include but would not be limited to one or more acts of commission or omission which involve:

(1) Failure to pay or provide the required wages, benefits or working conditions to the employer's H-2B workers and/or workers in corresponding employment;

(2) Failure, except for lawful, job-related reasons, to offer employment to qualified U.S. workers who applied for the job opportunity for which certification was sought;

(3) Failure to comply with the employer's obligations to recruit U.S. workers;

(4) Improper layoff or displacement of U.S. workers or workers in corresponding employment;

(5) Failure to comply with one or more sanctions or remedies imposed by the Administrator, WHD for violation(s) of obligations under the job order or other H-2B obligations, or with one or more decisions or orders of the Secretary or a court under this subpart or 29 CFR part 503;

(6) Failure to comply with the Notice of Deficiency process under this subpart;

(7) Failure to comply with the assisted recruitment process under this subpart;

(8) Impeding an investigation of an employer under 29 CFR part 503 or an audit under this subpart;

(9) Employing an H-2B worker outside the area of intended employment, in an activity/activities not listed in the job order, or outside the validity period of employment of the job order, including any approved extension thereof;

(10) A violation of the requirements of §655.20(o) or (p);

(11) A violation of any of the provisions listed in §655.20(r);

(12) Any other act showing such flagrant disregard for the law that future compliance with program requirements cannot reasonably be expected;

(13) Fraud involving the H-2B Registration, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, Application for Temporary Employment Certification, or the H-2B Petition; or

(14) A material misrepresentation of fact during the registration or application process.

(g) Debarment procedure—(1) Notice of Debarment. If the Administrator, OFLC makes a determination to debar an employer, attorney, or agent, the Administrator, OFLC will send the party a Notice of Debarment. The Notice will state the reason for the debarment finding, including a detailed explanation of the grounds for and the duration of the debarment and inform the party subject to the notice of its right to submit rebuttal evidence or to request a debarment hearing. If the party does not file rebuttal evidence or request a hearing within 30 calendar days of the date of the Notice of Debarment, the notice is the final agency action and the debarment will take effect at the end of the 30-day period. The timely filing of an rebuttal evidence or a request for a hearing stays the debarment pending the outcome of the appeal as provided in paragraphs (g)(2) through (6) of this section.

(2) Rebuttal. The party who received the Notice of Debarment may choose to submit evidence to rebut the grounds stated in the notice within 30 calendar days of the date the notice is issued. If rebuttal evidence is timely filed, the Administrator, OFLC will issue a final determination on the debarment within 30 calendar days of receiving the rebuttal evidence. If the Administrator, OFLC determines that the party should be debarred, the Administrator, OFLC will inform the party of its right to request a debarment hearing according to the procedures in this section. The party must request a hearing within 30 calendar days after the date of the Administrator, OFLC's final determination, or the Administrator OFLC's determination will be the final agency order and the debarment will take effect at the end of the 30-day period.

(3) Hearing. The recipient of a Notice of Debarment seeking to challenge the debarment must request a debarment hearing within 30 calendar days of the date of a Notice of Debarment or the date of a final determination of the Administrator, OFLC after review of rebuttal evidence submitted under paragraph (g)(2) of this section. To obtain a debarment hearing, the recipient must, within 30 days of the date of the Notice or the final determination, file a written request with the Chief ALJ, United States Department of Labor, 800 K Street NW., Suite 400-N, Washington, DC 20001-8002, and simultaneously serve a copy on the Administrator, OFLC. The debarment will take effect 30 calendar days from the date the Notice of Debarment or final determination is issued, unless a request for review is timely filed. Within 10 business days of receipt of the request for a hearing, the Administrator, OFLC will send a certified copy of the ETA case file to the Chief ALJ by means normally assuring next day delivery. The Chief ALJ will immediately assign an ALJ to conduct the hearing. The procedures in 29 CFR part 18 apply to such hearings, except that the request for a hearing will not be considered to be a complaint to which an answer is required.

(4) Decision. After the hearing, the ALJ must affirm, reverse, or modify the Administrator, OFLC's determination. The ALJ will prepare the decision within 60 calendar days after completion of the hearing and closing of the record. The ALJ's decision will be provided to the parties to the debarment hearing by means normally assuring next day delivery. The ALJ's decision is the final agency action, unless either party, within 30 calendar days of the ALJ's decision, seeks review of the decision with the Administrative Review Board (ARB).

(5) Review by the ARB. (i) Any party wishing review of the decision of an ALJ must, within 30 calendar days of the decision of the ALJ, petition the ARB to review the decision. Copies of the petition must be served on all parties and on the ALJ. The ARB will decide whether to accept the petition within 30 calendar days of receipt. If the ARB declines to accept the petition, or if the ARB does not issue a notice accepting a petition within 30 calendar days after the receipt of a timely filing of the petition, the decision of the ALJ is the final agency action. If a petition for review is accepted, the decision of the ALJ will be stayed unless and until the ARB issues an order affirming the decision. The ARB must serve notice of its decision to accept or not to accept the petition upon the ALJ and upon all parties to the proceeding.

(ii) Upon receipt of the ARB's notice to accept the petition, the Office of Administrative Law Judges will promptly forward a copy of the complete hearing record to the ARB.

(iii) Where the ARB has determined to review the decision and order, the ARB will notify each party of the issue(s) raised, the form in which submissions must be made (e.g., briefs or oral argument), and the time within which the presentation must be submitted.

(6) ARB Decision. The ARB's final decision must be issued within 90 calendar days from the notice granting the petition and served upon all parties and the ALJ.

(h) Concurrent debarment jurisdiction. OFLC and the WHD have concurrent jurisdiction to debar under this section or under 29 CFR 503.24. When considering debarment, OFLC and the WHD will coordinate their activities. A specific violation for which debarment is imposed will be cited in a single debarment proceeding. Copies of final debarment decisions will be forwarded to DHS and DOS promptly.

(i) Debarment from other foreign labor programs. Upon debarment under this subpart or 29 CFR 503.24, the debarred party will be disqualified from filing any labor certification applications or labor condition applications with the Department of Labor by, or on behalf of, the debarred party for the same period of time set forth in the final debarment decision.

§§655.74-655.76   [Reserved]

§§655.80-655.99   [Reserved]

Subpart B—Labor Certification Process for Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States (H-2A Workers)

Source: 75 FR 6959, Feb. 12, 2010, unless otherwise noted.

§655.100   Scope and purpose of subpart B.

This subpart sets out the procedures established by the Secretary of the United States Department of Labor (the Secretary) under the authority given in 8 U.S.C. 1188 to acquire information sufficient to make factual determinations of:

(a) Whether there are sufficient able, willing, and qualified United States (U.S.) workers available to perform the temporary and seasonal agricultural employment for which an employer desires to import nonimmigrant foreign workers (H-2A workers); and

(b) Whether the employment of H-2A workers will adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the U.S. similarly employed.

§655.101   Authority of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) Administrator.

The Secretary has delegated her authority to make determinations under 8 U.S.C. 1188 to the Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), who in turn has delegated that authority to the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC). The determinations are made by the OFLC Administrator who, in turn, may delegate this responsibility to designated staff members; e.g., a Certifying Officer (CO).

§655.102   Special procedures.

To provide for a limited degree of flexibility in carrying out the Secretary's responsibilities under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), while not deviating from statutory requirements, the OFLC Administrator has the authority to establish, continue, revise, or revoke special procedures for processing certain H-2A applications. Employers must demonstrate upon written application to the OFLC Administrator that special procedures are necessary. These include special procedures currently in effect for the handling of applications for sheepherders in the Western States (and adaptation of such procedures to occupations in the range production of other livestock), and for custom combine harvesting crews. Similarly, for work in occupations characterized by other than a reasonably regular workday or workweek, such as the range production of sheep or other livestock, the OFLC Administrator has the authority to establish monthly, weekly, or semi-monthly adverse effect wage rates (AEWR) for those occupations for a statewide or other geographical area. Prior to making determinations under this section, the OFLC Administrator may consult with affected employer and worker representatives. Special Procedures in place on the effective date of this regulation will remain in force until modified by the Administrator.

§655.103   Overview of this subpart and definition of terms.

(a) Overview. In order to bring nonimmigrant workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural work, an employer must first demonstrate to the Secretary that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, and qualified to perform the work in the area of intended employment at the time needed and that the employment of foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. This rule describes a process by which the Department of Labor (Department or DOL) makes such a determination and certifies its determination to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

(b) Definitions. For the purposes of this subpart:

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). A person within the Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges appointed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3105.

Adverse effect wage rate (AEWR). The annual weighted average hourly wage for field and livestock workers (combined) in the States or regions as published annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) based on its quarterly wage survey.

Agent. A legal entity or person, such as an association of agricultural employers, or an attorney for an association, that:

(1) Is authorized to act on behalf of the employer for temporary agricultural labor certification purposes;

(2) Is not itself an employer, or a joint employer, as defined in this subpart with respect to a specific application; and

(3) Is not under suspension, debarment, expulsion, or disbarment from practice before any court, the Department, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, or DHS under 8 CFR 292.3 or 1003.101.

Agricultural association. Any nonprofit or cooperative association of farmers, growers, or ranchers (including but not limited to processing establishments, canneries, gins, packing sheds, nurseries, or other similar fixed-site agricultural employers), incorporated or qualified under applicable State law, that recruits, solicits, hires, employs, furnishes, houses, or transports any worker that is subject to 8 U.S.C. 1188. An agricultural association may act as the agent of an employer, or may act as the sole or joint employer of any worker subject to 8 U.S.C. 1188.

Area of intended employment. The geographic area within normal commuting distance of the place of the job opportunity for which the certification is sought. There is no rigid measure of distance that constitutes a normal commuting distance or normal commuting area, because there may be widely varying factual circumstances among different areas (e.g., average commuting times, barriers to reaching the worksite, or quality of the regional transportation network). If the place of intended employment is within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), including a multistate MSA, any place within the MSA is deemed to be within normal commuting distance of the place of intended employment. The borders of MSAs are not controlling in the identification of the normal commuting area; a location outside of an MSA may be within normal commuting distance of a location that is inside (e.g., near the border of) the MSA.

Attorney. Any person who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any State, possession, territory, or commonwealth of the U.S., or the District of Columbia. Such a person is also permitted to act as an agent under this subpart. No attorney who is under suspension, debarment, expulsion, or disbarment from practice before any court, the Department, the Executive Office for Immigration Review under 8 CFR 1003.101, or DHS under 8 CFR 292.3 may represent an employer under this subpart.

Certifying Officer (CO). The person who makes determination on an Application for Temporary Employment Certification filed under the H-2A program. The OFLC Administrator is the national CO. Other COs may be designated by the OFLC Administrator to also make the determinations required under this subpart.

Corresponding employment. The employment of workers who are not H-2A workers by an employer who has an approved H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification in any work included in the job order, or in any agricultural work performed by the H-2A workers. To qualify as corresponding employment the work must be performed during the validity period of the job order, including any approved extension thereof.

Date of need. The first date the employer requires the services of H-2A workers as indicated in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

Employee. A person who is engaged to perform work for an employer, as defined under the general common law of agency. Some of the factors relevant to the determination of employee status include: The hiring party's right to control the manner and means by which the work is accomplished; the skill required to perform the work; the source of the instrumentalities and tools for accomplishing the work; the location of the work; the hiring party's discretion over when and how long to work; and whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party. Other applicable factors may be considered and no one factor is dispositive.

Employer. A person (including any individual, partnership, association, corporation, cooperative, firm, joint stock company, trust, or other organization with legal rights and duties) that:

(1) Has a place of business (physical location) in the U.S. and a means by which it may be contacted for employment;

(2) Has an employer relationship (such as the ability to hire, pay, fire, supervise or otherwise control the work of employee) with respect to an H-2A worker or a worker in corresponding employment; and

(3) Possesses, for purposes of filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification, a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).

Federal holiday. Legal public holiday as defined at 5 U.S.C. 6103.

Fixed-site employer. Any person engaged in agriculture who meets the definition of an employer, as those terms are defined in this subpart, who owns or operates a farm, ranch, processing establishment, cannery, gin, packing shed, nursery, or other similar fixed-site location where agricultural activities are performed and who recruits, solicits, hires, employs, houses, or transports any worker subject to 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart as incident to or in conjunction with the owner's or operator's own agricultural operation.

H-2A Labor Contractor (H-2ALC). Any person who meets the definition of employer under this subpart and is not a fixed-site employer, an agricultural association, or an employee of a fixed-site employer or agricultural association, as those terms are used in this part, who recruits, solicits, hires, employs, furnishes, houses, or transports any worker subject to 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart.

H-2A worker. Any temporary foreign worker who is lawfully present in the U.S. and authorized by DHS to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), as amended.

Job offer. The offer made by an employer or potential employer of H-2A workers to both U.S. and H-2A workers describing all the material terms and conditions of employment, including those relating to wages, working conditions, and other benefits.

Job opportunity. Full-time employment at a place in the U.S. to which U.S. workers can be referred.

Job Order. The document containing the material terms and conditions of employment that is posted by the State Workforce Agency (SWA) on its inter- and intra-state job clearance systems based on the employer's Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order (Form ETA-790), as submitted to the SWA.

Joint employment. Where two or more employers each have sufficient definitional indicia of being an employer to be considered the employer of a worker, those employers will be considered to jointly employ that worker. Each employer in a joint employment relationship to a worker is considered a joint employer of that worker.

Master application. An Application for Temporary Employment Certification filed by an association of agricultural producers as a joint employer with its employer-members. A master application must cover the same occupations or comparable agricultural employment; the same start date of need for all employer-members listed on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification; and may cover multiple areas of intended employment within a single State but no more than two contiguous States.

National Processing Center (NPC). The office within OFLC in which the COs operate and which are charged with the adjudication of Applications for Temporary Employment Certification.

Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC). OFLC means the organizational component of the ETA that provides national leadership and policy guidance and develops regulations and procedures to carry out the responsibilities of the Secretary under the INA concerning the admission of foreign workers to the U.S. to perform work described in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).

OFLC Administrator. The primary official of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC), or the OFLC Administrator's designee.

Positive recruitment. The active participation of an employer or its authorized hiring agent, performed under the auspices and direction of the OFLC, in recruiting and interviewing individuals in the area where the employer's job opportunity is located and any other State designated by the Secretary as an area of traditional or expected labor supply with respect to the area where the employer's job opportunity is located, in an effort to fill specific job openings with U.S. workers.

Prevailing practice. A practice engaged in by employers, that:

(1) Fifty percent or more of employers in an area and for an occupation engage in the practice or offer the benefit; and

(2) This 50 percent or more of employers also employs 50 percent or more of U.S. workers in the occupation and area (including H-2A and non-H-2A employers) for purposes of determinations concerning the provision of family housing, and frequency of wage payments, but non-H-2A employers only for determinations concerning the provision of advance transportation and the utilization of labor contractors.

Prevailing wage. Wage established pursuant to 20 CFR 653.501(d)(4).

State Workforce Agency (SWA). State government agency that receives funds pursuant to the Wagner-Peyser Act (29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.) to administer the State's public labor exchange activities.

Strike. A concerted stoppage of work by employees as a result of a labor dispute, or any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operation (including stoppage by reason of the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement).

Successor in interest. (1) Where an employer has violated 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or these regulations, and has ceased doing business or cannot be located for purposes of enforcement, a successor in interest to that employer may be held liable for the duties and obligations of the violating employer in certain circumstances. The following factors, as used under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, may be considered in determining whether an employer is a successor in interest; no one factor is dispositive, but all of the circumstances will be considered as a whole:

(i) Substantial continuity of the same business operations;

(ii) Use of the same facilities;

(iii) Continuity of the work force;

(iv) Similarity of jobs and working conditions;

(v) Similarity of supervisory personnel;

(vi) Whether the former management or owner retains a direct or indirect interest in the new enterprise;

(vii) Similarity in machinery, equipment, and production methods;

(viii) Similarity of products and services; and

(ix) The ability of the predecessor to provide relief.

(2) For purposes of debarment only, the primary consideration will be the personal involvement of the firm's ownership, management, supervisors, and others associated with the firm in the violation(s) at issue.

Temporary agricultural labor certification. Certification made by the OFLC Administrator with respect to an employer seeking to file with DHS a visa petition to employ one or more foreign nationals as an H-2A worker, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), 1184(a) and (c), and 1188.

United States (U.S.). The continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

United States worker (U.S. worker). A worker who is:

(1) A citizen or national of the U.S.; or

(2) An alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S., is admitted as a refugee under 8 U.S.C. 1157, is granted asylum under 8 U.S.C. 1158, or is an immigrant otherwise authorized (by the INA or by DHS) to be employed in the U.S.; or

(3) An individual who is not an unauthorized alien (as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(3)) with respect to the employment in which the worker is engaging.

Wages. All forms of cash remuneration to a worker by an employer in payment for personal services.

Work contract. All the material terms and conditions of employment relating to wages, hours, working conditions, and other benefits, including those required by 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart. The contract between the employer and the worker may be in the form of a separate written document. In the absence of a separate written work contract incorporating the required terms and conditions of employment, agreed to by both the employer and the worker, the work contract at a minimum will be the terms of the job order and any obligations required under 8 U.S.C. 1188, 28 CFR part 501, or this subpart.

(c) Definition of agricultural labor or services. For the purposes of this subpart, agricultural labor or services, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), is defined as: agricultural labor as defined and applied in sec. 3121(g) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 at 26 U.S.C. 3121(g); agriculture as defined and applied in sec. 3(f) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) at 29 U.S.C. 203(f); the pressing of apples for cider on a farm; or logging employment. An occupation included in either statutory definition is agricultural labor or services, notwithstanding the exclusion of that occupation from the other statutory definition. For informational purposes, the statutory provisions are listed below.

(1)(i) Agricultural labor for the purpose of paragraph (c) of this section means all service performed:

(A) On a farm, in the employ of any person, in connection with cultivating the soil, or in connection with raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity, including the raising, shearing, feeding, caring for, training, and management of livestock, bees, poultry, and fur-bearing animals and wildlife;

(B) In the employ of the owner or tenant or other operator of a farm, in connection with the operation, management, conservation, improvement, or maintenance of such farm and its tools and equipment, or in salvaging timber or clearing land of brush and other debris left by a hurricane, if the major part of such service is performed on a farm;

(C) In connection with the production or harvesting of any commodity defined as an agricultural commodity in section 15(g) of the Agricultural Marketing Act, as amended (12 U.S.C. 1141j), or in connection with the ginning of cotton, or in connection with the operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs, or waterways, not owned or operated for profit, used exclusively for supplying and storing water for farming purposes;

(D) In the employ of the operator of a farm in handling, planting, drying, packing, packaging, processing, freezing, grading, storing, or delivering to storage or to market or to a carrier for transportation to market, in its unmanufactured state, any agricultural or horticultural commodity; but only if such operator produced more than one-half of the commodity with respect to which such service is performed;

(E) In the employ of a group of operators of farms (other than a cooperative organization) in the performance of service described in paragraph (c)(1)(iv) of this section but only if such operators produced all of the commodity with respect to which such service is performed. For purposes of this paragraph, any unincorporated group of operators shall be deemed a cooperative organization if the number of operators comprising such group is more than 20 at any time during the calendar year in which such service is performed;

(F) The provisions of paragraphs (c)(1)(iv) and (c)(1)(v) of this section shall not be deemed to be applicable with respect to service performed in connection with commercial canning or commercial freezing or in connection with any agricultural or horticultural commodity after its delivery to a terminal market for distribution for consumption; or

(G) On a farm operated for profit if such service is not in the course of the employer's trade or business or is domestic service in a private home of the employer.

(ii) As used in this section, the term farm includes stock, dairy, poultry, fruit, fur-bearing animal, and truck farms, plantations, ranches, nurseries, ranges, greenhouses or other similar structures used primarily for the raising of agricultural or horticultural commodities, and orchards.

(2) Agriculture. For purposes of paragraph (c) of this section, agriculture means farming in all its branches and among other things includes the cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodities (including commodities defined as agricultural commodities in 1141j(g) of title 12, the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or poultry, and any practices (including any forestry or lumbering operations) performed by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations, including preparation for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market. See sec. 29 U.S.C. 203(f), as amended (sec. 3(f) of the FLSA, as codified). Under 12 U.S.C. 1141j(g) agricultural commodities include, in addition to other agricultural commodities, crude gum (oleoresin) from a living tree, and the following products as processed by the original producer of the crude gum (oleoresin) from which derived: gum spirits of turpentine and gum rosin. In addition as defined in 7 U.S.C. 92, gum spirits of turpentine means spirits of turpentine made from gum (oleoresin) from a living tree and gum rosin means rosin remaining after the distillation of gum spirits of turpentine.

(3) Apple pressing for cider. The pressing of apples for cider on a farm, as the term farm is defined and applied in sec. 3121(g) of the Internal Revenue Code at 26 U.S.C. 3121(g) or as applied in sec. 3(f) of the FLSA at 29 U.S.C. 203(f), pursuant to 29 CFR part 780.

(4) Logging employment. Operations associated with felling and moving trees and logs from the stump to the point of delivery, such as, but not limited to, marking danger trees and trees/logs to be cut to length, felling, limbing, bucking, debarking, chipping, yarding, loading, unloading, storing, and transporting machines, equipment and personnel to, from and between logging sites.

(d) Definition of a temporary or seasonal nature. For the purposes of this subpart, employment is of a seasonal nature where it is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern, such as a short annual growing cycle or a specific aspect of a longer cycle, and requires labor levels far above those necessary for ongoing operations. Employment is of a temporary nature where the employer's need to fill the position with a temporary worker will, except in extraordinary circumstances, last no longer than 1 year.

Prefiling Procedures

§655.120   Offered wage rate.

(a) To comply with its obligation under §655.122(l), an employer must offer, advertise in its recruitment, and pay a wage that is the highest of the AEWR, the prevailing hourly wage or piece rate, the agreed-upon collective bargaining wage, or the Federal or State minimum wage, except where a special procedure is approved for an occupation or specific class of agricultural employment.

(b) If the prevailing hourly wage rate or piece rate is adjusted during a work contract, and is higher than the highest of the AEWR, the prevailing wage, the agreed-upon collective bargaining wage, or the Federal or State minimum wage, in effect at the time the work is performed, the employer must pay that higher prevailing wage or piece rate, upon notice to the employer by the Department.

(c) The OFLC Administrator will publish, at least once in each calendar year, on a date to be determined by the OFLC Administrator, the AEWRs for each State as a notice in the Federal Register.

§655.121   Job orders.

(a) Area of intended employment. (1) Prior to filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the employer must submit a job order, Form ETA-790, to the SWA serving the area of intended employment for intrastate clearance, identifying it as a job order to be placed in connection with a future Application for Temporary Employment Certification for H-2A workers. The employer must submit this job order no more than 75 calendar days and no fewer than 60 calendar days before the date of need. If the job opportunity is located in more than one State within the same area of intended employment, the employer may submit a job order to any one of the SWAs having jurisdiction over the anticipated worksites.

(2) Where the job order is being placed in connection with a future master application to be filed by an association of agricultural employers as a joint employer, the association may submit a single job order to be placed in the name of the association on behalf of all employers that will be duly named on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(3) The job order submitted to the SWA must satisfy the requirements for agricultural clearance orders in 20 CFR part 653, subpart F and the requirements set forth in §655.122.

(b) SWA review. (1) The SWA will review the contents of the job order for compliance with the requirements specified in 20 CFR part 653, subpart F and this subpart, and will work with the employer to address any noted deficiencies. The SWA must notify the employer in writing of any deficiencies in its job order no later than 7 calendar days after it has been submitted. The SWA notification will direct the employer to respond to the noted deficiencies. The employer must respond to the deficiencies noted by the SWA within 5 calendar days after receipt of the SWA notification. The SWA must respond to the employer's response within 3 calendar days.

(2) If, after providing responses to the deficiencies noted by the SWA, the employer is not able to resolve the deficiencies with the SWA, the employer may file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification pursuant to the emergency filing procedures contained in §655.134, with a statement describing the nature of the dispute and demonstrating compliance with its requirements under this section. In the event the SWA does not respond within the stated timelines, the employer may use the emergency filing procedures noted above. If upon review of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and the job order and all other relevant information, the CO concludes that the job order is acceptable, the CO will direct the SWA to place the job order into intrastate and interstate clearance and otherwise process the Application in accordance with the procedures contained in §655.134(c). If the CO determines the job order is not acceptable, the CO will issue a Notice of Deficiency to the employer under §655.143 of this subpart directing the employer to modify the job order pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section The Notice of Deficiency will offer the employer the right to appeal.

(c) Intrastate clearance. Upon its clearance of the job order, the SWA must promptly place the job order in intrastate clearance and commence recruitment of U.S. workers. Where the employer's job order references an area of intended employment which falls within the jurisdiction of more than one SWA, the originating SWA will also forward a copy of the approved job order to the other SWAs serving the area of intended employment.

(d) Duration of job order posting. The SWA must keep the job order on its active file until the end of the recruitment period, as set forth in §655.135(d), and must refer each U.S. worker who applies (or on whose behalf an Application for Temporary Employment Certification is made) for the job opportunity.

(e) Modifications to the job order. (1) Prior to the issuance of the final determination, the CO may require modifications to the job order when the CO determines that the offer of employment does not contain all the minimum benefits, wages, and working condition provisions. Such modifications must be made or certification will be denied pursuant to §655.164 of this subpart.

(2) The employer may request a modification of the job order, Form ETA-790, prior to the submission of an Application for Temporary Employment Certification. However, the employer may not reject referrals against the job order based upon a failure on the part of the applicant to meet the amended criteria, if such referral was made prior to the amendment of the job order. The employer may not amend the job order on or after the date of filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(3) The employer must provide all workers recruited in connection with the Application for Temporary Employment Certification with a copy of the modified job order or work contract which reflects the amended terms and conditions, on the first day of employment, in accordance with §655.122(q), or as soon as practicable, whichever comes first.

§655.122   Contents of job offers.

(a) Prohibition against preferential treatment of aliens. The employer's job offer must offer to U.S. workers no less than the same benefits, wages, and working conditions that the employer is offering, intends to offer, or will provide to H-2A workers. Job offers may not impose on U.S. workers any restrictions or obligations that will not be imposed on the employer's H-2A workers. This does not relieve the employer from providing to H-2A workers at least the same level of minimum benefits, wages, and working conditions which must be offered to U.S. workers consistent with this section.

(b) Job qualifications and requirements. Each job qualification and requirement listed in the job offer must be bona fide and consistent with the normal and accepted qualifications required by employers that do not use H-2A workers in the same or comparable occupations and crops. Either the CO or the SWA may require the employer to submit documentation to substantiate the appropriateness of any job qualification specified in the job offer.

(c) Minimum benefits, wages, and working conditions. Every job order accompanying an Application for Temporary Employment Certification must include each of the minimum benefit, wage, and working condition provisions listed in paragraphs (d) through (q) of this section.

(d) Housing. (1) Obligation to provide housing. The employer must provide housing at no cost to the H-2A workers and those workers in corresponding employment who are not reasonably able to return to their residence within the same day. Housing must be provided through one of the following means:

(i) Employer-provided housing. Employer-provided housing must meet the full set of DOL Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards set forth at 29 CFR 1910.142, or the full set of standards at §§654.404 through 654.417 of this chapter, whichever are applicable under §654.401 of this chapter. Requests by employers whose housing does not meet the applicable standards for conditional access to the interstate clearance system, will be processed under the procedures set forth at §654.403 of this chapter; or

(ii) Rental and/or public accommodations. Rental or public accommodations or other substantially similar class of habitation must meet local standards for such housing. In the absence of applicable local standards, State standards will apply. In the absence of applicable local or State standards, DOL OSHA standards at 29 CFR 1910.142 will apply. Any charges for rental housing must be paid directly by the employer to the owner or operator of the housing. The employer must document to the satisfaction of the CO that the housing complies with the local, State, or Federal housing standards.

(2) Standards for range housing. Housing for workers principally engaged in the range production of livestock must meet standards of DOL OSHA for such housing. In the absence of such standards, range housing for sheepherders and other workers engaged in the range production of livestock must meet guidelines issued by OFLC.

(3) Deposit charges. Charges in the form of deposits for bedding or other similar incidentals related to housing must not be levied upon workers. However, employers may require workers to reimburse them for damage caused to housing by the individual worker(s) found to have been responsible for damage which is not the result of normal wear and tear related to habitation.

(4) Charges for public housing. If public housing provided for migrant agricultural workers under the auspices of a local, county, or State government is secured by the employer, the employer must pay any charges normally required for use of the public housing units directly to the housing's management.

(5) Family housing. When it is the prevailing practice in the area of intended employment and the occupation to provide family housing, it must be provided to workers with families who request it.

(6) Certified housing that becomes unavailable. If after a request to certify housing, such housing becomes unavailable for reasons outside the employer's control, the employer may substitute other rental or public accommodation housing that is in compliance with the local, State, or Federal housing standards applicable under this section. The employer must promptly notify the SWA in writing of the change in accommodations and the reason(s) for such change and provide the SWA evidence of compliance with the applicable local, State or Federal safety and health standards, in accordance with the requirements of this section. If, upon inspection, the SWA determines the substituted housing does not meet the applicable housing standards, the SWA must promptly provide written notification to the employer to cure the deficiencies with a copy to the CO. An employer's failure to provide housing that complies with the applicable standards will result in either a denial of a pending Application for Temporary Employment Certification or revocation of the temporary labor certification granted under this subpart.

(e) Workers' compensation. (1) The employer must provide workers' compensation insurance coverage in compliance with State law covering injury and disease arising out of and in the course of the worker's employment. If the type of employment for which the certification is sought is not covered by or is exempt from the State's workers' compensation law, the employer must provide, at no cost to the worker, insurance covering injury and disease arising out of and in the course of the worker's employment that will provide benefits at least equal to those provided under the State workers' compensation law for other comparable employment.

(2) Prior to issuance of the temporary labor certification, the employer must provide the CO with proof of workers' compensation insurance coverage meeting the requirements of this paragraph, including the name of the insurance carrier, the insurance policy number, and proof of insurance for the dates of need, or, if appropriate, proof of State law coverage.

(f) Employer-provided items. The employer must provide to the worker, without charge or deposit charge, all tools, supplies, and equipment required to perform the duties assigned.

(g) Meals. The employer either must provide each worker with three meals a day or must furnish free and convenient cooking and kitchen facilities to the workers that will enable the workers to prepare their own meals. Where the employer provides the meals, the job offer must state the charge, if any, to the worker for such meals. The amount of meal charges is governed by §655.173.

(h) Transportation; daily subsistence—(1) Transportation to place of employment. If the employer has not previously advanced such transportation and subsistence costs to the worker or otherwise provided such transportation or subsistence directly to the worker by other means and if the worker completes 50 percent of the work contract period, the employer must pay the worker for reasonable costs incurred by the worker for transportation and daily subsistence from the place from which the worker has come to work for the employer, whether in the U.S. or abroad to the place of employment. When it is the prevailing practice of non-H-2A agricultural employers in the occupation in the area to do so, or when the employer extends such benefits to similarly situated H-2A workers, the employer must advance the required transportation and subsistence costs (or otherwise provide them) to workers in corresponding employment who are traveling to the employer's worksite. The amount of the transportation payment must be no less (and is not required to be more) than the most economical and reasonable common carrier transportation charges for the distances involved. The amount of the daily subsistence payment must be at least as much as the employer would charge the worker for providing the worker with three meals a day during employment (if applicable), but in no event less than the amount permitted under §655.173(a). Note that the FLSA applies independently of the H-2A requirements and imposes obligations on employers regarding payment of wages.

(2) Transportation from place of employment. If the worker completes the work contract period, or if the employee is terminated without cause, and the worker has no immediate subsequent H-2A employment, the employer must provide or pay for the worker's transportation and daily subsistence from the place of employment to the place from which the worker, disregarding intervening employment, departed to work for the employer. If the worker has contracted with a subsequent employer who has not agreed in such work contract to provide or pay for the worker's transportation and daily subsistence expenses from the employer's worksite to such subsequent employer's worksite, the employer must provide or pay for such expenses. If the worker has contracted with a subsequent employer who has agreed in such work contract to provide or pay for the worker's transportation and daily subsistence expenses from the employer's worksite to such subsequent employer's worksite, the subsequent employer must provide or pay for such expenses. The employer is not relieved of its obligation to provide or pay for return transportation and subsistence if an H-2A worker is displaced as a result of the employer's compliance with the 50 percent rule as described in §655.135(d) of this subpart with respect to the referrals made after the employer's date of need.

(3) Transportation between living quarters and worksite. The employer must provide transportation between housing provided or secured by the employer and the employer's worksite at no cost to the worker.

(4) Employer-provided transportation. All employer-provided transportation must comply with all applicable Federal, State or local laws and regulations, and must provide, at a minimum, the same transportation safety standards, driver licensure, and vehicle insurance as required under 29 U.S.C. 1841 and 29 CFR 500.105 and 29 CFR 500.120 to 500.128. If workers' compensation is used to cover transportation, in lieu of vehicle insurance, the employer must either ensure that the workers' compensation covers all travel or that vehicle insurance exists to provide coverage for travel not covered by workers' compensation and they must have property damage insurance.

(i) Three-fourths guarantee—(1) Offer to worker. The employer must guarantee to offer the worker employment for a total number of work hours equal to at least three-fourths of the workdays of the total period beginning with the first workday after the arrival of the worker at the place of employment or the advertised contractual first date of need, whichever is later, and ending on the expiration date specified in the work contract or in its extensions, if any.

(i) For purposes of this paragraph a workday means the number of hours in a workday as stated in the job order and excludes the worker's Sabbath and Federal holidays. The employer must offer a total number of hours to ensure the provision of sufficient work to reach the three-fourths guarantee. The work hours must be offered during the work period specified in the work contract, or during any modified work contract period to which the worker and employer have mutually agreed and that has been approved by the CO.

(ii) The work contract period can be shortened by agreement of the parties only with the approval of the CO. In the event the worker begins working later than the specified beginning date of the contract, the guarantee period begins with the first workday after the arrival of the worker at the place of employment, and continues until the last day during which the work contract and all extensions thereof are in effect.

(iii) Therefore, if, for example, a work contract is for a 10-week period, during which a normal workweek is specified as 6 days a week, 8 hours per day, the worker would have to be guaranteed employment for at least 360 hours (10 weeks × 48 hours/week = 480 hours × 75 percent = 360). If a Federal holiday occurred during the 10-week span, the 8 hours would be deducted from the total hours for the work contract, before the guarantee is calculated. Continuing with the above example, the worker would have to be guaranteed employment for 354 hours (10 weeks × 48 hours/week = 480 hours − 8 hours (Federal holiday) × 75 percent = 354 hours).

(iv) A worker may be offered more than the specified hours of work on a single workday. For purposes of meeting the guarantee, however, the worker will not be required to work for more than the number of hours specified in the job order for a workday, or on the worker's Sabbath or Federal holidays. However, all hours of work actually performed may be counted by the employer in calculating whether the period of guaranteed employment has been met. If during the total work contract period the employer affords the U.S. or H-2A worker less employment than that required under this paragraph, the employer must pay such worker the amount the worker would have earned had the worker, in fact, worked for the guaranteed number of days. An employer will not be considered to have met the work guarantee if the employer has merely offered work on three-fourths of the workdays if each workday did not consist of a full number of hours of work time as specified in the job order.

(2) Guarantee for piece rate paid worker. If the worker is paid on a piece rate basis, the employer must use the worker's average hourly piece rate earnings or the required hourly wage rate, whichever is higher, to calculate the amount due under the guarantee.

(3) Failure to work. Any hours the worker fails to work, up to a maximum of the number of hours specified in the job order for a workday, when the worker has been offered an opportunity to work in accordance with paragraph (i)(1) of this section, and all hours of work actually performed (including voluntary work over 8 hours in a workday or on the worker's Sabbath or Federal holidays), may be counted by the employer in calculating whether the period of guaranteed employment has been met. An employer seeking to calculate whether the number of hours has been met must maintain the payroll records in accordance with this subpart.

(4) Displaced H-2A worker. The employer is not liable for payment of the three-fourths guarantee to an H-2A worker whom the CO certifies is displaced because of the employer's compliance with the 50 percent rule described in §655.135(d) with respect to referrals made during that period.

(5) Obligation to provide housing and meals. Notwithstanding the three-fourths guarantee contained in this section, employers are obligated to provide housing and meals in accordance with paragraphs (d) and (g) of this section for each day of the contract period up until the day the workers depart for other H-2A employment, depart to the place outside of the U.S. from which the worker came, or, if the worker voluntarily abandons employment or is terminated for cause, the day of such abandonment or termination.

(j) Earnings records. (1) The employer must keep accurate and adequate records with respect to the workers' earnings, including but not limited to field tally records, supporting summary payroll records, and records showing the nature and amount of the work performed; the number of hours of work offered each day by the employer (broken out by hours offered both in accordance with and over and above the three-fourths guarantee at paragraph (i)(3) of this section); the hours actually worked each day by the worker; the time the worker began and ended each workday; the rate of pay (both piece rate and hourly, if applicable); the worker's earnings per pay period; the worker's home address; and the amount of and reasons for any and all deductions taken from the worker's wages.

(2) Each employer must keep the records required by this part, including field tally records and supporting summary payroll records, safe and accessible at the place or places of employment, or at one or more established central recordkeeping offices where such records are customarily maintained. All records must be available for inspection and transcription by the Secretary or a duly authorized and designated representative, and by the worker and representatives designated by the worker as evidenced by appropriate documentation (an Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative, Form G-28, signed by the worker, or an affidavit signed by the worker confirming such representation). Where the records are maintained at a central recordkeeping office, other than in the place or places of employment, such records must be made available for inspection and copying within 72 hours following notice from the Secretary, or a duly authorized and designated representative, and by the worker and designated representatives as described in this paragraph.

(3) To assist in determining whether the three-fourths guarantee in paragraph (i) of this section has been met, if the number of hours worked by the worker on a day during the work contract period is less than the number of hours offered, as specified in the job offer, the records must state the reason or reasons therefore.

(4) The employer must retain the records for not less than 3 years after the date of the certification.

(k) Hours and earnings statements. The employer must furnish to the worker on or before each payday in one or more written statements the following information:

(1) The worker's total earnings for the pay period;

(2) The worker's hourly rate and/or piece rate of pay;

(3) The hours of employment offered to the worker (showing offers in accordance with the three-fourths guarantee as determined in paragraph (i) of this section, separate from any hours offered over and above the guarantee);

(4) The hours actually worked by the worker;

(5) An itemization of all deductions made from the worker's wages;

(6) If piece rates are used, the units produced daily;

(7) Beginning and ending dates of the pay period; and

(8) The employer's name, address and FEIN.

(l) Rates of pay. If the worker is paid by the hour, the employer must pay the worker at least the AEWR, the prevailing hourly wage rate, the prevailing piece rate, the agreed-upon collective bargaining rate, or the Federal or State minimum wage rate, in effect at the time work is performed, whichever is highest, for every hour or portion thereof worked during a pay period.

(1) The offered wage may not be based on commission, bonuses, or other incentives, unless the employer guarantees a wage paid on a weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly basis that equals or exceeds the AEWR, prevailing hourly wage or piece rate, the legal Federal or State minimum wage, or any agreed-upon collective bargaining rate, whichever is highest; or

(2) If the worker is paid on a piece rate basis and at the end of the pay period the piece rate does not result in average hourly piece rate earnings during the pay period at least equal to the amount the worker would have earned had the worker been paid at the appropriate hourly rate:

(i) The worker's pay must be supplemented at that time so that the worker's earnings are at least as much as the worker would have earned during the pay period if the worker had instead been paid at the appropriate hourly wage rate for each hour worked;

(ii) The piece rate must be no less than the piece rate prevailing for the activity in the area of intended employment; and

(iii) If the employer who pays by the piece rate requires one or more minimum productivity standards of workers as a condition of job retention, such standards must be specified in the job offer and be no more than those required by the employer in 1977, unless the OFLC Administrator approves a higher minimum, or, if the employer first applied for H-2A temporary labor certification after 1977, such standards must be no more than those normally required (at the time of the first Application for Temporary Employment Certification) by other employers for the activity in the area of intended employment.

(m) Frequency of pay. The employer must state in the job offer the frequency with which the worker will be paid, which must be at least twice monthly or according to the prevailing practice in the area of intended employment, whichever is more frequent. Employers must pay wages when due.

(n) Abandonment of employment or termination for cause. If the worker voluntarily abandons employment before the end of the contract period, or is terminated for cause, and the employer notifies the NPC, and DHS in the case of an H-2A worker, in writing or by any other method specified by the Department or DHS in a manner specified in a notice published in the Federal Register not later than 2 working days after such abandonment occurs, the employer will not be responsible for providing or paying for the subsequent transportation and subsistence expenses of that worker under this section, and that worker is not entitled to the three-fourths guarantee described in paragraph (i) of this section. Abandonment will be deemed to begin after a worker fails to report for work at the regularly scheduled time for 5 consecutive working days without the consent of the employer.

(o) Contract impossibility. If, before the expiration date specified in the work contract, the services of the worker are no longer required for reasons beyond the control of the employer due to fire, weather, or other Act of God that makes the fulfillment of the contract impossible, the employer may terminate the work contract. Whether such an event constitutes a contract impossibility will be determined by the CO. In the event of such termination of a contract, the employer must fulfill a three-fourths guarantee for the time that has elapsed from the start of the work contract to the time of its termination, as described in paragraph (i)(1) of this section. The employer must make efforts to transfer the worker to other comparable employment acceptable to the worker, consistent with existing immigration law, as applicable. If such transfer is not affected, the employer must:

(1) Return the worker, at the employer's expense, to the place from which the worker (disregarding intervening employment) came to work for the employer, or transport the worker to the worker's next certified H-2A employer, whichever the worker prefers;

(2) Reimburse the worker the full amount of any deductions made from the worker's pay by the employer for transportation and subsistence expenses to the place of employment; and

(3) Pay the worker for any costs incurred by the worker for transportation and daily subsistence to that employer's place of employment. Daily subsistence must be computed as set forth in paragraph (h) of this section. The amount of the transportation payment must not be less (and is not required to be more) than the most economical and reasonable common carrier transportation charges for the distances involved.

(p) Deductions. (1) The employer must make all deductions from the worker's paycheck required by law. The job offer must specify all deductions not required by law which the employer will make from the worker's paycheck. All deductions must be reasonable. The employer may deduct the cost of the worker's transportation and daily subsistence expenses to the place of employment which were borne directly by the employer. In such circumstances, the job offer must state that the worker will be reimbursed the full amount of such deduction upon the worker's completion of 50 percent of the work contract period. However, an employer subject to the FLSA may not make deductions that would violate the FLSA.

(2) A deduction is not reasonable if it includes a profit to the employer or to any affiliated person. A deduction that is primarily for the benefit or convenience of the employer will not be recognized as reasonable and therefore the cost of such an item may not be included in computing wages. The wage requirements of §655.120 will not be met where undisclosed or unauthorized deductions, rebates, or refunds reduce the wage payment made to the employee below the minimum amounts required under this subpart, or where the employee fails to receive such amounts free and clear because the employee kicks back directly or indirectly to the employer or to another person for the employer's benefit the whole or part of the wage delivered to the employee. The principles applied in determining whether deductions are reasonable and payments are received free and clear, and the permissibility of deductions for payments to third persons are explained in more detail in 29 CFR part 531.

(q) Disclosure of work contract. The employer must provide to an H-2A worker no later than the time at which the worker applies for the visa, or to a worker in corresponding employment no later than on the day work commences, a copy of the work contract between the employer and the worker in a language understood by the worker as necessary or reasonable. For an H-2A worker going from an H-2A employer to a subsequent H-2A employer, the copy must be provided no later than the time an offer of employment is made by the subsequent H-2A employer. At a minimum, the work contract must contain all of the provisions required by this section. In the absence of a separate, written work contract entered into between the employer and the worker, the required terms of the job order and the certified Application for Temporary Employment Certification will be the work contract.

Application for Temporary Employment Certification Filing Procedures

§655.130   Application filing requirements.

All agricultural employers who desire to hire H-2A foreign agricultural workers must apply for a certification from the Secretary by filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification with the NPC designated by the OFLC Administrator. The following section provides the procedures employers must follow when filing.

(a) What to file. An employer, whether individual, association, or an H-2ALC, that desires to apply for temporary employment certification of one or more nonimmigrant foreign workers must file a completed Application for Temporary Employment Certification form and, unless a specific exemption applies, a copy of Form ETA-790, submitted to the SWA serving the area of intended employment, as set forth in §655.121(a).

(b) Timeliness. A completed Application for Temporary Employment Certification must be filed no less than 45 calendar days before the employer's date of need.

(c) Location and method of filing. The employer may send the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and all required supporting documentation by U.S. Mail or private mail courier to the NPC. The Department will publish a Notice in the Federal Register identifying the address(es), and any future address changes, to which Applications for Temporary Employment Certification must be mailed, and will also post these addresses on the OFLC Internet Web site at http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/. The Department may also require Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, at a future date, to be filed electronically in addition to or instead of by mail, notice of which will be published in the Federal Register.

(d) Original signature. The Application for Temporary Employment Certification must bear the original signature of the employer (and that of the employer's authorized attorney or agent if the employer is represented by an attorney or agent). An association filing a master application as a joint employer may sign on behalf of its employer members. An association filing as an agent may not sign on behalf of its members but must obtain each member's signature on each Application for Temporary Employment Certification prior to filing.

(e) Information received in the course of processing Applications for Temporary Employment Certification and program integrity measures such as audits may be forwarded from OFLC to Wage and Hour Division (WHD) for enforcement purposes.

§655.131   Association filing requirements.

If an association files an Application for Temporary Employment Certification, in addition to complying with all the assurances, guarantees, and other requirements contained in this subpart and in part 653, subpart F, of this chapter, the following requirements also apply.

(a) Individual applications. Associations of agricultural employers may file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification for H-2A workers as a sole employer, a joint employer, or agent. The association must identify in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification in what capacity it is filing. The association must retain documentation substantiating the employer or agency status of the association and be prepared to submit such documentation in response to a Notice of Deficiency from the CO prior to issuing a Final Determination, or in the event of an audit.

(b) Master applications. An association may file a master application on behalf of its employer-members. The master application is available only when the association is filing as a joint employer. An association may submit a master application covering the same occupation or comparable work available with a number of its employer-members in multiple areas of intended employment, just as though all of the covered employers were in fact a single employer, as long as a single date of need is provided for all workers requested by the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and all employer-members are located in no more than two contiguous States. The association must identify on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification by name, address, total number of workers needed, and the crops and agricultural work to be performed, each employer that will employ H-2A workers. The association, as appropriate, will receive a certified Application for Temporary Employment Certification that can be copied and sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with each employer-member's petition.

§655.132   H-2A labor contractor (H-2ALC) filing requirements.

If an H-2ALC intends to file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the H-2ALC must meet all of the requirements of the definition of employer in §655.103(b), and comply with all the assurances, guarantees, and other requirements contained in this part, including Assurances and Obligations of H-2A Employers, and in part 653, subpart F, of this chapter.

(a) Scope of H-2ALC Applications. An Application for Temporary Employment Certification filed by an H-2ALC must be limited to a single area of intended employment in which the fixed-site employer(s) to whom an H-2ALC is furnishing employees will be utilizing the employees.

(b) Required information and submissions. An H-2ALC must include in or with its Application for Temporary Employment Certification the following:

(1) The name and location of each fixed-site agricultural business to which the H-2ALC expects to provide H-2A workers, the expected beginning and ending dates when the H-2ALC will be providing the workers to each fixed site, and a description of the crops and activities the workers are expected to perform at such fixed site.

(2) A copy of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) Farm Labor Contractor (FLC) Certificate of Registration, if required under MSPA at 29 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., identifying the specific farm labor contracting activities the H-2ALC is authorized to perform as an FLC.

(3) Proof of its ability to discharge financial obligations under the H-2A program by including with the Application for Temporary Employment Certification the original surety bond as required by 29 CFR 501.9. The bond document must clearly identify the issuer, the name, address, phone number, and contact person for the surety, and provide the amount of the bond (as calculated pursuant to 29 CFR 501.9) and any identifying designation used by the surety for the bond.

(4) Copies of the fully-executed work contracts with each fixed-site agricultural business identified under paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(5) Where the fixed-site agricultural business will provide housing or transportation to the workers, proof that:

(i) All housing used by workers and owned, operated or secured by the fixed-site agricultural business complies with the applicable standards as set forth in §655.122(d) and certified by the SWA; and

(ii) All transportation between the worksite and the workers' living quarters that is provided by the fixed-site agricultural business complies with all applicable Federal, State, or local laws and regulations and must provide, at a minimum, the same vehicle safety standards, driver licensure, and vehicle insurance as required under 29 U.S.C. 1841 and 29 CFR 500.105 and 500.120 to 500.128, except where workers' compensation is used to cover such transportation as described in §655.125(h).

§655.133   Requirements for agents.

(a) An agent filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification on behalf of an employer must provide a copy of the agent agreement or other document demonstrating the agent's authority to represent the employer.

(b) In addition the agent must provide a copy of the MSPA FLC Certificate of Registration, if required under MSPA at 29 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., identifying the specific farm labor contracting activities the agent is authorized to perform.

§655.134   Emergency situations.

(a) Waiver of time period. The CO may waive the time period for filing for employers who did not make use of temporary alien agricultural workers during the prior year's agricultural season or for any employer that has other good and substantial cause (which may include unforeseen changes in market conditions), provided that the CO has sufficient time to test the domestic labor market on an expedited basis to make the determinations required by §655.100.

(b) Employer requirements. The employer requesting a waiver of the required time period must concurrently submit to the NPC and to the SWA serving the area of intended employment a completed Application for Temporary Employment Certification, a completed job order on the Form ETA-790, and a statement justifying the request for a waiver of the time period requirement. The statement must indicate whether the waiver request is due to the fact that the employer did not use H-2A workers during the prior agricultural season or whether the request is for good and substantial cause. If the waiver is requested for good and substantial cause, the employer's statement must also include detailed information describing the good and substantial cause which has necessitated the waiver request. Good and substantial cause may include, but is not limited to, the substantial loss of U.S. workers due to weather-related activities or other reasons, unforeseen events affecting the work activities to be performed, pandemic health issues, or similar conditions.

(c) Processing of emergency applications. The CO will process emergency Applications for Temporary Employment Certification in a manner consistent with the provisions set forth in §§655.140 through 655.145 and make a determination on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification in accordance with §§655.160 through 655.167. The CO may advise the employer in writing that the certification cannot be granted because, pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, the request for emergency filing was not justified and/or there is not sufficient time to test the availability of U.S. workers such that the CO can make a determination on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification in accordance with §655.161. Such notification will so inform the employer using the procedures applicable to a denial of certification set forth in §655.164.

§655.135   Assurances and obligations of H-2A employers.

An employer seeking to employ H-2A workers must agree as part of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job offer that it will abide by the requirements of this subpart and make each of the following additional assurances:

(a) Non-discriminatory hiring practices. The job opportunity is, and through the period set forth in paragraph (d) of this section must continue to be, open to any qualified U.S. worker regardless of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, handicap, or citizenship. Rejections of any U.S. workers who applied or apply for the job must be only for lawful, job-related reasons, and those not rejected on this basis have been or will be hired. In addition, the employer has and will continue to retain records of all hires and rejections as required by §655.167.

(b) No strike or lockout. The worksite for which the employer is requesting H-2A certification does not currently have workers on strike or being locked out in the course of a labor dispute.

(c) Recruitment requirements. The employer has and will continue to cooperate with the SWA by accepting referrals of all eligible U.S. workers who apply (or on whose behalf an Application for Temporary Employment Certification is made) for the job opportunity until the end of the period as specified in paragraph (d) of this section and must independently conduct the positive recruitment activities, as specified in §655.154, until the date on which the H-2A workers depart for the place of work. Unless the SWA is informed in writing of a different date, the date that is the third day preceding the employer's first date of need will be determined to be the date the H-2A workers departed for the employer's place of business.

(d) Fifty percent rule. From the time the foreign workers depart for the employer's place of employment, the employer must provide employment to any qualified, eligible U.S. worker who applies to the employer until 50 percent of the period of the work contract has elapsed. Start of the work contract timeline is calculated from the first date of need stated on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, under which the foreign worker who is in the job was hired. This provision will not apply to any employer who certifies to the CO in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification that the employer:

(1) Did not, during any calendar quarter during the preceding calendar year, use more than 500 man-days of agricultural labor, as defined in sec. 203(u) of Title 29;

(2) Is not a member of an association which has petitioned for certification under this subpart for its members; and

(3) Has not otherwise associated with other employers who are petitioning for temporary foreign workers under this subpart.

(e) Compliance with applicable laws. During the period of employment that is the subject of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the employer must comply with all applicable Federal, State and local laws and regulations, including health and safety laws. In compliance with such laws, including the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-457, 18 U.S.C. 1592(a), the employer may not hold or confiscate workers' passports, visas, or other immigration documents. H-2A employers may also be subject to the FLSA. The FLSA operates independently of the H-2A program and has specific requirements that address payment of wages, including deductions from wages, the payment of Federal minimum wage and payment of overtime.

(f) Job opportunity is full-time. The job opportunity is a full-time temporary position, calculated to be at least 35 hours per work week.

(g) No recent or future layoffs. The employer has not laid off and will not lay off any similarly employed U.S. worker in the occupation that is the subject of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification in the area of intended employment except for lawful, job-related reasons within 60 days of the date of need, or if the employer has laid off such workers, it has offered the job opportunity that is the subject of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification to those laid-off U.S. worker(s) and the U.S. worker(s) refused the job opportunity, was rejected for the job opportunity for lawful, job-related reasons, or was hired. A layoff for lawful, job-related reasons such as lack of work or the end of the growing season is permissible if all H-2A workers are laid off before any U.S. worker in corresponding employment.

(h) No unfair treatment. The employer has not and will not intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge or in any manner discriminate against, and has not and will not cause any person to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, or in any manner discriminate against, any person who has:

(1) Filed a complaint under or related to 8 U.S.C. 1188, or this subpart or any other Department regulation promulgated thereunder;

(2) Instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to 8 U.S.C. 1188 or this subpart or any other Department regulation promulgated thereunder;

(3) Testified or is about to testify in any proceeding under or related to 8 U.S.C. 1188 or this subpart or any other Department regulation promulgated thereunder;

(4) Consulted with an employee of a legal assistance program or an attorney on matters related to 8 U.S.C. 1188 or this subpart or any other Department regulation promulgated thereunder; or

(5) Exercised or asserted on behalf of himself/herself or others any right or protection afforded by 8 U.S.C. 1188 or this subpart or any other Department regulation promulgated thereunder.

(i) Notify workers of duty to leave United States. (1) The employer must inform H-2A workers of the requirement that they leave the U.S. at the end of the period certified by the Department or separation from the employer, whichever is earlier, as required under paragraph (i)(2) of this section, unless the H-2A worker is being sponsored by another subsequent H-2A employer.

(2) As defined further in DHS regulations, a temporary labor certification limits the validity period of an H-2A petition, and therefore, the authorized period of stay for an H-2A worker. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(vii) A foreign worker may not remain beyond his or her authorized period of stay, as determined by DHS, nor beyond separation from employment prior to completion of the H-2A contract, absent an extension or change of such worker's status under DHS regulations. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(viii)(B).

(j) Comply with the prohibition against employees paying fees. The employer and its agents have not sought or received payment of any kind from any employee subject to 8 U.S.C. 1188 for any activity related to obtaining H-2A labor certification, including payment of the employer's attorneys' fees, application fees, or recruitment costs. For purposes of this paragraph, payment includes, but is not limited to, monetary payments, wage concessions (including deductions from wages, salary, or benefits), kickbacks, bribes, tributes, in kind payments, and free labor. This provision does not prohibit employers or their agents from receiving reimbursement for costs that are the responsibility and primarily for the benefit of the worker, such as government-required passport fees.

(k) Contracts with third parties comply with prohibitions. The employer has contractually forbidden any foreign labor contractor or recruiter (or any agent of such foreign labor contractor or recruiter) whom the employer engages, either directly or indirectly, in international recruitment of H-2A workers to seek or receive payments or other compensation from prospective employees. This documentation is to be made available upon request by the CO or another Federal party.

(l) Notice of worker rights. The employer must post and maintain in a conspicuous location at the place of employment, a poster provided by the Secretary in English, and, to the extent necessary, any language common to a significant portion of the workers if they are not fluent in English, which sets out the rights and protections for workers employed pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1188.

Processing of Applications for Temporary Employment Certification

§655.140   Review of applications.

(a) NPC review. The CO will promptly review the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order for compliance with all applicable program requirements, including compliance with the requirements set forth in this subpart.

(b) Mailing and postmark requirements. Any notice or request sent by the CO(s) to an employer requiring a response will be sent using the provided address via traditional methods to assure next day delivery. The employer's response to such a notice or request must be filed using traditional methods to assure next day delivery and be sent by the date due or the next business day if the due date falls on a Sunday or Federal Holiday.

§655.141   Notice of deficiency.

(a) Notification timeline. If the CO determines the Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order are incomplete, contain errors or inaccuracies, or do not meet the requirements set forth in this subpart, the CO will notify the employer within 7 calendar days of the CO's receipt of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. A copy of this notification will be sent to the SWA serving the area of intended employment.

(b) Notice content. The notice will:

(1) State the reason(s) why the Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order fails to meet the criteria for acceptance;

(2) Offer the employer an opportunity to submit a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order within 5 business days from date of receipt stating the modification that is needed for the CO to issue the Notice of Acceptance;

(3) Except as provided for under the expedited review or de novo administrative hearing provisions of this section, state that the CO's determination on whether to grant or deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification will be made no later than 30 calendar days before the date of need, provided that the employer submits the requested modification to the Application for Temporary Employment Certification within 5 business days and in a manner specified by the CO;

(4) Offer the employer an opportunity to request an expedited administrative review or a de novo administrative hearing before an ALJ of the Notice of Deficiency. The notice will state that in order to obtain such a review or hearing, the employer, within 5 business days of the receipt of the notice, must file by facsimile or other means normally assuring next day delivery a written request to the Chief ALJ of DOL and simultaneously serve a copy on the CO. The notice will also state that the employer may submit any legal arguments that the employer believes will rebut the basis of the CO's action; and

(5) State that if the employer does not comply with the requirements of §655.142 or request an expedited administrative review or a de novo hearing before an ALJ within 5 business days the CO will deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. That denial is final cannot be appealed and the Department will not further consider that Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(c) Appeal from Notice of Deficiency. The employer may timely request an expedited administrative review or de novo hearing before an ALJ by following the procedures set forth in §655.171.

§655.142   Submission of modified applications.

(a) Submission requirements and certification delays. If the employer chooses to submit a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the CO's Final Determination will be postponed by 1 calendar day for each day that passes beyond the 5 business-day period allowed under §655.141(b) to submit a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification, up to maximum of 5 days. The Application for Temporary Employment Certification will be deemed abandoned if the employer does not submit a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification within 12 calendar days after the notice of deficiency was issued.

(b) Provisions for denial of modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification. If the modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification is not approved, the CO will deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification in accordance with the labor certification determination provisions in §655.164.

(c) Appeal from denial of modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The procedures for appealing a denial of a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification are the same as for a non-modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification as long as the employer timely requests an expedited administrative review or de novo hearing before an ALJ by following the procedures set forth in §655.171.

§655.143   Notice of acceptance.

(a) Notification timeline. When the CO determines the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order are complete and meet the requirements set forth in this subpart, the CO will notify the employer within 7 calendar days of the CO's receipt of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. A copy will be sent to the SWA serving the area of intended employment.

(b) Notice content. The notice must:

(1) Authorize conditional access to the interstate clearance system and direct the SWA to circulate a copy of the job order to other such States the CO determines to be potential sources of U.S. workers;

(2) Direct the employer to engage in positive recruitment of U.S. workers in a manner consistent with §655.154 and to submit a report of its positive recruitment efforts as specified in §655.156;

(3) State that positive recruitment is in addition to and will occur during the period of time that the job order is being circulated by the SWA(s) for interstate clearance under §655.150 of this subpart and will terminate on the actual date on which the H-2A workers depart for the place of work, or 3 calendar days prior to the first date the employer requires the services of the H-2A workers, whichever occurs first;

(4) State that the CO will make a determination either to grant or deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification no later than 30 calendar days before the date of need, except as provided for under §655.144 for modified Applications for Temporary Employment Certification.; and

(5) Where appropriate to the job opportunity and area of intended employment, direct the SWA to provide written notice of the job opportunity to organizations that provide employment and training services to workers likely to apply for the job and/or to place written notice of the job opportunity in other physical locations where such workers are likely to gather.

[75 FR 6959, Feb. 12, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 49456, Sept. 20, 2019]

§655.144   Electronic job registry.

(a) Location of and placement in the electronic job registry. Upon acceptance of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification under §655.143, the CO will promptly place for public examination a copy of the job order on an electronic job registry maintained by the Department, including any required modifications approved by the CO, as specified in §655.142. This procedure will be implemented once the Department initiates operation of the registry.

(b) Length of posting on electronic job registry. Unless otherwise provided, the Department will keep the job order posted on the Electronic Job Registry until the end of 50 percent of the contract period as set forth in §655.135(d).

§655.145   Amendments to applications for temporary employment certification.

(a) Increases in number of workers. The Application for Temporary Employment Certification may be amended at any time before the CO's certification determination to increase the number of workers requested in the initial Application for Temporary Employment Certification by not more than 20 percent (50 percent for employers requesting less than 10 workers) without requiring an additional recruitment period for U.S. workers. Requests for increases above the percent prescribed, without additional recruitment, may be approved by the CO only when the employer demonstrates that the need for additional workers could not have been foreseen, and the crops or commodities will be in jeopardy prior to the expiration of an additional recruitment period. All requests for increasing the number of workers must be made in writing.

(b) Minor changes to the period of employment. The Application for Temporary Employment Certification may be amended to make minor changes in the total period of employment. Changes will not be effective until submitted in writing and approved by the CO. In considering whether to approve the request, the CO will review the reason(s) for the request, determine whether the reason(s) are on the whole justified, and take into account the effect any change(s) would have on the adequacy of the underlying test of the domestic labor market for the job opportunity. An employer must demonstrate that the change to the period of employment could not have been foreseen, and the crops or commodities will be in jeopardy prior to the expiration of an additional recruitment period. If the request is for a delay in the start date and is made after workers have departed for the employer's place of work, the CO may only approve the change if the employer includes with the request a written assurance signed and dated by the employer that all workers who are already traveling to the job site will be provided housing and subsistence, without cost to the workers, until work commences. Upon acceptance of an amendment, the CO will submit to the SWA any necessary modification to the job order.

Post-Acceptance Requirements

§655.150   Interstate clearance of job order.

(a) SWA posts in interstate clearance system. The SWA must promptly place the job order in interstate clearance to all States designated by the CO. At a minimum, the CO will instruct the SWA to transmit a copy of its active job order to all States listed in the job order as anticipated worksites covering the area of intended employment.

(b) Duration of posting. Each of the SWAs to which the job order was transmitted must keep the job order on its active file until 50 percent of the contract term has elapsed, and must refer each qualified U.S. worker who applies (or on whose behalf an application is made) for the job opportunity.

§§655.151-655.152   [Reserved]

§655.153   Contact with former U.S. employees.

The employer must contact, by mail or other effective means, its former U.S. workers (except those who were dismissed for cause or who abandoned the worksite) employed by the employer in the occupation at the place of employment during the previous year and solicit their return to the job. This contact must occur during the period of time that the job order is being circulated by the SWA(s) for interstate clearance and documentation sufficient to prove contact must be maintained in the event of an audit.

§655.154   Additional positive recruitment.

(a) Where to conduct additional positive recruitment. The employer must conduct positive recruitment within a multistate region of traditional or expected labor supply where the CO finds that there are a significant number of qualified U.S. workers who, if recruited, would be willing to make themselves available for work at the time and place needed.

(b) Additional requirements should be comparable to non-H-2A employers in the area. The CO will ensure that the effort, including the location(s) and method(s) of the positive recruitment required of the potential H-2A employer must be no less than the normal recruitment efforts of non-H-2A agricultural employers of comparable or smaller size in the area of intended employment, and the kind and degree of recruitment efforts which the potential H-2A employer made to obtain foreign workers.

(c) Nature of the additional positive recruitment. The CO will describe the precise nature of the additional positive recruitment but the employer will not be required to conduct positive recruitment in more than three States for each area of intended employment listed on the employer's application.

(d) Proof of recruitment. The CO will specify the documentation or other supporting evidence that must be maintained by the employer as proof that the positive recruitment requirements were met.

§655.155   Referrals of U.S. workers.

SWAs may only refer for employment individuals who have been apprised of all the material terms and conditions of employment and have indicated, by accepting referral to the job opportunity, that he or she is qualified, able, willing, and available for employment.

§655.156   Recruitment report.

(a) Requirements of a recruitment report. The employer must prepare, sign, and date a written recruitment report. The recruitment report must be submitted on a date specified by the CO in the Notice of Acceptance set forth in §655.141 and contain the following information:

(1) Identify the name of each recruitment source;

(2) State the name and contact information of each U.S. worker who applied or was referred to the job opportunity up to the date of the preparation of the recruitment report, and the disposition of each worker;

(3) Confirm that former U.S. employees were contacted and by what means; and

(4) If applicable, for each U.S. worker who applied for the position but was not hired, explain the lawful job-related reason(s) for not hiring the U.S. worker.

(b) Duty to update recruitment report. The employer must continue to maintain the recruitment report throughout the recruitment period including the 50 percent period. The updated report is not to be automatically submitted to the Department, but must be made available in the event of a post-certification audit or upon request by authorized representatives of the Secretary.

§655.157   Withholding of U.S. workers prohibited.

(a) Filing a complaint. Any employer who has reason to believe that a person or entity has willfully and knowingly withheld U.S. workers prior to the arrival at the worksite of H-2A workers in order to force the hiring of U.S. workers during the recruitment period, as set forth in §655.135(d), may submit a written complaint to the CO. The complaint must clearly identify the person or entity who the employer believes has withheld the U.S. workers, and must specify sufficient facts to support the allegation (e.g., dates, places, numbers and names of U.S. workers) which will permit an investigation to be conducted by the CO.

(b) Duty to investigate. Upon receipt, the CO must immediately investigate the complaint. The investigation must include interviews with the employer who has submitted the complaint, the person or entity named as responsible for withholding the U.S. workers, and the individual U.S. workers whose availability has purportedly been withheld.

(c) Duty to suspend the recruitment period. Where the CO determines, after conducting the interviews required by paragraph (b) of this section, that the employer's complaint is valid and justified, the CO will immediately suspend the application of the 50 percent rule of the recruitment period, as set forth in §655.135(d), to the employer. The CO's determination is the final decision of the Secretary.

§655.158   Duration of positive recruitment.

Except as otherwise noted, the obligation to engage in positive recruitment described in §§655.150 through 655.154 shall terminate on the date H-2A workers depart for the employer's place of work. Unless the SWA is informed in writing of a different date, the date that is the third day preceding the employer's first date of need will be determined to be the date the H-2A workers departed for the employer's place of business.

Labor Certification Determinations

§655.160   Determinations.

Except as otherwise noted in this section, the CO will make a determination either to grant or deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification no later than 30 calendar days before the date of need identified in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. An Application for Temporary Employment Certification that is modified under §655.142 or that otherwise does not meet the requirements for certification in this subpart is not subject to the 30-day timeframe for certification.

§655.161   Criteria for certification.

(a) The criteria for certification include whether the employer has established the need for the agricultural services or labor to be performed on a temporary or seasonal basis; complied with the requirements of parts 653 and 654 of this chapter; complied with all of this subpart, including but not limited to the timeliness requirements in §655.130(b); complied with the offered wage rate criteria in §655.120; made all the assurances in §655.135; and met all the recruitment obligations required by this subpart.

(b) In making a determination as to whether there are insufficient U.S. workers to fill the employer's job opportunity, the CO will count as available any U.S. worker referred by the SWA or any U.S. worker who applied (or on whose behalf an application is made) directly to the employer, but who was rejected by the employer for other than a lawful job-related reason or who has not been provided with a lawful job-related reason for rejection by the employer.

[75 FR 6959, Feb. 12, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 49457, Sept. 20, 2019]

§655.162   Approved certification.

If temporary labor certification is granted, the CO will send the certified Application for Temporary Employment Certification and a Final Determination letter to the employer by means normally assuring next-day delivery and a copy, if appropriate, to the employer's agent or attorney.

§655.163   Certification fee.

A determination by the CO to grant an Application for Temporary Employment Certification in whole or in part will include a bill for the required certification fees. Each employer of H-2A workers under the Application for Temporary Employment Certification (except joint employer associations, which may not be assessed a fee in addition to the fees assessed to the members of the association) must pay in a timely manner a non-refundable fee upon issuance of the certification granting the Application for Temporary Employment Certification (in whole or in part), as follows:

(a) Amount. The Application for Temporary Employment Certification fee for each employer receiving a temporary agricultural labor certification is $100 plus $10 for each H-2A worker certified under the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, provided that the fee to an employer for each temporary agricultural labor certification received will be no greater than $1,000. There is no additional fee to the association filing the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The fees must be paid by check or money order made payable to United States Department of Labor. In the case of an agricultural association acting as a joint employer applying on behalf of its H-2A employer members, the aggregate fees for all employers of H-2A workers under the Application for Temporary Employment Certification must be paid by one check or money order.

(b) Timeliness. Fees must be received by the CO no more than 30 days after the date of the certification. Non-payment or untimely payment may be considered a substantial violation subject to the procedures in §655.182.

§655.164   Denied certification.

If temporary labor certification is denied, the Final Determination letter will be sent to the employer by means normally assuring next-day delivery and a copy, if appropriate, to the employer's agent or attorney. The Final Determination Letter will:

(a) State the reason(s) certification is denied;

(b) Offer the applicant an opportunity to request an expedited administrative review, or a de novo administrative hearing before an ALJ, of the denial. The notice must state that in order to obtain such a review or hearing, the employer, within 7 calendar days of the date of the notice, must file by facsimile (fax), or other means normally assuring next day delivery, a written request to the Chief ALJ of DOL (giving the address) and simultaneously serve a copy on the CO. The notice will also state that the employer may submit any legal arguments which the employer believes will rebut the basis of the CO's action; and

(c) State that if the employer does not request an expedited administrative judicial review or a de novo hearing before an ALJ within the 7 calendar days, the denial is final and the Department will not further consider that Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

§655.165   Partial certification.

The CO may issue a partial certification, reducing either the period of need or the number of H-2A workers being requested or both for certification, based upon information the CO receives during the course of processing the Application for Temporary Employment Certification, an audit, or otherwise. The number of workers certified will be reduced by one for each referred U.S. worker who is able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed and has not been rejected for lawful job-related reasons, to perform the services or labor. If a partial labor certification is issued, the Final Determination letter will:

(a) State the reason(s) why either the period of need and/or the number of H-2A workers requested has been reduced;

(b) Offer the applicant an opportunity to request an expedited administrative review, or a de novo administrative hearing before an ALJ, of the decision. The notice will state that in order to obtain such a review or hearing, the employer, within 7 calendar days of the date of the notice, will file by facsimile or other means normally assuring next day delivery a written request to the Chief ALJ of DOL (giving the address) and simultaneously serve a copy on the CO. The notice will also state that the employer may submit any legal arguments which the employer believes will rebut the basis of the CO's action; and

(c) State that if the employer does not request an expedited administrative judicial review or a de novo hearing before an ALJ within the 7 calendar days, the partial certification is final and the Department will not further consider that Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

§655.166   Requests for determinations based on nonavailability of U.S. workers.

(a) Standards for requests. If a temporary labor certification has been partially granted or denied based on the CO's determination that able, willing, available, eligible, and qualified U.S. workers are available, and, on or after 30 calendar days before the date of need, some or all of those U.S. workers are, in fact, no longer able, willing, eligible, qualified, or available, the employer may request a new temporary labor certification determination from the CO. Prior to making a new determination the CO will promptly ascertain (which may be through the SWA or other sources of information on U.S. worker availability) whether specific able, willing, eligible and qualified replacement U.S. workers are available or can be reasonably expected to be present at the employer's establishment within 72 hours from the date the employer's request was received. The CO will expeditiously, but in no case later than 72 hours after the time a complete request (including the signed statement included in paragraph (b) of this section) is received, make a determination on the request. An employer may appeal a denial of such a determination in accordance with the procedures contained in §655.171.

(b) Unavailability of U.S. workers. The employer's request for a new determination must be made directly to the CO by telephone or electronic mail, and must be confirmed by the employer in writing as required by this paragraph. If the employer telephonically or via electronic mail requests the new determination by asserting solely that U.S. workers have become unavailable, the employer must submit to the CO a signed statement confirming such assertion. If such signed statement is not received by the CO within 72 hours of the CO's receipt of the request for a new determination, the CO will deny the request.

(c) Notification of determination. If the CO determines that U.S. workers have become unavailable and cannot identify sufficient available U.S. workers who are able, willing, eligible, and qualified or who are likely to become available, the CO will grant the employer's request for a new determination. However, this does not preclude an employer from submitting subsequent requests for new determinations, if warranted, based on subsequent facts concerning purported nonavailability of U.S. workers or referred workers not being eligible workers or not able, willing, or qualified because of lawful job-related reasons.

§655.167   Document retention requirements.

(a) Entities required to retain documents. All employers filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification requesting H-2A agricultural workers under this subpart are required to retain the documents and records proving compliance with this subpart.

(b) Period of required retention. Records and documents must be retained for a period of 3 years from the date of certification of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification or from the date of determination if the Application for Temporary Employment Certification is denied or withdrawn.

(c) Documents and records to be retained by all applicants. (1) Proof of recruitment efforts, including:

(i) Job order placement as specified in §655.121;

(ii) Contact with former U.S. workers as specified in §655.153; or

(iii) Additional positive recruitment efforts (as specified in §655.154).

(2) Substantiation of information submitted in the recruitment report prepared in accordance with §655.156, such as evidence of nonapplicability of contact of former employees as specified in §655.153.

(3) The final recruitment report and any supporting resumes and contact information as specified in §655.156(b).

(4) Proof of workers' compensation insurance or State law coverage as specified in §655.122(e).

(5) Records of each worker's earnings as specified in §655.122(j).

(6) The work contract or a copy of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification as defined in 29 CFR 501.10 and specified in §655.122(q).

(d) Additional retention requirement for associations filing Application for Temporary Employment Certification. In addition to the documents specified in paragraph (c) above, Associations must retain documentation substantiating their status as an employer or agent, as specified in §655.131.

[75 FR 6959, Feb. 12, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 49457, Sept. 20, 2019]

Post Certification

§655.170   Extensions.

An employer may apply for extensions of the period of employment in the following circumstances.

(a) Short-term extension. Employers seeking extensions of 2 weeks or less of the certified Application for Temporary Employment Certification must apply directly to DHS for approval. If granted, the Application for Temporary Employment Certification will be deemed extended for such period as is approved by DHS.

(b) Long-term extension. Employers seeking extensions of more than 2 weeks may apply to the CO. Such requests must be related to weather conditions or other factors beyond the control of the employer (which may include unforeseen changes in market conditions). Such requests must be supported in writing, with documentation showing that the extension is needed and that the need could not have been reasonably foreseen by the employer. The CO will notify the employer of the decision in writing if time allows, or will otherwise notify the employer of the decision. The CO will not grant an extension where the total work contract period under that Application for Temporary Employment Certification and extensions would be 12 months or more, except in extraordinary circumstances. The employer may appeal a denial of a request for an extension by following the procedures in §655.171.

(c) Disclosure. The employer must provide to the workers a copy of any approved extension in accordance with §655.122(q), as soon as practicable.

§655.171   Appeals.

Where authorized in this subpart, employers may request an administrative review or de novo hearing before an ALJ of a decision by the CO. In such cases, the CO will send a copy of the OFLC administrative file to the Chief ALJ by means normally assuring next-day delivery. The Chief ALJ will immediately assign an ALJ (which may be a panel of such persons designated by the Chief ALJ from the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA)).

(a) Administrative review. Where the employer has requested administrative review, within 5 business days after receipt of the ETA administrative file the ALJ will, on the basis of the written record and after due consideration of any written submissions (which may not include new evidence) from the parties involved or amici curiae, either affirm, reverse, or modify the CO's decision, or remand to the CO for further action. The decision of the ALJ must specify the reasons for the action taken and must be immediately provided to the employer, the CO, the OFLC Administrator and DHS by means normally assuring next-day delivery. The ALJ's decision is the final decision of the Secretary.

(b) De novo hearing—(1) Conduct of hearing. Where the employer has requested a de novo hearing the procedures in 29 CFR part 18 apply to such hearings, except that:

(i) The appeal will not be considered to be a complaint to which an answer is required;

(ii) The ALJ will ensure that the hearing is scheduled to take place within 5 business days after the ALJ's receipt of the OFLC administrative file, if the employer so requests, and will allow for the introduction of new evidence; and

(iii) The ALJ's decision must be rendered within 10 calendar days after the hearing.

(2) Decision. After a de novo hearing, the ALJ must affirm, reverse, or modify the CO's determination, or remand to the CO for further action. The decision of the ALJ must specify the reasons for the action taken and must be immediately provided to the employer, CO, OFLC Administrator and DHS by means normally assuring next-day delivery. The ALJ's decision is the final decision of the Secretary.

§655.172   Withdrawal of job order and application for temporary employment certification.

(a) Employers may withdraw a job order from intrastate posting if the employer no longer plans to file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification. However, a withdrawal of a job order does not nullify existing obligations to those workers recruited in connection with the placement of a job order pursuant to this subpart or the filing of an Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(b) Employers may withdraw an Application for Temporary Employment Certification once it has been formally accepted by the NPC. However, the employer is still obligated to comply with the terms and conditions of employment contained in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification with respect to workers recruited in connection with that application.

§655.173   Setting meal charges; petition for higher meal charges.

(a) Meal charges. Until a new amount is set under this paragraph, an employer may charge workers up to $10.64 for providing them with three meals per day. The maximum charge allowed by this paragraph (a) will be changed annually by the same percentage as the 12 month percentage change for the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers for Food between December of the year just concluded and December of the year prior to that. The annual adjustments will be effective on the date of their publication by the OFLC Administrator as a Notice in the Federal Register. When a charge or deduction for the cost of meals would bring the employee's wage below the minimum wage set by the FLSA at 29 U.S.C. 206 the charge or deduction must meet the requirements of 29 U.S.C. 203(m) of the FLSA, including the recordkeeping requirements found at 29 CFR 516.27.

(b) Filing petitions for higher meal charges. The employer may file a petition with the CO to charge more than the applicable amount for meal charges if the employer justifies the charges and submits to the CO the documentation required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(1) Documentation submitted must include the cost of goods and services directly related to the preparation and serving of meals, the number of workers fed, the number of meals served and the number of days meals were provided. The cost of the following items may be included: Food; kitchen supplies other than food, such as lunch bags and soap; labor costs that have a direct relation to food service operations, such as wages of cooks and dining hall supervisors; fuel, water, electricity, and other utilities used for the food service operation; and other costs directly related to the food service operation. Charges for transportation, depreciation, overhead and similar charges may not be included. Receipts and other cost records for a representative pay period must be retained and must be available for inspection by the CO for a period of 1 year.

(2) The employer may begin charging the higher rate upon receipt of a favorable decision from the CO unless the CO sets a later effective date in the decision.

(c) Appeal rights. In the event the employer's petition for a higher meal charge is denied in whole or in part, the employer may appeal the denial. Appeals will be filed with the Chief ALJ, pursuant to §655.171.

§655.174   Public disclosure.

The Department will maintain an electronic file accessible to the public with information on all employers applying for temporary agricultural labor certifications. The database will include such information as the number of workers requested, the date filed, the date decided, and the final disposition.

Integrity Measures

§655.180   Audit.

The CO may conduct audits of applications for which certifications have been granted.

(a) Discretion. The applications selected for audit will be chosen within the sole discretion of the CO.

(b) Audit letter. Where an application is selected for audit, the CO will issue an audit letter to the employer and a copy, if appropriate, to the employer's agent or attorney. The audit letter will:

(1) State the documentation that must be submitted by the employer;

(2) Specify a date no more than 30 days from the date of the audit letter by which the required documentation must be received by the CO; and

(3) Advise that failure to comply with the audit process may result in the revocation of the certification or program debarment.

(c) Supplemental information request. During the course of the audit examination, the CO may request supplemental information and/or documentation from the employer in order to complete the audit.

(d) Potential referrals. In addition to steps in this subpart, the CO may determine to provide the audit findings and underlying documentation to DHS or another appropriate enforcement agency. The CO will refer any findings that an employer discouraged an eligible U.S. worker from applying, or failed to hire, discharged, or otherwise discriminated against an eligible U.S. worker, to the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration Related Employment Practices.

§655.181   Revocation.

(a) Basis for DOL revocation. The OFLC Administrator may revoke a temporary agricultural labor certification approved under this subpart, if the OFLC Administrator finds:

(1) The issuance of the temporary agricultural labor certification was not justified due to fraud or misrepresentation in the application process;

(2) The employer substantially violated a material term or condition of the approved temporary agricultural labor certification, as defined in §655.182;

(3) The employer failed to cooperate with a DOL investigation or with a DOL official performing an investigation, inspection, audit (as discussed in §655.180), or law enforcement function under 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart; or

(4) The employer failed to comply with one or more sanctions or remedies imposed by the WHD, or with one or more decisions or orders of the Secretary or a court order secured by the Secretary under 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart.

(b) DOL procedures for revocation. (1) Notice of Revocation. If the OFLC Administrator makes a determination to revoke an employer's temporary labor certification, the OFLC Administrator will send to the employer (and its attorney or agent) a Notice of Revocation. The Notice will contain a detailed statement of the grounds for the revocation, and it will inform the employer of its right to submit rebuttal evidence or to appeal. If the employer does not file rebuttal evidence or an appeal within 14 days of the date of the Notice of Revocation, the Notice is the final agency action and will take effect immediately at the end of the 14-day period.

(2) Rebuttal. The employer may submit evidence to rebut the grounds stated in the Notice of Revocation within 14 calendar days of the date the Notice is issued. If rebuttal evidence is timely filed by the employer, the OFLC Administrator will inform the employer of the OFLC Administrator's final determination on the revocation within 14 calendar days of receiving the rebuttal evidence. If the OFLC Administrator determines that the certification should be revoked, the OFLC Administrator will inform the employer of its right to appeal according to the procedures of §655.171. The employer must file the appeal within 10 calendar days after the OFLC Administrator's final determination, or the OFLC Administrator's determination is the final agency action and will take effect immediately at the end of the 10-day period.

(3) Appeal. An employer may appeal a Notice of Revocation, or a final determination of the OFLC Administrator after the review of rebuttal evidence, according to the appeal procedures of §655.171. The ALJ's decision is the final agency action.

(4) Stay. The timely filing of rebuttal evidence or an administrative appeal will stay the revocation pending the outcome of those proceedings.

(5) Decision. If the temporary agricultural labor certification is revoked, the OFLC Administrator will send a copy of the final agency action of the Secretary to DHS and the Department of State (DOS).

(c) Employer's obligations in the event of revocation. If an employer's temporary agricultural labor certification is revoked pursuant to this section, the employer is responsible for:

(1) Reimbursement of actual inbound transportation and subsistence expenses, as if the worker meets the requirements for payment under §655.122(h)(1);

(2) The worker's outbound transportation expenses, as if the worker meets the requirements for payment under §655.122(h)(2);

(3) Payment to the worker of the amount due under the three-fourths guarantee as required by §655.122(i); and

(4) Any other wages, benefits, and working conditions due or owing to the worker under this subpart.

§655.182   Debarment.

(a) Debarment of an employer. The OFLC Administrator may debar an employer or any successor in interest to that employer from receiving future labor certifications under this subpart, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section, if the OFLC Administrator finds that the employer substantially violated a material term or condition of its temporary labor certification, with respect to H-2A workers, workers in corresponding employment, or U.S. workers improperly rejected for employment, or improperly laid off or displaced.

(b) Debarment of an agent or attorney. The OFLC Administrator may debar an agent or attorney from participating in any action under 8 U.S.C. 1188, this subpart, or 29 CFR part 501, if the OFLC Administrator finds that the agent or attorney participated in an employer's substantial violation. The OFLC Administrator may not issue future labor certifications under this subpart to any employer represented by a debarred agent or attorney, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section.

(c) Statute of limitations and period of debarment. (1) The OFLC Administrator must issue any Notice of Debarment no later than 2 years after the occurrence of the violation.

(2) No employer, attorney, or agent may be debarred under this subpart for more than 3 years from the date of the final agency decision.

(d) Definition of violation. For the purposes of this section, a violation includes:

(1) One or more acts of commission or omission on the part of the employer or the employer's agent which involve:

(i) Failure to pay or provide the required wages, benefits or working conditions to the employer's H-2A workers and/or workers in corresponding employment;

(ii) Failure, except for lawful, job-related reasons, to offer employment to qualified U.S. workers who applied for the job opportunity for which certification was sought;

(iii) Failure to comply with the employer's obligations to recruit U.S. workers;

(iv) Improper layoff or displacement of U.S. workers or workers in corresponding employment;

(v) Failure to comply with one or more sanctions or remedies imposed by the WHD Administrator for violation(s) of contractual or other H-2A obligations, or with one or more decisions or orders of the Secretary or a court under 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart;

(vi) Impeding an investigation of an employer under 8 U.S.C. 1188 or 29 CFR part 501, or an audit under §655.180 of this subpart;

(vii) Employing an H-2A worker outside the area of intended employment, in an activity/activities not listed in the job order or outside the validity period of employment of the job order, including any approved extension thereof;

(viii) A violation of the requirements of §655.135(j) or (k);

(ix) A violation of any of the provisions listed in 29 CFR 501.4(a); or

(x) A single heinous act showing such flagrant disregard for the law that future compliance with program requirements cannot reasonably be expected;

(2) The employer's failure to pay a necessary certification fee in a timely manner;

(3) Fraud involving the Application for Temporary Employment Certification; or

(4) A material misrepresentation of fact during the application process.

(e) Determining whether a violation is substantial. In determining whether a violation is so substantial so as to merit debarment, the factors the OFLC Administrator may consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Previous history of violation(s) of 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart;

(2) The number of H-2A workers, workers in corresponding employment, or U.S. workers who were and/or are affected by the violation(s);

(3) The gravity of the violation(s);

(4) Efforts made in good faith to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, and this subpart;

(5) Explanation from the person charged with the violation(s);

(6) Commitment to future compliance, taking into account the public health, interest, or safety, and whether the person has previously violated 8 U.S.C. 1188;

(7) The extent to which the violator achieved a financial gain due to the violation(s), or the potential financial loss or potential injury to the worker(s).

(f) Debarment procedure—(1) Notice of Debarment. If the OFLC Administrator makes a determination to debar an employer, attorney, or agent, the OFLC Administrator will send the party a Notice of Debarment. The Notice will state the reason for the debarment finding, including a detailed explanation of the grounds for and the duration of the debarment, and it will inform the party subject to the Notice of its right to submit rebuttal evidence or to request a debarment hearing. If the party does not file rebuttal evidence or request a hearing within 30 calendar days of the date of the Notice of Debarment, the Notice will be the final agency action and the debarment will take effect at the end of the 30-day period.

(2) Rebuttal. The party who received the Notice of Debarment may choose to submit evidence to rebut the grounds stated in the Notice within 30 calendar days of the date the Notice is issued. If rebuttal evidence is timely filed, the OFLC Administrator will issue a final determination on the debarment within 30 days of receiving the rebuttal evidence. If the OFLC Administrator determines that the party should be debarred, the OFLC Administrator will inform the party of its right to request a debarment hearing according to the procedures of §655.182(f)(3). The party must request a hearing within 30 calendar days after the date of the OFLC Administrator's final determination, or the OFLC Administrator's determination will be the final agency order and the debarment will take effect at the end of the 30-day period.

(3) Hearing. The recipient of a Notice of Debarment may request a debarment hearing within 30 calendar days of the date of a Notice of Debarment or the date of a final determination of the OFLC Administrator after review of rebuttal evidence submitted pursuant to §655.182(f)(2). To obtain a debarment hearing, the debarred party must, within 30 days of the date of the Notice or the final determination, file a written request to the Chief Administrative Law Judge, United States Department of Labor, 800 K Street, NW., Suite 400-N, Washington, DC 20001-8002, and simultaneously serve a copy to the OFLC Administrator. The debarment will take effect 30 days from the date the Notice of Debarment or final determination is issued, unless a request for review is properly filed within 30 days from the issuance of the Notice of Debarment or final determination. The timely filing of a request for a hearing stays the debarment pending the outcome of the hearing. Within 10 days of receipt of the request for a hearing, the OFLC Administrator will send a certified copy of the ETA case file to the Chief ALJ by means normally assuring next-day delivery. The Chief ALJ will immediately assign an ALJ to conduct the hearing. The procedures in 29 CFR part 18 apply to such hearings, except that the request for a hearing will not be considered to be a complaint to which an answer is required.

(4) Decision. After the hearing, the ALJ must affirm, reverse, or modify the OFLC Administrator's determination. The ALJ will prepare the decision within 60 days after completion of the hearing and closing of the record. The ALJ's decision will be provided immediately to the parties to the debarment hearing by means normally assuring next-day delivery. The ALJ's decision is the final agency action, unless either party, within 30 calendar days of the ALJ's decision, seeks review of the decision with the Administrative Review Board (ARB).

(5) Review by the ARB. (i) Any party wishing review of the decision of an ALJ must, within 30 days of the decision of the ALJ, petition the ARB to review the decision. Copies of the petition must be served on all parties and on the ALJ. The ARB will decide whether to accept the petition within 30 days of receipt. If the ARB declines to accept the petition, or if the ARB does not issue a notice accepting a petition within 30 days after the receipt of a timely filing of the petition, the decision of the ALJ will be deemed the final agency action. If a petition for review is accepted, the decision of the ALJ will be stayed unless and until the ARB issues an order affirming the decision. The ARB must serve notice of its decision to accept or not to accept the petition upon the ALJ and upon all parties to the proceeding.

(ii) Upon receipt of the ARB's notice to accept the petition, the Office of Administrative Law Judges will promptly forward a copy of the complete hearing record to the ARB.

(iii) Where the ARB has determined to review such decision and order, the ARB will notify each party of the issue(s) raised, the form in which submissions must be made (e.g., briefs or oral argument), and the time within which such presentation must be submitted.

(6) ARB decision. The ARB's final decision must be issued within 90 days from the notice granting the petition and served upon all parties and the ALJ. If the ARB fails to provide a decision within 90 days from the notice granting the petition, the ALJ's decision will be the final agency decision.

(g) Concurrent debarment jurisdiction. OFLC and the WHD have concurrent jurisdiction to impose a debarment remedy under this section or under 29 CFR 501.20. When considering debarment, OFLC and the WHD may inform one another and may coordinate their activities. A specific violation for which debarment is imposed will be cited in a single debarment proceeding. Copies of final debarment decisions will be forwarded to DHS promptly.

(h) Debarment involving members of associations. If the OFLC Administrator determines that an individual employer-member of a joint employer association has committed a substantial violation, the debarment determination will apply only to that member unless the OFLC Administrator determines that the association or another association member participated in the violation, in which case the debarment will be invoked against the association or other complicit association member(s) as well.

(i) Debarment involving associations acting as joint employers. If the OFLC Administrator determines that an association acting as a joint employer with its members has committed a substantial violation, the debarment determination will apply only to the association, and will not be applied to any individual employer-member of the association. However, if the OFLC Administrator determines that the member participated in, had knowledge of, or had reason to know of the violation, the debarment may be invoked against the complicit association member as well. An association debarred from the H-2A temporary labor certification program will not be permitted to continue to file as a joint employer with its members during the period of the debarment.

(j) Debarment involving associations acting as sole employers. If the OFLC Administrator determines that an association acting as a sole employer has committed a substantial violation, the debarment determination will apply only to the association and any successor in interest to the debarred association.

§655.183   Less than substantial violations.

(a) Requirement of special procedures. If the OFLC Administrator determines that a less than substantial violation has occurred, but the OFLC Administrator has reason to believe that past actions on the part of the employer (or agent or attorney) may have had and may continue to have a chilling or otherwise negative effect on the recruitment, employment, and retention of U.S. workers, the OFLC Administrator may require the employer to conform to special procedures before and after the temporary labor certification determination. These special procedures may include special on-site positive recruitment and streamlined interviewing and referral techniques. The special procedures are designed to enhance U.S. worker recruitment and retention in the next year as a condition for receiving a temporary agricultural labor certification. Such requirements will be reasonable; will not require the employer to offer better wages, working conditions, and benefits than those specified in §655.122; and will be no more than deemed necessary to assure employer compliance with the test of U.S. worker availability and adverse effect criteria of this subpart.

(b) Notification of required special procedures. The OFLC Administrator will notify the employer (or agent or attorney) in writing of the special procedures that will be required in the coming year. The notification will state the reasons for the imposition of the requirements, state that the employer's agreement to accept the conditions will constitute inclusion of them as bona fide conditions and terms of a temporary agricultural labor certification, and will offer the employer an opportunity to request an administrative review or a de novo hearing before an ALJ. If an administrative review or de novo hearing is requested, the procedures prescribed in §655.171 will apply.

(c) Failure to comply with special procedures. If the OFLC Administrator determines that the employer has failed to comply with special procedures required pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, the OFLC Administrator will send a written notice to the employer, stating that the employer's otherwise affirmative H-2A certification determination will be reduced by 25 percent of the total number of H-2A workers requested (which cannot be more than those requested in the previous year) for a period of 1 year. Notice of such a reduction in the number of workers requested will be conveyed to the employer by the OFLC Administrator in the OFLC Administrator's written certification determination. The notice will offer the employer an opportunity to request administrative review or a de novo hearing before an ALJ. If administrative review or a de novo hearing is requested, the procedures prescribed in §655.171 will apply, provided that if the ALJ affirms the OFLC Administrator's determination that the employer has failed to comply with special procedures required by paragraph (a) of this section, the reduction in the number of workers requested will be 25 percent of the total number of H-2A workers requested (which cannot be more than those requested in the previous year) for a period of 1 year.

§655.184   Applications involving fraud or willful misrepresentation.

(a) Referral for investigation. If the CO discovers possible fraud or willful misrepresentation involving an Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the CO may refer the matter to the DHS and the Department's Office of the Inspector General for investigation.

(b) Sanctions. If the WHD, a court or the DHS determines that there was fraud or willful misrepresentation involving an Application for Temporary Employment Certification and certification has been granted, a finding under this paragraph will be cause to revoke the certification. The finding of fraud or willful misrepresentation may also constitute a debarrable violation under §655.182.

§655.185   Job service complaint system; enforcement of work contracts.

(a) Filing with DOL. Complaints arising under this subpart must be filed through the Job Service Complaint System, as described in 20 CFR part 658, subpart E. Complaints involving allegations of fraud or misrepresentation must be referred by the SWA to the CO for appropriate handling and resolution. Complaints that involve worker contracts must be referred by the SWA to the WHD for appropriate handling and resolution, as described in 29 CFR part 501. As part of this process, the WHD may report the results of its investigation to the OFLC Administrator for consideration of employer penalties or such other action as may be appropriate.

(b) Filing with the Department of Justice. Complaints alleging that an employer discouraged an eligible U.S. worker from applying, failed to hire, discharged, or otherwise discriminated against an eligible U.S. worker, or discovered violations involving the same, will be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration Related Employment Practices (OSC), in addition to any activity, investigation, and/or enforcement action taken by ETA or a SWA. Likewise, if OSC becomes aware of a violation of the regulations in this subpart, it may provide such information to the appropriate SWA and the CO.

Labor Certification Process for Temporary Agricultural Employment in Range Sheep Herding, Goat Herding, and Production of Livestock Occupations

Source: 80 FR 63066, Oct. 16, 2015, unless otherwise noted.

§655.200   Scope and purpose of herding and range livestock regulations.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of §§655.200-655.235 is to establish certain procedures for employers who apply to the Department of Labor to obtain labor certifications to hire temporary agricultural foreign workers to perform herding or production of livestock on the range, as defined in §655.201. Unless otherwise specified in §§655.200-655.235, employers whose job opportunities meet the qualifying criteria under §§655.200-655.235 must fully comply with all of the requirements of §§655.100-655.185; part 653, subparts B and F; and part 654 of this chapter.

(b) Jobs subject to §§655.200-655.235. These procedures apply to job opportunities with the following unique characteristics:

(1) The work activities involve the herding or production of livestock (which includes work that is closely and directly related to herding and/or the production of livestock), as defined under §655.201;

(2) The work is performed on the range for the majority (meaning more than 50 percent) of the workdays in the work contract period. Any additional work performed at a place other than the range must constitute the production of livestock (which includes work that is closely and directly related to herding and/or the production of livestock); and

(3) The work activities generally require the workers to be on call 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

§655.201   Definition of herding and range livestock terms.

The following are terms that are not defined in §§655.100-655.185 and are specific to applications for labor certifications involving the herding or production of livestock on the range.

Herding. Activities associated with the caring, controlling, feeding, gathering, moving, tending, and sorting of livestock on the range.

Livestock. An animal species or species group such as sheep, cattle, goats, horses, or other domestic hooved animals. In the context of §§655.200-655.235, livestock refers to those species raised on the range.

Production of livestock. The care or husbandry of livestock throughout one or more seasons during the year, including guarding and protecting livestock from predatory animals and poisonous plants; feeding, fattening, and watering livestock; examining livestock to detect diseases, illnesses, or other injuries; administering medical care to sick or injured livestock; applying vaccinations and spraying insecticides on the range; and assisting with the breeding, birthing, raising, weaning, castration, branding, and general care of livestock. This term also includes duties performed off the range that are closely and directly related to herding and/or the production of livestock. The following are non-exclusive examples of ranch work that is closely and directly related: repairing fences used to contain the herd; assembling lambing jugs; cleaning out lambing jugs; feeding and caring for the dogs that the workers use on the range to assist with herding or guarding the flock; feeding and caring for the horses that the workers use on the range to help with herding or to move the sheep camps and supplies; and loading animals into livestock trucks for movement to the range or to market. The following are examples of ranch work that is not closely and directly related: working at feedlots; planting, irrigating and harvesting crops; operating or repairing heavy equipment; constructing wells or dams; digging irrigation ditches; applying weed control; cutting trees or chopping wood; constructing or repairing the bunkhouse or other ranch buildings; and delivering supplies from the ranch to the herders on the range.

Range. The range is any area located away from the ranch headquarters used by the employer. The following factors are indicative of the range: it involves land that is uncultivated; it involves wide expanses of land, such as thousands of acres; it is located in a remote, isolated area; and typically range housing is required so that the herder can be in constant attendance to the herd. No one factor is controlling and the totality of the circumstances is considered in determining what should be considered range. The range does not include feedlots, corrals, or any area where the stock involved would be near ranch headquarters. Ranch headquarters, which is a place where the business of the ranch occurs and is often where the owner resides, is limited and does not embrace large acreage; it only includes the ranchhouse, barns, sheds, pen, bunkhouse, cookhouse, and other buildings in the vicinity. The range also does not include any area where a herder is not required to be available constantly to attend to the livestock and to perform tasks, including but not limited to, ensuring the livestock do not stray, protecting them from predators, and monitoring their health.

Range housing. Range housing is housing located on the range that meets the standards articulated under §655.235.

§655.205   Herding and range livestock job orders.

The employer whose job opportunity has been determined to qualify for these procedures, whether individual, association, or H-2ALC, is not required to comply with the job order filing requirements in §655.121(a) through (d). Rather, the employer must submit Form ETA-790, directly to the National Processing Center (NPC) designated by the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC Administrator) along with a completed H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification, Form ETA-9142A, as required in §655.215.

§655.210   Contents of herding and range livestock job orders.

(a) Content of job offers. Unless otherwise specified in §§655.200-655.235, the employer, whether individual, association, or H-2ALC, must satisfy the requirements for job orders established under §655.121(e) and for the content of job offers established under part 653, subpart F of this chapter and §655.122.

(b) Job qualifications and requirements. The job offer must include a statement that the workers are on call for up to 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and that the workers spend the majority (meaning more than 50 percent) of the workdays during the contract period in the herding or production of livestock on the range. Duties may include activities performed off the range only if such duties constitute the production of livestock (which includes work that is closely and directly related to herding and/or the production of livestock). All such duties must be specifically disclosed on the job order. The job offer may also specify that applicants must possess up to 6 months of experience in similar occupations involving the herding or production of livestock on the range and require reference(s) for the employer to verify applicant experience. An employer may specify other appropriate job qualifications and requirements for its job opportunity. Job offers may not impose on U.S. workers any restrictions or obligations that will not be imposed on the employer's H-2A workers engaged in herding or the production of livestock on the range. Any such requirements must be applied equally to both U.S. and foreign workers. Each job qualification and requirement listed in the job offer must be bona fide, and the Certifying Officer (CO) may require the employer to submit documentation to substantiate the appropriateness of any other job qualifications and requirements specified in the job offer.

(c) Range housing. The employer must specify in the job order that range housing will be provided. The range housing must meet the requirements set forth in §655.235.

(d) Employer-provided items. (1) The employer must provide to the worker, without charge or deposit charge, all tools, supplies, and equipment required by law, by the employer, or by the nature of the work to perform the duties assigned in the job offer safely and effectively. The employer must specify in the job order which items it will provide to the worker.

(2) Because of the unique nature of the herding or production of livestock on the range, this equipment must include effective means of communicating with persons capable of responding to the worker's needs in case of an emergency including, but not limited to, satellite phones, cell phones, wireless devices, radio transmitters, or other types of electronic communication systems. The employer must specify in the job order:

(i) The type(s) of electronic communication device(s) and that such device(s) will be provided without charge or deposit charge to the worker during the entire period of employment; and

(ii) If there are periods of time when the workers are stationed in locations where electronic communication devices may not operate effectively, the employer must specify in the job order, the means and frequency with which the employer plans to make contact with the workers to monitor the worker's well-being. This contact must include either arrangements for the workers to be located, on a regular basis, in geographic areas where the electronic communication devices operate effectively, or arrangements for regular, pre-scheduled, in-person visits between the workers and the employer, which may include visits between the workers and other persons designated by the employer to resupply the workers' camp.

(e) Meals. The employer must specify in the job offer and provide to the worker, without charge or deposit charge:

(1) Either three sufficient meals a day, or free and convenient cooking facilities and adequate provision of food to enable the worker to prepare his own meals. To be sufficient or adequate, the meals or food provided must include a daily source of protein, vitamins, and minerals; and

(2) Adequate potable water, or water that can be easily rendered potable and the means to do so. Standards governing the provision of water to range workers are also addressed in §655.235(e).

(f) Hours and earnings statements. (1) The employer must keep accurate and adequate records with respect to the worker's earnings and furnish to the worker on or before each payday a statement of earnings. The employer is exempt from recording the hours actually worked each day, the time the worker begins and ends each workday, as well as the nature and amount of work performed, but all other regulatory requirements in §655.122(j) and (k) apply.

(2) The employer must keep daily records indicating whether the site of the employee's work was on the range or off the range. If the employer prorates a worker's wage pursuant to paragraph (g)(2) of this section because of the worker's voluntary absence for personal reasons, it must also keep a record of the reason for the worker's absence.

(g) Rates of pay. The employer must pay the worker at least the monthly AEWR, as specified in §655.211, the agreed-upon collective bargaining wage, or the applicable minimum wage imposed by Federal or State law or judicial action, in effect at the time work is performed, whichever is highest, for every month of the job order period or portion thereof.

(1) The offered wage shall not be based on commissions, bonuses, or other incentives, unless the employer guarantees a wage that equals or exceeds the monthly AEWR, the agreed-upon collective bargaining wage, or the applicable minimum wage imposed by Federal or State law or judicial action, or any agreed-upon collective bargaining rate, whichever is highest, and must be paid to each worker free and clear without any unauthorized deductions.

(2) The employer may prorate the wage for the initial and final pay periods of the job order period if its pay period does not match the beginning or ending dates of the job order. The employer also may prorate the wage if an employee is voluntarily unavailable to work for personal reasons.

(h) Frequency of pay. The employer must state in the job offer the frequency with which the worker will be paid, which must be at least twice monthly. Employers must pay wages when due.

§655.211   Herding and range livestock wage rate.

(a) Compliance with rates of pay. (1) To comply with its obligation under §655.210(g), an employer must offer, advertise in its recruitment and pay each worker employed under §§655.200-655.235 a wage that is the highest of the monthly AEWR established under this section, the agreed-upon collective bargaining wage, or the applicable minimum wage imposed by Federal or State law or judicial action.

(2) If the monthly AEWR established under this section is adjusted during a work contract, and is higher than both the agreed-upon collective bargaining wage and the applicable minimum wage imposed by Federal or State law or judicial action in effect at the time the work is performed, the employer must pay that adjusted monthly AEWR upon publication by the Department in the Federal Register.

(b) Publication of the monthly AEWR. The OFLC Administrator will publish a notice in the Federal Register, at least once in each calendar year, on a date to be determined by the OFLC Administrator, establishing the monthly AEWR.

(c) Monthly AEWR Rate. (1) The monthly AEWR shall be $7.25 multiplied by 48 hours, and then multiplied by 4.333 weeks per month; and

(2) Beginning for calendar year 2017, the monthly AEWR shall be adjusted annually based on the Employment Cost Index for wages and salaries published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (ECI) for the preceding October—October period.

(d) Transition Rates. (1) For the period from the effective date of this rule through calendar year 2016, the Department shall set the monthly AEWR at 80% of the result of the formula in paragraph (c) of this section.

(2) For calendar year 2017, the Department shall set the monthly AEWR at 90% of the result of the formula in paragraph (c) of this section.

(3) For calendar year 2018 and beyond, the Department shall set the monthly AEWR at 100% of the result of the formula in paragraph (c) of this section.

§655.215   Procedures for filing herding and range livestock applications for temporary employment certification.

(a) Compliance with §§655.130-655.132. Unless otherwise specified in §§655.200-655.235, the employer must satisfy the requirements for filing an H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification with the NPC designated by the OFLC Administrator as required under §§655.130-655.132.

(b) What to file. An employer must file a completed H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification (Form ETA-9142A), Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order (Form ETA-790), and an attachment identifying, with as much geographic specificity as possible for each farmer/rancher, the names, physical locations and estimated start and end dates of need where work will be performed under the job order.

(1) The H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification and Form ETA-790 may be filed by an individual employer, association, or an H-2ALC, covering multiple areas of intended employment and more than two contiguous States.

(2) The period of need identified on the H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order for range sheep or goat herding or production occupations must be no more than 364 calendar days. The period of need identified on the H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job order for range herding or production of cattle, horses, or other domestic hooved livestock, except sheep and goats, must be for no more than 10 months.

(3) An association of agricultural employers filing as a joint employer may submit a single Form ETA-790 and master H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification on behalf of its employer-members located in more than two contiguous States with different start dates of need. Unless modifications to a sheep or goat herding or production of livestock job order are required by the CO or requested by the employer, pursuant to §655.121(e), the association is not required to re-submit the Form ETA-790 during the calendar year with its H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

§655.220   Processing herding and range livestock applications for temporary employment certification.

(a) NPC Review. Unless otherwise specified in §§655.200-655.235, the CO will review and process the H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification and the Form ETA-790 in accordance with the requirements outlined in §§655.140-655.145, and will work with the employer to address any deficiencies in the job order in a manner consistent with §§655.140-655.141.

(b) Notice of acceptance. Once the job order is determined to meet all regulatory requirements, the NPC will issue a Notice of Acceptance consistent with §655.143(b)(1). The CO will provide notice to the employer authorizing conditional access to the interstate clearance system; identify and transmit a copy of the Form ETA-790 to any one of the SWAs having jurisdiction over the anticipated worksites, and direct the SWA to place the job order promptly in intrastate and interstate clearance (including all States where the work will take place); and commence recruitment of U.S. workers. Where an association of agricultural employers files as a joint employer and submits a single Form ETA-790 on behalf of its employer-members, the CO will transmit a copy of the Form ETA-790 to the SWA having jurisdiction over the location of the association, again directing that SWA to place the job order in intrastate and interstate clearance, including to those other States where the work will take place, and commence recruitment of U.S. workers.

(c) Electronic job registry. Under §655.144(b), where a single job order is approved for an association of agricultural employers filing as a joint employer on behalf of its employer-members with different start dates of need, the Department will keep the job order posted on the OFLC electronic job registry until 50 percent of the period of the work contract has elapsed for all employer-members identified on the job order.

§655.225   Post-acceptance requirements for herding and range livestock.

(a) Unless otherwise specified in this section, the requirements for recruiting U.S. workers by the employer and SWA must be satisfied, as specified in §§655.150-655.158.

(b) Interstate clearance of job order. Pursuant to §655.150(b), where a single job order is approved for an association of agricultural employers filing as a joint employer on behalf of its employer-members with different start dates of need, each of the SWAs to which the Form ETA-790 was transmitted by the CO or the SWA having jurisdiction over the location of the association must keep the job order on its active file until 50 percent of the period of the work contract has elapsed for all employer-members identified on the job order, and must refer to the association each qualified U.S. worker who applies (or on whose behalf an application is made) for the job opportunity.

(c) Any eligible U.S. worker who applies (or on whose behalf an application is made) for the job opportunity and is hired will be placed at the location nearest to him/her absent a request for a different location by the U.S. worker. Employers must make reasonable efforts to accommodate such placement requests by the U.S. worker.

(d) An association that fulfills the recruitment requirements for its members is required to maintain a written recruitment report containing the information required by §655.156 for each individual employer-member identified in the application or job order, including any approved modifications.

[80 FR 63066, Oct. 16, 2015, as amended at 84 FR 49457, Sept. 20, 2019]

§655.230   Range housing.

(a) Housing for work performed on the range must meet the minimum standards contained in §655.235 and §655.122(d)(2).

(b) The SWA with jurisdiction over the location of the range housing must inspect and certify that such housing used on the range is sufficient to accommodate the number of certified workers and meets all applicable standards contained in §655.235. The SWA must conduct a housing inspection no less frequently than once every three calendar years after the initial inspection and provide documentation to the employer certifying the housing for a period lasting no more than 36 months. If the SWA determines that an employer's housing cannot be inspected within a 3-year timeframe or, when it is inspected, the housing does not meet all the applicable standards, the CO may deny the H-2A application in full or in part or require additional inspections, to be carried out by the SWA, in order to satisfy the regulatory requirement.

(c)(1) The employer may self-certify its compliance with the standards contained in §655.235 only when the employer has received a certification from the SWA for the range housing it seeks to use within the past 36 months.

(2) To self-certify the range housing, the employer must submit a copy of the valid SWA housing certification and a written statement, signed and dated by the employer, to the SWA and the CO assuring that the housing is available, sufficient to accommodate the number of workers being requested for temporary labor certification, and meets all the applicable standards for range housing contained in §655.235.

(d) The use of range housing at a location other than the range, where fixed site employer-provided housing would otherwise be required, is permissible only when the worker occupying the housing is performing work that constitutes the production of livestock (which includes work that is closely and directly related to herding and/or the production of livestock). In such a situation, workers must be granted access to facilities, including but not limited to toilets and showers with hot and cold water under pressure, as well as cooking and cleaning facilities, that would satisfy the requirements contained in §655.122(d)(1)(i). When such work does not constitute the production of livestock, workers must be housed in housing that meets all the requirements of §655.122(d).

§655.235   Standards for range housing.

An employer employing workers under §§655.200-655.235 may use a mobile unit, camper, or other similar mobile housing vehicle, tents, and remotely located stationary structures along herding trails, which meet the following standards:

(a) Housing site. Range housing sites must be well drained and free from depressions where water may stagnate.

(b) Water supply. (1) An adequate and convenient supply of water that meets the standards of the state or local health authority must be provided.

(2) The employer must provide each worker at least 4.5 gallons of potable water, per day, for drinking and cooking, delivered on a regular basis, so that the workers will have at least this amount available for their use until this supply is next replenished. Employers must also provide an additional amount of water sufficient to meet the laundry and bathing needs of each worker. This additional water may be non-potable, and an employer may require a worker to rely on natural sources of water for laundry and bathing needs if these sources are available and contain water that is clean and safe for these purposes. If an employer relies on alternate water sources to meet any of the workers' needs, it must take precautionary measures to protect the worker's health where these sources are also used to water the herd, dogs, or horses, to prevent contamination of the sources if they collect runoff from areas where these animals excrete.

(3) The water provided for use by the workers may not be used to water dogs, horses, or the herd.

(4) In situations where workers are located in areas that are not accessible by motorized vehicle, an employer may request a variance from the requirement that it deliver potable water to workers, provided the following conditions are satisfied:

(i) It seeks the variance at the time it submits its H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification, Form ETA-9142A;

(ii) It attests that it has identified natural sources of water that are potable or may be easily rendered potable in the area in which the housing will be located, and that these sources will remain available during the period the worker is at that location;

(iii) It attests that it shall provide each worker an effective means to test whether the water is potable and, if not potable, the means to easily render it potable; and

(iv) The CO approves the variance.

(5) Individual drinking cups must be provided; and

(6) Containers appropriate for storing and using potable water must be provided and, in locations subject to freezing temperatures, containers must be small enough to allow storage in the housing unit to prevent freezing.

(c) Excreta and liquid waste disposal. (1) Facilities, including shovels, must be provided and maintained for effective disposal of excreta and liquid waste in accordance with the requirements of the state health authority or involved Federal agency; and

(2) If pits are used for disposal by burying of excreta and liquid waste, they must be kept fly-tight when not filled in completely after each use. The maintenance of disposal pits must be in accordance with state and local health and sanitation requirements.

(d) Housing structure. (1) Housing must be structurally sound, in good repair, in a sanitary condition and must provide shelter against the elements to occupants;

(2) Housing, other than tents, must have flooring constructed of rigid materials easy to clean and so located as to prevent ground and surface water from entering;

(3) Each housing unit must have at least one window that can be opened or skylight opening directly to the outdoors; and

(4) Tents appropriate to weather conditions may be used only where the terrain and/or land use regulations do not permit the use of other more substantial housing.

(e) Heating. (1) Where the climate in which the housing will be used is such that the safety and health of a worker requires heated living quarters, all such quarters must have properly installed operable heating equipment that supplies adequate heat. Where the climate in which the housing will be used is mild and the low temperature for any day in which the housing will be used is not reasonably expected to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, no separate heating equipment is required as long as proper protective clothing and bedding are made available, free of charge or deposit charge, to the workers.

(2) Any stoves or other sources of heat using combustible fuel must be installed and vented in such a manner as to prevent fire hazards and a dangerous concentration of gases. If a solid or liquid fuel stove is used in a room with wooden or other combustible flooring, there must be a concrete slab, insulated metal sheet, or other fireproof material on the floor under each stove, extending at least 18 inches beyond the perimeter of the base of the stove.

(3) Any wall or ceiling within 18 inches of a solid or liquid fuel stove or stove pipe must be made of fireproof material. A vented metal collar must be installed around a stovepipe or vent passing through a wall, ceiling, floor or roof.

(4) When a heating system has automatic controls, the controls must be of the type that cuts off the fuel supply when the flame fails or is interrupted or whenever a predetermined safe temperature or pressure is exceeded.

(5) A heater may be used in a tent if the heater is approved by a testing service and if the tent is fireproof.

(f) Lighting. (1) In areas where it is not feasible to provide electrical service to range housing units, including tents, lanterns must be provided (kerosene wick lights meet the definition of lantern); and

(2) Lanterns, where used, must be provided in a minimum ratio of one per occupant of each unit, including tents.

(g) Bathing, laundry, and hand washing. Bathing, laundry and hand washing facilities must be provided when it is not feasible to provide hot and cold water under pressure.

(h) Food storage. When mechanical refrigeration of food is not feasible, the worker must be provided with another means of keeping food fresh and preventing spoilage, such as a butane or propane gas refrigerator. Other proven methods of safeguarding fresh foods, such as dehydrating or salting, are acceptable.

(i) Cooking and eating facilities. (1) When workers or their families are permitted or required to cook in their individual unit, a space must be provided with adequate lighting and ventilation; and

(2) Wall surfaces next to all food preparation and cooking areas must be of nonabsorbent, easy to clean material. Wall surfaces next to cooking areas must be made of fire-resistant material.

(j) Garbage and other refuse. (1) Durable, fly-tight, clean containers must be provided to each housing unit, including tents, for storing garbage and other refuse; and

(2) Provision must be made for collecting or burying refuse, which includes garbage, at least twice a week or more often if necessary, except where the terrain in which the housing is located cannot be accessed by motor vehicle and the refuse cannot be buried, in which case the employer must provide appropriate receptacles for storing the refuse and for removing the trash when the employer next transports supplies to the location.

(k) Insect and rodent control. Appropriate materials, including sprays, and sealed containers for storing food, must be provided to aid housing occupants in combating insects, rodents and other vermin.

(l) Sleeping facilities. A separate comfortable and clean bed, cot, or bunk, with a clean mattress, must be provided for each person, except in a family arrangement, unless a variance is requested from and granted by the CO. When filing an application for certification and only where it is demonstrated to the CO that it is impractical to provide a comfortable and clean bed, cot, or bunk, with a clean mattress, for each range worker, the employer may request a variance from this requirement to allow for a second worker to join the range operation. Such a variance must be used infrequently, and the period of the variance will be temporary, i.e., the variance shall be for no more than 3 consecutive days. Should the CO grant the variance, the employer must supply a sleeping bag or bed roll for the second occupant free of charge or deposit charge.

(m) Fire, safety, and first aid. (1) All units in which people sleep or eat must be constructed and maintained according to applicable state or local fire and safety law.

(2) No flammable or volatile liquid or materials may be stored in or next to rooms used for living purposes, except for those needed for current household use.

(3) Housing units for range use must have a second means of escape through which the worker can exit the unit without difficulty.

(4) Tents are not required to have a second means of escape, except when large tents with walls of rigid material are used.

(5) Adequate, accessible fire extinguishers in good working condition and first aid kits must be provided in the range housing.

Subparts C-D [Reserved]

Subpart E—Labor Certification Process for Temporary Employment in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CW-1 Workers)

Source: 84 FR 12431, Apr. 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

§655.400   Scope and purpose of this subpart.

(a) Purpose. (1) A temporary labor certification (TLC) issued under this subpart reflects a determination by the Secretary of Labor (Secretary), pursuant to 48 U.S.C. 1806(d)(2)(A), that:

(i) There are not sufficient U.S. workers in the Commonwealth who are able, willing, and qualified and who will be available at the time and place needed to perform the services or labor for which an employer desires to hire foreign workers; and

(ii) The employment of the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker visa program (CW-1) nonimmigrant worker(s) will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.

(2) This subpart describes the process by which the Department of Labor (Department or DOL) makes such a determination and certifies its determination to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

(b) Scope. This subpart sets forth the procedures governing the labor certification process for the employment of foreign workers in the CW-1 nonimmigrant classification, as defined in 48 U.S.C. 1806(d). It also establishes standards and obligations with respect to the terms and conditions of the temporary labor certification (TLC) with which CW-1 employers must comply, as well as the rights and obligations of CW-1 workers and workers in corresponding employment. Additionally, this subpart sets forth integrity measures for ensuring employers' continued compliance with the terms and conditions of the TLC.

§655.401   Authority of the agencies, offices, and divisions in the Department of Labor.

The Secretary has delegated authority to the Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), who in turn has delegated that authority to the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC), to issue certifications and carry out other statutory responsibilities as required by 48 U.S.C. 1806. Determinations on a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification are made by the OFLC Administrator who, in turn, may delegate this responsibility to designated staff members, e.g., a Certifying Officer (CO).

§655.402   Definition of terms.

For purposes of this subpart:

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) means a person within the Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3105.

Agent means a person or a legal entity, such as an association or other organization of employers, or an attorney for an association or other organization of employers, that:

(1) Is authorized to act on behalf of the employer for Temporary Labor Certification (TLC) purposes;

(2) Is not itself an employer, or a joint employer, as defined in this subpart with respect to the specific application; and

(3) Is not under suspension, debarment, expulsion, disbarment, or otherwise restricted from practice before any court, the Department, the Executive Office for Immigration Review or DHS under 8 CFR 292.3 or 1003.101.

Applicant (or U.S. applicant) means a U.S. worker who is applying for a job opportunity for which an employer has filed a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

Application for Prevailing Wage Determination means the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-approved Form ETA-9141C (or successor form) and the appropriate appendices, submitted by an employer to secure a prevailing wage determination (PWD) from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC).

CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification means the OMB-approved Form ETA-9142C (or successor form) and the appropriate appendices, a valid wage determination, as required by §655.410, and all supporting documentation submitted by an employer to secure a TLC determination from the OFLC Administrator.

Attorney means any person who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any State, possession, territory, or commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia. Such a person is also permitted to act as an agent under this subpart. No attorney who is under suspension, debarment, expulsion, or disbarment from practice before any court, the Department, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, or DHS under 8 CFR 1003.101 or 292.3, may represent an employer under this subpart.

Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA or Board) means the permanent Board established by part 656 of this chapter, chaired by the Chief Administrative Law Judge (Chief ALJ), and consisting of ALJs appointed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3105 and designated by the Chief ALJ to be members of BALCA.

Certifying Officer or CO means the person who makes determination on a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification filed under the CW-1 program. The OFLC Administrator is the national CO. Other COs may also be designated by the OFLC Administrator to make the determinations required under this subpart, including making PWDs.

Chief Administrative Law Judge or Chief ALJ means the chief official of the Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges or the Chief ALJ's designee.

CNMI Department of Labor means the executive Department of the Commonwealth Government that administers employment and job training activities for employers and U.S. workers in the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth or CNMI means the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Corresponding employment means the employment of U.S. workers who are not CW-1 workers by an employer who has an approved CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification in any work included in the approved job offer, or in any work performed by the CW-1 workers. To qualify as corresponding employment the work must be performed during the validity period of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and approved job offer, including any approved extension thereof.

CW-1 Petition means the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker, a successor form, other form, or electronic equivalent, any supplemental information requested by USCIS, and additional evidence as may be prescribed or requested by USCIS.

CW-1 worker means any foreign worker who is lawfully present in the Commonwealth and authorized by DHS to perform temporary labor or services under 48 U.S.C. 1806(d).

Date of need means the first date the employer requires services of the CW-1 workers as indicated on the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

Department of Homeland Security or DHS means the Federal Department having jurisdiction over certain immigration-related functions, acting through its component agencies, including USCIS.

Employee means a person who is engaged to perform work for an employer, as defined under the general common law of agency. Some of the factors relevant to the determination of employee status include: The hiring party's right to control the manner and means by which the work is accomplished; the skill required to perform the work; the source of the instrumentalities and tools for accomplishing the work; the location of the work; the hiring party's discretion over when and how long to work; and whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party. Other applicable factors may be considered and no one factor is dispositive. The terms employee and worker are used interchangeably in this subpart.

Employer means a person (including any individual, partnership, association, corporation, cooperative, firm, joint stock company, trust, or other organization with legal rights and duties) that:

(1) Has a place of business (physical location) in the Commonwealth and a means by which it may be contacted for employment;

(2) Has an employer relationship (such as the ability to hire, pay, fire, supervise or otherwise control the work of employees) with respect to a CW-1 worker or a worker in corresponding employment, as defined under the common law of agency; and

(3) Possesses, for purposes of filing a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).

Employer-client means an employer that has entered into an agreement with a job contractor and that is not an affiliate, branch, or subsidiary of the job contractor, under which the job contractor provides services or labor to the employer-client on a temporary basis and will not exercise substantial, direct day-to-day supervision and control in the performance of the services or labor to be performed other than hiring, paying, and firing the workers.

Employment and Training Administration or ETA means the agency within the Department that includes OFLC and has been delegated authority by the Secretary to fulfill the Secretary's mandate under for the administration and adjudication of a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and related functions.

Federal holiday means a legal public holiday as defined at 5 U.S.C. 6103.

Full-time means 35 or more hours of work per week.

Governor means the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Job contractor means a person, association, firm, or a corporation that meets the definition of an employer and that contracts services or labor on a temporary basis to one or more employers that are not an affiliate, branch, or subsidiary of the job contractor and where the job contractor will not exercise substantial, direct day-to-day supervision and control in the performance of the services or labor to be performed other than hiring, paying, and releasing the workers.

Job offer means the offer made by an employer or potential employer of CW-1 workers to both U.S. and CW-1 workers describing all the material terms and conditions of employment, including those relating to wages, working conditions, and other benefits.

Job opportunity means full-time employment at a place in the Commonwealth to which U.S. workers can be referred.

Joint employment means that where two or more employers each have sufficient definitional indicia of being a joint employer of a worker under the common law of agency, they are, at all times, joint employers of that worker.

Layoff means any involuntary separation of one or more U.S. employees other than for cause.

Long-term worker means an alien who was admitted to the CNMI as a CW-1 nonimmigrant during fiscal year (FY) 2015, and who was granted CW-1 nonimmigrant status during each of FYs 2016 through 2018, as defined by DHS.

National Prevailing Wage Center or NPWC means that office within OFLC from which employers, agents, or attorneys who wish to file a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification receive a PWD.

NPWC Director means the OFLC official to whom the OFLC Administrator has delegated authority to carry out certain NPWC operations and functions.

National Processing Center (NPC) means the office within OFLC in which the COs operate, and which are charged with the adjudication of CW-1 Applications for Temporary Employment Certification.

NPC Director means the OFLC official to whom the OFLC Administrator has delegated authority for purposes of certain NPC operations and functions.

Occupational employment statistics (OES) survey means the program under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that reports annual wage estimates, including those for Guam, based on standard occupational classifications (SOCs).

Offered wage means the wage offered by an employer in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job offer. The offered wage must equal or exceed the highest of the prevailing wage, or the Federal minimum wage, or the Commonwealth minimum wage.

Office of Foreign Labor Certification or OFLC means the organizational component of the ETA that provides national leadership and policy guidance and develops regulations to carry out the Secretary's responsibilities, including determinations related to an employer's request for an Application for Prevailing Wage Determination or CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

Place of employment means the worksite (or physical location) where work under the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and job offer actually is performed by the CW-1 workers and workers in corresponding employment.

Prevailing wage (PW) means the official wage issued by the NPWC on the Form ETA 9141C, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination for the CW-1 Program, or successor form. At least that amount must be paid to all CW-1 workers and U.S. workers in corresponding employment.

Prevailing wage determination (PWD) means the prevailing wage issued by the OFLC NPWC on the Form ETA-9141C, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination for the CW-1 Program, or successor form. The PWD is used in support of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

Secretary of Labor or Secretary means the chief official of the U.S. DOL, or the Secretary's designee.

Secretary of Homeland Security means the chief official of DHS or the Secretary of Homeland Security's designee.

Secretary of State means the chief official of the U.S. Department of State or the Secretary of State's designee.

Strike means a concerted stoppage of work by employees as a result of a labor dispute, or any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operation (including stoppage by reason of the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement).

Successor in interest means an employer, agent, or attorney that is controlling and carrying on the business of a previous employer.

(1) Where an employer, agent, or attorney has violated 48 U.S.C. 1806 or the regulations in this subpart and has ceased doing business or cannot be located for purposes of enforcement, a successor in interest to that employer, agent, or attorney may be held liable for the duties and obligations of the violating employer in certain circumstances. The following factors, as used under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, may be considered in determining whether an employer, agent, or attorney is a successor in interest; no one factor is dispositive, and all the circumstances will be considered as a whole:

(i) Substantial continuity of the same business operations;

(ii) Use of the same facilities;

(iii) Continuity of the work force;

(iv) Similarity of jobs and working conditions;

(v) Similarity of supervisory personnel;

(vi) Whether the former management or owner retains a direct or indirect interest in the new enterprise;

(vii) Similarity in machinery, equipment, and production methods;

(viii) Similarity of products and services; and

(ix) The ability of the predecessor to provide relief.

(2) For purposes of debarment only, the primary consideration will be the personal involvement of the firm's ownership, management, supervisors, and others associated with the firm in the violation(s) at issue.

Temporary labor certification or TLC means the certification made by the OFLC Administrator, based on the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, job offer, and all supporting documentation, with respect to an employer seeking to file with DHS a visa petition to employ one or more foreign nationals as a CW-1 worker.

United States means the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth.

United States worker (U.S. worker) means a worker who is:

(1) A citizen or national of the United States;

(2) An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence; or

(3) A citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau, who is eligible for nonimmigrant admission and is employment-authorized under the Compacts of Free Association between the United States and those nations.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS means the Federal agency within DHS that makes the determination whether to grant petitions filed by employers seeking CW-1 workers to perform temporary work in the Commonwealth.

Wages mean all forms of cash remuneration to a worker by an employer in payment for labor or services.

Work contract means the document containing all the material terms and conditions of employment relating to wages, hours, working conditions, places of employment, and other benefits, including all assurances and obligations required to be included under this subpart. The contract between the employer and the worker may be in the form of a separate written document containing the advertised terms and conditions of the job offer. In the absence of a separate, written work contract incorporating the required terms and conditions of employment, agreed to by both the employer and the worker, the required terms of the certified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification will be the work contract.

§655.403   Persons and entities authorized to file.

(a) Persons authorized to file. In addition to the employer, a request for a PWD or TLC under this subpart may be filed by an attorney or agent, as defined in §655.402.

(b) Employer's signature required. Regardless of whether the employer is represented by an attorney or agent, the employer is required to sign the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and all documentation submitted to the Department.

§655.404   Requirements for agents.

An agent filing a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification on behalf of an employer must provide a copy of the agent agreement or other document demonstrating the agent's authority to represent the employer to the NPC at the time of filing the application.

§§655.405-655.409   [Reserved]

Prefiling Procedures

§655.410   Offered wage rate and determination of prevailing wage.

(a) Offered wage. (1) The employer must advertise the position to all potential workers at a wage that is at least the highest of the following:

(i) The prevailing wage for the job opportunity obtained from the NPWC;

(ii) The Federal minimum wage; or

(iii) The Commonwealth minimum wage.

(2) The employer must offer and pay at least the wage provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section to both its CW-1 workers and its workers in corresponding employment. The issuance of a PWD under this section does not permit an employer to pay a wage lower than the highest wage required by any applicable Federal or Commonwealth law.

(b) Determinations—(1) Methods. The OFLC Administrator will determine prevailing wages in the Commonwealth and occupational classification as follows:

(i) If the mean hourly wage for the occupational classification in the Commonwealth is reported by the Governor, annually, and meets the requirements set forth in paragraph (e) of this section, as determined by the OFLC Administrator, that wage must be the prevailing wage for the occupational classification;

(ii) If the OFLC Administrator has not approved a survey, as reported by the Governor, for the occupational classification under paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, and the BLS OES survey reports a mean wage paid to workers in the SOC in Guam, the prevailing wage must be the mean wage paid to workers in the SOC in Guam from the BLS OES survey; and

(iii) If the OFLC Administrator has not approved a survey, as reported by the Governor, for the occupational classification under paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section and the BLS OES survey does not report the mean wage paid to workers in the SOC in Guam under paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, the prevailing wage must be the mean wage paid to workers in the SOC in the United States from the BLS OES Survey, adjusted based on the ratio of the mean wage paid to workers in all SOCs in Guam compared to the mean wage paid to workers in all SOCs in the United States from the BLS OES survey.

(2) Multiple occupations. If the job duties on the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination do not fall within a single occupational classification, the NPC will determine the applicable prevailing wage based on the highest prevailing wage for all applicable occupational classifications.

(c) Request for PWD—(1) Filing requirement. An employer must electronically request and receive a PWD from the NPWC then electronically file the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification with the NPC.

(2) Location and methods of filing—(i) Electronic filing. The employer must file the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination and all required supporting documentation with the NPWC using the electronic method(s) designated by the OFLC Administrator. The NPWC will return without review any application submitted using a method other than the designated electronic method(s), unless the employer submits with the application a statement of the need to file by mail.

(ii) Filing by mail. Employers that are unable to file electronically, either due to lack of internet access or physical disability precluding electronic filing, may file the application by mail. The mailed application must include a statement indicating the need to file by mail. The NPWC will return, without review, mailed applications that do not contain such a statement. OFLC will publish the address for mailed applications in the instructions to Form ETA-9141C.

(d) NPWC action. The NPWC will provide the PWD, indicate the source of the PWD, and return the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination with its endorsement to the employer.

(e) Wage survey reported by the Governor. The OFLC Administrator will issue a prevailing wage for the occupational classification in the Commonwealth based on a wage survey reported by the Governor if all of the following requirements are met:

(1) The survey was independently conducted and issued by the Governor of the Commonwealth, including through any Commonwealth agency, Commonwealth college, or Commonwealth university;

(2) The survey provides the arithmetic mean of the wages of workers in the occupational classification in the Commonwealth;

(3) The surveyor either made a reasonable, good faith attempt to contact all employers in the Commonwealth employing workers in the occupation or conducted a randomized sampling of such employers;

(4) The survey includes the wages of at least 30 workers in the Commonwealth;

(5) The survey includes the wages of workers in the Commonwealth employed by at least three employers;

(6) The survey was conducted across industries that employ workers in the occupational classification;

(7) The wage reported in the survey includes all types of pay;

(8) The survey is based on wages paid to workers in the occupational classification not more than 12 months before the date the survey is submitted to the OFLC Administrator for consideration; and

(9) The Governor submits the survey to the OFLC Administrator, with specific information about the survey methodology, including such items as sample size and source, sample selection procedures, and survey job descriptions, to allow a determination of the adequacy of the data provided and validity of the statistical methodology used in conducting the survey.

(f) Review of wage survey reported by the Governor. (1) If the OFLC Administrator finds the wage reported for any occupational classification not to be acceptable, the OFLC Administrator must inform the Governor in writing of the reasons the wage reported in the survey was not accepted.

(2) The Governor, after receiving notification from the OFLC Administrator that the wage reported in the survey it provided for consideration is not acceptable, may submit corrected wage data or conduct a new wage survey and submit revised wage data to the OFLC Administrator for consideration under this section.

(g) Validity period. The NPWC will specify the validity period of the prevailing wage, which in no event may be more than 365 days or fewer than 90 days from the date that the determination is issued.

(h) Retention of documentation. The employer must retain the PWD for 3 years from the date of issuance if not used in support of a TLC application or if it is used in support of a TLC application that is denied, and 3 years from the date on which the certification of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification expires, whichever is later. The employer must submit the PWD to a CO if requested by a Notice of Deficiency (NOD), described in §655.431, or audit, as described in §655.470, or to any Federal Government Official performing an investigation, inspection, audit, or law enforcement function.

§655.411   Review of prevailing wage determinations.

(a) Request for review of PWDs. Any employer desiring review of a PWD must make a written request for such review to the NPWC Director. The written request must be received by the NPWC Director within 7 business days from the date the PWD was issued. The request for review must clearly identify the PWD for which review is sought; set forth the particular grounds for the request; and include any materials submitted to the NPWC for purposes of securing the PWD.

(b) NPWC review. Upon the receipt of the written request for review, the NPWC Director will review the employer's request and accompanying documentation, including any supplementary material submitted by the employer, and after review must issue a Final Determination letter; that letter may:

(1) Affirm the PWD issued by the NPWC; or

(2) Modify the PWD.

(c) Request for review by BALCA. Any employer desiring review of the NPWC Director's decision on a PWD must make a written request to BALCA for review of the determination, with a copy simultaneously sent to the NPWC Director who issued the final determination. The written request must be received by BALCA within 10 business days from the date the Final Determination letter was issued.

(1) Upon receipt of a request for BALCA review, the NPWC will prepare an Appeal File and submit it to BALCA.

(2) The request for review, statements, briefs, and other submissions of the parties must contain only legal arguments and may refer to only the evidence that was within the record upon which the decision on the PWD by the NPWC Director was based.

(3) BALCA will handle appeals in accordance with §655.461.

§§655.412-655.419   [Reserved]

CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification Filing Procedures

§655.420   Application filing requirements.

An employer seeking to hire CW-1 workers must electronically file a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification with the NPC designated by the OFLC Administrator. This section provides the procedures an employer must follow when filing.

(a) What to file. An employer seeking a TLC must file a completed CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification (Form ETA-9142C and the appropriate appendices and valid PWD), and all supporting documentation and information required at the time of filing under this subpart. Applications that are incomplete at the time of submission will be returned to the employer without review.

(b) Timeliness. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, a completed CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must be filed no more than 120 calendar days before the employer's date of need.

(2) If the employer is seeking a TLC to extend the employment of a CW-1 worker, a completed CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must be filed no more than 180 calendar days before the date on which the CW-1 status expires.

(c) Location and methods of filing—(1) Electronic filing. The employer must file the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and all required supporting documentation with the NPC using the electronic method(s) designated by the OFLC Administrator. The NPC will return, without review, any application submitted using a method other than the designated electronic method(s), unless the employer submits with the application a statement of the need to file by mail or indicates that it already submitted such a statement to NPWC during the same fiscal year.

(2) Filing by mail. Employers that are unable to file electronically, either due to lack of internet access or physical disability precluding electronic filing, may file the application by mail. The mailed application must include a statement indicating the need to file by mail as indicated above. The NPC will return, without review, mailed applications that do not contain such a statement. OFLC will publish the address for mailed applications in the instructions to Form ETA-9142C.

(d) Original signature and acceptance of electronic signatures. An electronically filed CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must contain an electronic (scanned) copy of the original signature of the employer (and that of the employer's authorized attorney or agent, if the employer is represented by an attorney or agent) or, in the alternative, use a verifiable electronic signature method, as directed by the OFLC Administrator. If submitted by mail, the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must bear the original signature of the employer and, if applicable, the employer's authorized attorney or agent.

(e) Requests for multiple positions. An employer may request certification of more than one position on its CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification as long as all CW-1 workers will perform the same services or labor under the same terms and conditions, in the same occupation, during the same period of employment, and at a location (or locations) covered by the application.

(f) Scope of application. (1) A CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must be limited to places of employment within the Commonwealth.

(2) In a single application filing, an association or other organization of employers is not permitted to file a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification on behalf of more than one employer-member under the CW-1 program.

(g) Period of employment. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (g)(2) of this section, the period of need identified in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must not exceed 1 year.

(2) If the employer is seeking TLC to employ a long-term CW-1 worker, the period of need identified in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must not exceed 3 years.

(h) Return of applications based on USCIS CW-1 cap notice. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (h)(3) of this section, if USCIS issues a public notice stating that it has received a sufficient number of CW-1 petitions to meet the statutory numerical limit on the total number of foreign nationals who may be issued a CW-1 permit or otherwise granted CW-1 status for the fiscal year, the OFLC Administrator must return without review any CW-1 Applications for Temporary Employment Certification with dates of need in that fiscal year received on or after the date that the OFLC Administrator provides the notice in paragraph (h)(2) of this section.

(2) The OFLC Administrator will announce the return of future CW-1 Applications for Temporary Employment Certification with dates of need in the fiscal year for which the cap is met with a notice on the OFLC's website. This notice will be effective on the date of its publication on the OFLC's website and will remain valid for the fiscal year unless:

(i) USCIS issues a public notice stating additional CW-1 permits are available for the fiscal year; and

(ii) The OFLC Administrator publishes a new notice announcing that additional TLCs may be granted in the fiscal year.

(3) After the notice that OFLC will return future CW-1 Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, the OFLC Administrator will continue to process CW-1 Applications for Temporary Employment Certification filed before the effective date of the suspension notice and will continue to permit the filing of CW-1 Applications for Temporary Employment Certification by employers who identify in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification that the employment of all CW-1 workers employed under the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification will be exempt from the statutory numerical limit on the total number of foreign nationals who may be issued a CW-1 permit or otherwise granted CW-1 status.

§655.421   Job contractor filing requirements.

(a) A job contractor may submit a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification on behalf of itself and that employer-client. By doing so, the Department deems the job contractor a joint employer.

(b) A job contractor must have separate contracts with each different employer-client. A single contract or agreement may support only one CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification for each employer-client job opportunity in the Commonwealth.

(c) Either the job contractor or its employer-client may submit an Application for Prevailing Wage Determination describing the job opportunity to the NPWC. However, each of the joint employers is separately responsible for ensuring that the wage offer(s) listed in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and related recruitment at least equals the prevailing wage obtained from the NPWC, or the Federal or Commonwealth minimum wage, whichever is highest, and that all other wage obligations are met.

(d)(1) A job contractor that is filing as a joint employer with its employer-client must submit to the NPC a completed CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification that clearly identifies the joint employers (the job contractor and its employer-client) and the employment relationship (including the places of employment), in accordance with instructions provided by the OFLC Administrator. The CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must bear the original signature of the job contractor and the employer-client or use a verifiable electronic signature method, consistent with the requirements set forth at §655.420(d), and be accompanied by the contract or agreement establishing the employers' relationships related to the workers sought.

(2) By signing the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, each employer independently attests to the conditions of employment required of an employer participating in the CW-1 program and assumes full responsibility for the accuracy of the representations made in the application and for all of the responsibilities of an employer in the CW-1 program.

(e)(1) Either the job contractor or its employer-client may place the required advertisements and conduct recruitment as described in §§655.442 through 655.445. Also, either one of the joint employers may assume responsibility for interviewing applicants. However, both of the joint employers must sign the recruitment report that is submitted to the NPC meeting the requirement set forth in §655.446.

(2) All recruitment conducted by the joint employers must satisfy the job offer assurance and advertising content requirements identified in §655.441. Additionally, in order to fully inform applicants of the job opportunity and avoid potential confusion inherent in a job opportunity involving two employers, joint employer recruitment must clearly identify both employers (the job contractor and its employer-client) by name and must clearly identify the place(s) of employment where workers will perform labor or services.

(3)(i) Provided that all of the employer-clients' job opportunities are in the same occupation located in the Commonwealth and have the same requirements and terms and conditions of employment, including dates of employment, a job contractor may combine more than one of its joint employer employer-clients' job opportunities in a single advertisement. Each advertisement must fully inform potential workers of the job opportunity available with each employer-client and otherwise satisfy the job offer assurances and advertising content requirements identified in §655.441. Such a shared advertisement must clearly identify the job contractor by name, the joint employment relationship, and the number of workers sought for each job opportunity, identified by employer-client names and locations (e.g., five openings with Employer-Client A (place of employment location), three openings with Employer-Client B (place of employment location)).

(ii) In addition, the advertisement must contain the following statement: “Applicants may apply for any or all of the jobs listed. When applying, please identify the job(s) (by company and work location) you are applying to for the entire period of employment specified.” If an applicant fails to identify one or more specific work location(s), that applicant is presumed to have applied to all work locations listed in the advertisement.

(f) If a TLC for the joint employers is granted, the Final Determination certifying the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification will be sent to both the job contractor and employer-client.

§655.422   Emergency situations.

(a) Waiver of PWD requirement prior to application filing. The CO may waive the requirement to obtain a PWD, as required under §655.410(c), prior to filing a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification for employers that have good and substantial cause, provided that the CO has sufficient time to thoroughly test the labor market and to make a final determination as required by §655.450. The requirement to obtain a PWD prior to filing the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, under §655.410(c), is the only provision of this subpart which will be waived under these emergency situation procedures.

(b) Employer requirements. The employer requesting a waiver of the requirement to obtain a PWD must submit to the NPC a completed Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, a completed CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, and a statement justifying the waiver request. The employer's waiver request must include detailed information describing the good and substantial cause that has necessitated the waiver request. Good and substantial cause may include, but is not limited to, the substantial loss of U.S. workers due to an Act of God, or similar unforeseeable man-made catastrophic events (such as a hazardous materials emergency or government-controlled flooding), unforeseeable changes in market conditions, pandemic health issues, or similar conditions that are wholly outside of the employer's control. Issues related to the CW-1 visa cap are not good and substantial cause for a waiver of the filing requirements. Further, a denial of a previously submitted CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification or CW-1 petition with USCIS does not constitute good and substantial cause necessitating a waiver under this section.

(c) Processing of emergency applications. The CO will process the emergency CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, including the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination for the CW-1 Program, in a manner consistent with the provisions of this subpart and make a determination in accordance with §655.450. The CO will notify the employer, if the application cannot be processed because, pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, the request for emergency filing was not justified and/or the filing does not meet the requirements set forth in this subpart.

§655.423   Assurances and obligations of CW-1 employers.

An employer employing CW-1 workers and/or workers in corresponding employment under a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification has agreed as part of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification that it will abide by the following conditions with respect to its CW-1 workers and any workers in corresponding employment:

(a) Rate of pay. (1) The offered wage in the work contract equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, Federal minimum wage, or Commonwealth minimum wage. The employer must pay at least the offered wage, free and clear, during the entire period of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification granted by OFLC.

(2) The offered wage is not based on commissions, bonuses, or other incentives, including paying on a piece-rate basis, unless the employer guarantees a wage earned every workweek that equals or exceeds the offered wage.

(3) If the employer requires one or more minimum productivity standards of workers as a condition of job retention, the standards must be specified in the work contract and the employer must demonstrate that they are normal and usual for non-CW-1 employers for the same occupation in the Commonwealth.

(4) An employer that pays on a piece-rate basis must demonstrate that the piece-rate is no less than the normal rate paid by non-CW-1 employers to workers performing the same activity in the Commonwealth. The average hourly piece-rate earnings must result in an amount at least equal to the offered wage. If the worker is paid on a piece-rate basis and at the end of the workweek the piece-rate does not result in average hourly piece-rate earnings during the workweek at least equal to the amount the worker would have earned had the worker been paid at the offered hourly wage, then the employer must supplement the worker's pay at that time so that the worker's earnings are at least as much as the worker would have earned during the workweek if the worker had instead been paid at the offered hourly wage for each hour worked.

(b) Wages free and clear. The payment requirements for wages in this section will be satisfied by the timely payment of such wages to the worker either in cash or in negotiable instrument payable at par. The payment must be made finally and unconditionally and “free and clear.” The principles applied in determining whether deductions are reasonable and payments are received free and clear, and the permissibility of deductions for payments to third persons are explained in more detail in 29 CFR part 531.

(c) Deductions. The employer must make all deductions from the worker's paycheck required by law. The work contract must specify all deductions not required by law that the employer will make from the worker's pay; any such deductions not disclosed in the work contract are prohibited. The wage payment requirements of paragraph (b) of this section are not met where unauthorized deductions, rebates, or refunds reduce the wage payment made to the worker below the minimum amounts required by the offered wage or where the worker fails to receive such amounts free and clear because the worker “kick backs” directly or indirectly to the employer or to another person for the employer's benefit the whole or part of the wages delivered to the worker. Authorized deductions are limited to: Those required by law, such as taxes payable by workers that are required to be withheld by the employer and amounts due workers which the employer is required by court order to pay to another; deductions for the reasonable cost or fair value of board, lodging, and facilities furnished; and deductions of amounts which are authorized to be paid to third persons for the worker's account and benefit through his or her voluntary assignment or order or which are authorized by a collective bargaining agreement with bona fide representatives of workers which covers the employer. Deductions for amounts paid to third persons for the worker's account and benefit which are not so authorized or are contrary to law or from which the employer, agent, or recruiter, including any agents or employees of these entities or any affiliated person, derives any payment, rebate, commission, profit, or benefit directly or indirectly, may not be made if they reduce the actual wage paid to the worker below the offered wage indicated on the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(d) Job opportunity is full time. The job opportunity is a full-time position, consistent with §655.402, and the employer must use a single workweek as its standard for computing wages due. An employee's workweek must be a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours—7 consecutive 24-hour periods. It need not coincide with the calendar week but may begin on any day and at any hour of the day.

(e) Job qualifications and requirements. Each job qualification and requirement must be listed in the work contract and must be bona fide and consistent with the normal and accepted qualifications and requirements imposed by non-CW-1 employers in the same occupation and in the Commonwealth. The employer's job qualifications and requirements imposed on U.S. workers must not be less favorable than the qualifications and requirements that the employer is imposing or will impose on CW-1 workers. A qualification means a characteristic that is necessary to the individual's ability to perform the job in question. A requirement means a term or condition of employment that a worker is required to accept in order to obtain the job opportunity. The CO may require the employer to submit documentation to substantiate the appropriateness of any job qualification and/or requirement.

(f) Three-fourths guarantee—(1) Offer to worker. The employer must guarantee to offer the worker employment for a total number of work hours equal to at least three-fourths of the workdays of the total period of employment specified in the work contract, beginning with the first workday after the arrival of the worker at the place of employment or the advertised contractual first date of need, whichever is later, and ending on the expiration date specified in the work contract or in its extensions, if any. See the exception in paragraph (f)(1)(iv) of this section.

(i) For purposes of this paragraph (f), a workday means the number of hours in a workday as stated in the work contract. The employer must offer a total number of hours to ensure the provision of sufficient work to reach the three-fourths guarantee. The work hours must be offered during the work period specified in the work contract, or during any modified work contract period to which the worker and employer have mutually agreed and that has been approved by the CO.

(ii) In the event the worker begins working later than the start date of need specified in the application, the guarantee period begins with the first workday after the arrival of the worker at the place of employment and continues until the last day during which the work contract and all extensions thereof are in effect.

(iii) Therefore, if, for example, a work contract is for a 10-week period, during which a normal workweek is specified as 6 days a week, 8 hours per day, the worker would have to be guaranteed employment for at least 360 hours (10 weeks × 48 hours/week = 480 hours × 75 percent = 360). If a Federal holiday occurred during the 10-week period, the 8 hours would be deducted from the total hours for the work contract, before the guarantee is calculated. Continuing with the above example, the worker would have to be guaranteed employment for 354 hours (10 weeks × 48 hours/week = 480 hours−8 hours (Federal holiday) = 472 hours × 75 percent = 354 hours).

(iv) A worker may be offered more than the specified hours of work on a single workday. For purposes of meeting the guarantee, the worker will not be required to work more than the number of hours specified in the work contract for a workday but all hours of work actually performed may be counted by the employer in calculating whether the period of guaranteed employment has been met. If during the total work contract period the employer affords the U.S. or CW-1 worker less employment than that required under this paragraph (f)(1)(iv), the employer must pay such worker the amount the worker would have earned had the worker, in fact, worked for the guaranteed number of days. An employer will not be considered to have met the work guarantee if the employer has merely offered work on three-fourths of the workdays of the work contract period if each workday did not consist of a full number of hours of work time as specified in the work contract.

(2) Guarantee for piece-rate paid worker. If the worker is paid on a piece-rate basis, the employer must use the worker's average hourly piece-rate earnings or the offered wage, whichever is higher, to calculate the amount due under the guarantee in accordance with paragraph (f)(1) of this section.

(3) Failure to work. Any hours the worker fails to work, up to a maximum of the number of hours specified in the work contract for a workday, when the worker has been offered an opportunity to work in accordance with paragraph (f)(1) of this section, and all hours of work actually performed (including voluntary work over 8 hours in a workday), may be counted by the employer in calculating whether the period of guaranteed employment has been met. An employer seeking to calculate whether the guaranteed number of hours has been met must maintain the payroll records in accordance with this subpart.

(g) Impossibility of fulfillment. If before the expiration date specified in the work contract, the services of the worker are no longer required for reasons beyond the control of the employer due to fire, weather, or other Act of God, or similar unforeseeable man-made catastrophic event (such as an oil spill or controlled flooding) that is wholly outside the employer's control that makes the fulfillment of the work contract impossible, the employer may terminate the work contract with the approval of the CO. In the event of such termination, the employer must fulfill a three-fourths guarantee, as described in paragraph (f) of this section, for the time that has elapsed from the start date listed in the work contract or the first workday after the arrival of the worker at the place of employment, whichever is later, to the time of its termination. The employer must make efforts to transfer the CW-1 worker or worker in corresponding employment to other comparable employment acceptable to the worker and consistent with immigration laws, as applicable. If a transfer is not affected, the employer must return the worker, at the employer's expense, to the place from which the worker (disregarding intervening employment) came to work for the employer, or transport the worker to the worker's next certified CW-1 employer, whichever the worker prefers.

(h) Frequency of pay. The employer must state in the work contract the frequency with which the worker will be paid, which must be at least every 2 weeks. Employers must pay wages when due.

(i) Earnings statements. (1) The employer must keep accurate and adequate records with respect to the workers' earnings, including but not limited to: Records showing the nature, amount, and location(s) of the work performed; the number of hours of work offered each day by the employer (broken out by hours offered both in accordance with and over and above the three-fourths guarantee in paragraph (f) of this section); the hours actually worked each day by the worker; if the number of hours worked by the worker is less than the number of hours offered, the reason(s) the worker did not work; the time the worker began and ended each workday; the rate of pay (both piece-rate and hourly, if applicable); the worker's earnings per pay period; the worker's home address; and the amount of and reasons for any and all deductions taken from or additions made to the worker's wages.

(2) The employer must furnish to the worker on or before each payday in one or more written statements the following information:

(i) The worker's total earnings for each workweek in the pay period;

(ii) The worker's hourly rate or piece-rate of pay;

(iii) For each workweek in the pay period the hours of employment offered to the worker (showing offers in accordance with the three-fourths guarantee as determined in paragraph (f) of this section, separate from any hours offered over and above the guarantee);

(iv) For each workweek in the pay period the hours actually worked by the worker;

(v) An itemization of all deductions made from or additions made to the worker's wages;

(vi) If piece-rates are used, the units produced daily;

(vii) The beginning and ending dates of the pay period; and

(viii) The employer's name, address, and FEIN.

(j) Transportation and visa fees—(1)(i) Transportation to the place of employment. The employer must provide or reimburse the worker for transportation and subsistence from the place from which the worker has come to work for the employer, whether in the United States, including another part of the Commonwealth, or abroad, to the place of employment if the worker completes 50 percent of the period of employment covered by the work contract (not counting any extensions). The employer may arrange and pay for the transportation and subsistence directly, advance at a minimum the most economical and reasonable common carrier cost of the transportation and subsistence to the worker before the worker's departure, or pay the worker for the reasonable costs incurred by the worker. When it is the prevailing practice of non-CW-1 employers in the occupation and in the Commonwealth to do so or when the employer extends such benefits to similarly situated CW-1 workers, the employer must advance the required transportation and subsistence costs (or otherwise provide them) to workers in corresponding employment who are traveling to the employer's place of employment from such a distance that the worker is not reasonably able to return to their residence each day. The amount of the transportation payment must be no less (and is not required to be more) than the most economical and reasonable common carrier transportation charges for the distances involved. The amount of the daily subsistence must be at least the amount permitted in §655.173. Where the employer will reimburse the reasonable costs incurred by the worker, it must keep accurate and adequate records of: The costs of transportation and subsistence incurred by the worker; the amount reimbursed; and the date(s) of reimbursement. Note that the Fair Labor Standards Act applies independently of the CW-1 requirements and imposes obligations on employers regarding payment of wages.

(ii) Transportation from the place of employment. If the worker completes the period of employment covered by the work contract (not counting any extensions), or if the worker is dismissed from employment for any reason by the employer before the end of the period, and the worker has no immediate subsequent CW-1 employment, the employer must provide or pay at the time of departure for the worker's cost of return transportation and daily subsistence from the place of employment to the place from which the worker, disregarding intervening employment, departed to work for the employer. If the worker has contracted with a subsequent employer that has not agreed in the work contract to provide or pay for the worker's transportation from the former employer's place of employment to such subsequent employer's place of employment, the former employer must provide or pay for that transportation and subsistence. If the worker has contracted with a subsequent employer that has agreed in the work contract to provide or pay for the worker's transportation from the former employer's place of employment to such subsequent employer's place of employment, the subsequent employer must provide or pay for such expenses.

(iii) Employer-provided transportation. All employer-provided transportation must comply with all applicable Federal and Commonwealth laws and regulations including, but not limited to, vehicle safety standards, driver licensure requirements, and vehicle insurance coverage.

(2) The employer must pay or reimburse the worker in the first workweek for all visa, visa processing, border crossing, and other related fees (including those mandated by the government) incurred by the CW-1 worker, but not for passport expenses or other charges primarily for the benefit of the worker.

(k) Employer-provided items. The employer must provide to the worker, without charge or deposit charge, all tools, supplies, and equipment required to perform the duties assigned.

(l) Disclosure of work contract. The employer must provide to a CW-1 worker outside of the United States no later than the time at which the worker applies for the visa, or to a worker in corresponding employment no later than on the day work commences, a copy of the work contract including any subsequent approved modifications. For a CW-1 worker changing employment from a CW-1 employer to a subsequent CW-1 employer, the copy must be provided no later than the time an offer of employment is made by the subsequent CW-1 employer. The disclosure of all documents required by this paragraph (l) must be provided in a language understood by the worker. At a minimum, the work contract must contain all of the provisions required to be included by this section. In the absence of a separate, written work contract entered into between the employer and the worker, the required terms of the certified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification will be the work contract.

(m) No unfair treatment. The employer has not and will not intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, or in any manner discriminate against, and has not and will not cause any person to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, or in any manner discriminate against, any person who has, related to the CW-1 program:

(1) Filed a complaint under or related to any applicable Federal or Commonwealth laws and regulations;

(2) Instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to any applicable Federal or Commonwealth laws and regulations;

(3) Testified or is about to testify in any proceeding under or related to any applicable Federal or Commonwealth laws and regulations;

(4) Consulted with a workers' center, community organization, labor union, legal assistance program, or an attorney on matters related to any applicable Federal or Commonwealth laws and regulations; or

(5) Exercised or asserted on behalf of himself/herself or others any right or protection afforded by any applicable Federal or Commonwealth laws and regulations.

(n) Comply with the prohibitions against employees paying fees. The employer and its attorney, agents, or employees have not sought or received payment of any kind from the worker for any activity related to obtaining CW-1 labor certification or employment, including payment of the employer's attorney or agent fees, application and CW-1 Petition fees, recruitment costs, or any fees attributed to obtaining the approved CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification. For purposes of this paragraph (n), payment includes, but is not limited to, monetary payments, wage concessions (including deductions from wages, salary, or benefits), kickbacks, bribes, tributes, in-kind payments, and free labor. All wages must be paid free and clear. This paragraph (n) does not prohibit employers or their agents from receiving reimbursement for costs that are the responsibility and primarily for the benefit of the worker, such as government-required passport fees.

(o) Contracts with third parties to comply with prohibitions. The employer must contractually prohibit in writing any agent or recruiter (or any agent or employee of such agent or recruiter) whom the employer engages, either directly or indirectly, in recruitment of CW-1 workers to seek or receive payments or other compensation from prospective workers. The contract must include the following statement: “Under this agreement, [name of agent, recruiter] and any agent of or employee of [name of agent or recruiter] are prohibited from seeking or receiving payments from any prospective employee of [employer name] at any time, including before or after the worker obtains employment. Payments include but are not limited to, any direct or indirect fees paid by such employees for recruitment, job placement, processing, maintenance, attorneys' fees, agent fees, application fees, or petition fees.”

(p) Prohibition against preferential treatment of foreign workers. The employer's job offer must offer to U.S. workers no less than the same benefits, wages, and working conditions that the employer is offering, intends to offer, or will provide to CW-1 workers. Job offers may not impose on U.S. workers any restrictions or obligations that will not be imposed on the employer's CW-1 workers. This does not relieve the employer from providing to CW-1 workers at least the minimum benefits, wages, and working conditions which must be offered to U.S. workers consistent with this section.

(q) Nondiscriminatory hiring practices. The job opportunity is open to any qualified U.S. worker as defined in §655.402, regardless of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, or citizenship. Rejections of any U.S. workers who applied or apply for the job must only be for lawful, job-related reasons, and those not rejected on this basis have been or will be hired. In addition, the employer has and will continue to retain records of all hired workers and rejected applicants as required by §655.456.

(r) Recruitment requirements. The employer must conduct all required recruitment activities, including any additional employer-conducted recruitment activities as directed by the CO, and as specified in §§655.442 through 655.445.

(s) No strike or lockout. There is no strike or lockout at any of the employer's place(s) of employment within the Commonwealth for which the employer is requesting CW-1 certification at the time the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification is filed.

(t) No recent or future layoffs. The employer has not laid off and will not lay off any similarly employed U.S. worker in the occupation that is the subject of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification in the Commonwealth within the period beginning 270 calendar days before the date of need and through the end of the TLC's period of certification. A layoff for lawful, job-related reasons such as lack of work or the end of a season is permissible if all CW-1 workers are laid off before any U.S. worker in corresponding employment.

(u) No work performed outside the Commonwealth and job opportunity. The employer must not place any CW-1 workers employed under the approved CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification outside the Commonwealth or in a job opportunity not listed on the approved CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(v) Abandonment/termination of employment. Upon the separation from employment of any worker employed under the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification or workers in corresponding employment, if such separation occurs before the end date of the employment period specified in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the employer must notify OFLC in writing of the separation from employment not later than 2 working days after such separation is discovered by the employer. An abandonment or abscondment is deemed to begin after a worker fails to report for work at the regularly scheduled time for 5 consecutive working days without the consent of the employer. If the separation is due to the voluntary abandonment of employment by the CW-1 worker or worker in corresponding employment or is terminated for cause, and the employer provides appropriate notification specified under this paragraph (v), the employer will not be responsible for providing or paying for the subsequent transportation and subsistence costs of that worker under this section, and that worker is not entitled to the three-fourths guarantee described in paragraph (f) of this section.

(w) Compliance with applicable laws. During the period of employment specified on the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the employer must comply with all applicable Federal and Commonwealth employment-related laws and regulations, including health and safety laws. This includes compliance with 18 U.S.C. 1592(a), with respect to prohibitions against employers, the employer's agents, or their attorneys knowingly holding, destroying or confiscating workers' passports, visas, or other immigration documents.

§§655.424-655.429   [Reserved]

Processing of an CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification

§655.430   Review of applications.

(a) NPC review. The CO will review the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification for compliance with all applicable program requirements, including compliance with the requirements set forth in this subpart, and make a decision as to whether to issue a NOD under §655.431 or a Notice of Acceptance (NOA) under §655.433.

(b) Mailing and postmark requirements. Any notice or request sent by the CO to an employer requiring a response will be sent electronically or via first class mail using the address, including electronic mail address, provided on the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The employer's response to such a notice or request must be filed electronically or via first class mail. The employer's response must be filed electronically or postmarked by the date due or the next business day if the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal Holiday.

(c) Information dissemination. OFLC may forward, to DHS or any other Federal Government Official performing an investigation, inspection, audit, or law enforcement function, information OFLC receives in the course of processing a request for a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification or of administering program integrity measures such as audits.

§655.431   Notice of Deficiency.

(a) Notification. If the CO determines the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification contains errors or inaccuracies, or does not meet the requirements set forth in this subpart, the CO will issue a NOD to the employer and, if applicable, the employer's attorney or agent.

(b) Notice content. The NOD will:

(1) State the reason(s) the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification fails to meet the criteria for acceptance;

(2) Offer the employer an opportunity to submit a modified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification within 10 business days from the date of the NOD, and state the modification that is required for the CO to issue a NOA; and

(3) State that if the employer does not comply with the requirements of §655.432 for submitting a modified application, the CO will deny the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

§655.432   Submission of modified applications.

(a) Review of a modified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification. Upon receipt of a response to a NOD, including any modifications, the CO will review the response. The CO may issue one or more additional NODs before issuing a decision. The employer's failure to comply with a NOD, including not responding in a timely manner or not providing all required documentation, will result in a denial of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(b) Acceptance of a modified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification. If the CO accepts the modification(s) to the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the CO will issue a NOA to the employer and, if applicable, the employer's attorney or agent.

(c) Denial of modified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification. If the modified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification does not cure the deficiencies cited in the NOD(s) or otherwise fails to satisfy the criteria required for certification, the CO will, at its discretion, either send a second NOD or deny the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification in accordance with the labor certification determination provisions in §655.453.

(d) Appeal from denial of modified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The procedures for appealing a denial of a modified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification are the same as for appealing the denial of a nonmodified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, outlined in §655.461.

(e) Post acceptance modifications. Notwithstanding the decision to accept the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the CO may require modifications to the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification at any time before the final determination to grant or deny the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification if the CO determines that the job offer does not contain the minimum benefits, wages, and working conditions set forth in §655.441. The employer must make such modifications, or the application will be denied under §655.453. The employer must provide all workers recruited in connection with the job opportunity in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification with a copy of the modified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, as approved by the CO, no later than the date work commences.

§655.433   Notice of Acceptance.

(a) Notification. When the CO determines the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification contains no errors or inaccuracies, and meets the requirements set forth in this subpart, the CO will issue a NOA to the employer and, if applicable, the employer's attorney or agent.

(b) Notice content. The NOA must:

(1) Direct the employer to engage in recruitment of U.S. workers as provided in §§655.442 through 655.444, including any additional recruitment ordered by the CO under §655.445;

(2) State that such employer-conducted recruitment must begin within 14 calendar days from the date the NOA is issued, consistent with §655.440(b);

(3) Require the employer to submit a report of its recruitment efforts, by the date required by the CO in the NOA, as specified in §655.446; and

(4) Advise the employer that failure to submit a complete recruitment report by the deadline will lead to denial of the application.

§655.434   Amendments to an application.

(a) Increases in number of workers. The CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification may be amended at any time before the CO's certification determination to increase the number of workers requested in the initial CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification by not more than 20 percent (50 percent for employers requesting less than 10 workers) without requiring an additional recruitment period for U.S. workers. Requests for increases above the percent prescribed, without additional recruitment, may be approved by the CO only when the employer demonstrates that the need for additional workers could not have been foreseen and is wholly outside of the employer's control. All requests to increase the number of workers must be made in writing and will not be effective until approved by the CO. Upon acceptance of an amendment, the employer must promptly provide copies of any approved amendments to all U.S. workers recruited and hired under the original job offer.

(b) Minor changes to the period of employment. The CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification may be amended at any time before the CO's certification determination to make minor changes (meaning a change of up to 14 calendar days) in the total period of employment, without requiring an additional recruitment period for U.S. workers. Changes will not be effective until submitted in writing and approved by the CO. In considering whether to approve the request, the CO will review the reason(s) for the request, determine whether the reason(s) are on the whole justified, and take into account the effect any change(s) would have on the adequacy of the underlying test of the domestic labor market for the job opportunity. An employer must demonstrate that the change to the period of employment could not have been foreseen and is wholly outside of the employer's control. The CO will deny any request to change the period of employment where the total amended period of employment will exceed the maximum applicable duration permitted under §655.420(g). Upon acceptance of an amendment, the employer must promptly provide copies of any approved amendments to all U.S. workers recruited and hired under the original job offer.

(c) Other minor amendments to the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The employer may request other minor amendments to the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification at any time before the CO's certification determination is issued. In considering whether to approve the request, the CO will determine whether the proposed amendment(s) are sufficiently justified and must take into account the effect of the changes on the underlying labor market test for the job opportunity. All requests for minor changes must be made in writing and will not be effective until approved by the CO. Upon acceptance of an amendment, the employer must promptly provide copies of any approved amendments to all U.S. workers recruited and hired under the original job offer.

(d) Amendments after certification are not permitted. After the CO has made a determination to certify the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, the employer may no longer request amendments.

§§655.435-655.439   [Reserved]

Post Acceptance Requirements

§655.440   Employer-conducted recruitment.

(a) Employer obligations. Employers must conduct recruitment of U.S. workers to ensure that there are not qualified U.S. workers who will be available for the positions listed in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(b) Period to begin employer-conducted recruitment. Unless otherwise instructed by the CO, the employer must begin the recruitment required in §§655.442 through 655.445 within 14 calendar days from the date the NOA is issued. All employer-conducted recruitment must be completed before the employer submits the recruitment report as required in §655.446.

(c) Interviewing U.S. workers. Employers that wish to require interviews must conduct those interviews by phone or provide a procedure for the interviews to be conducted in the location where the worker is being recruited so that the worker incurs little or no cost. Employers cannot provide potential CW-1 workers with more favorable treatment with respect to the requirement for, and conduct of, interviews.

(d) Qualified and available U.S. workers. The employer must consider all U.S. applicants for the job opportunity and must hire all U.S. applicants who are qualified and who will be available for the job opportunity. U.S. applicants may be rejected only for lawful, job-related reasons, and those not rejected on this basis will be hired.

(e) Recruitment report. The employer must prepare a recruitment report meeting the requirements of §655.446, by the date specified by the CO in the NOA.

§655.441   Job offer assurances and advertising contents.

(a) General. All recruitment conducted under §§655.442 through 655.445 in connection with an CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must contain terms and conditions of employment that are not less favorable than those offered to the CW-1 workers and must comply with the assurances applicable to job offers as set forth in §655.423.

(b) Contents. All advertising must contain the following information:

(1) The employer's name and contact information;

(2) A statement that the job opportunity is a temporary, full-time position and identify the job title and total number of job openings the employer intends to fill;

(3) A description of the job opportunity with sufficient information to apprise applicants of the services or labor to be performed, including the job duties, the minimum education and experience requirements, the work hours and days, and the anticipated start and end dates of the job opportunity;

(4) The place(s) of employment with enough specificity to apprise applicants of any travel requirements and where applicants will likely have to reside to perform the services or labor;

(5) The wage that the employer is offering, intends to offer or will provide to the CW-1 workers or, in the event that there are multiple wage offers, the range of applicable wage offers, each of which must equal or exceed the highest of the prevailing wage or the Federal or Commonwealth minimum wage;

(6) If applicable, a statement that overtime will be available to the worker and specify the wage offer(s) for working any overtime hours;

(7) The frequency with which the worker will be paid as required by §655.423(h);

(8) A statement that the employer will make all deductions from the worker's paycheck required by law, and must specify any deductions the employer intends to make from the worker's paycheck which are not required by law, including, if applicable, any deductions for the reasonable cost of board, lodging, or other facilities;

(9) A statement summarizing the three-fourths guarantee as required by §655.423(f);

(10) A statement that transportation and subsistence will be provided to the worker while traveling from the worker's origin to the place of employment as will the return transportation and subsistence at the conclusion of the job opportunity, as required by §655.423(j)(1);

(11) If applicable, a statement that daily transportation to and from the place(s) of employment will be provided by the employer;

(12) If applicable, a statement that the employer will provide to the worker, without charge or deposit charge, all tools, supplies, and equipment required to perform the duties assigned, in accordance with §655.423(k);

(13) If applicable, any board, lodging, or other facilities the employer will offer to workers or intends to assist workers in securing;

(14) If applicable, a statement indicating that on-the-job training will be provided to the worker; and

(15) A statement that directs applicants to apply for the job opportunity directly with the employer, and that indicates at least two verifiable methods by which applicants may apply for the job opportunity, one of which must be via electronic means, and that provides the days and hours during which applicants may be interviewed for the job opportunity.

§655.442   Place advertisement with CNMI Department of Labor.

(a) The employer must place an advertisement with the CNMI Department of Labor for a period of 21 consecutive calendar days satisfying the requirements set forth in §655.441.

(b) Documentation of this step must include:

(1) Either printouts of web pages in which the advertisement appeared on the CNMI Department of Labor job listing system, or other verifiable evidence from the CNMI Department of Labor containing the text of the advertisement; and

(2) The dates of publication demonstrating compliance with the requirement of this section.

§655.443   Contact with former U.S. workers.

The employer must contact (by mail or other effective means) its former U.S. workers, including those who have been laid off within 270 calendar days before the date of need, employed by the employer in the occupation at the place(s) of employment during the previous year (except those who were dismissed for cause or who abandoned the place(s) of employment), provide a copy of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, and solicit their return to the job. This contact must occur during the period of time that the job offer is being advertised on the CNMI Department of Labor's job listing system under §655.442. The employer must retain documentation sufficient to prove such contact in accordance with §655.456. An employer has no obligation to contact U.S. workers it terminated for cause or who abandoned employment at any time during the previous year, if the employer provided timely notice to the NPC of the termination or abandonment in the manner described in §655.423(v).

§655.444   Notice of posting requirement.

The employer must post a copy of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification in at least two conspicuous locations at the place(s) of employment or in some other manner that provides reasonable notification to all employees in the job classification and area in which the work will be performed by the CW-1 workers. Electronic posting, such as displaying an electronic copy of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification prominently on any internal or external website that is maintained by the employer and customarily used for notices to employees about terms and conditions of employment, is sufficient to meet this posting requirement as long as it otherwise meets the requirements of this section. The notice must be posted for a period of 21 consecutive calendar days. The employer must maintain proof the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification was posted and identify where and during what period of time it was posted in accordance with §655.456.

§655.445   Additional employer-conducted recruitment.

(a) Requirement to conduct additional recruitment. The employer may be instructed by the CO to conduct additional reasonable recruitment. Such recruitment may be required at the discretion of the CO where the CO has determined that there is a likelihood that U.S. workers who are qualified will be available for the work.

(b) Nature of the additional employer-conducted recruitment. The CO will describe the precise number and nature of the additional recruitment efforts. Additional recruitment may include, but is not limited to, advertising the job offer on the employer's website or another electronic job search website; advertising with community-based organizations, local unions, or trade unions; or other advertising using a professional, trade, or other publication where such a publication is appropriate for the workers likely to apply for the job opportunity. When assessing the appropriateness of a particular recruitment method, the CO will consider the cost of the additional recruitment and the likelihood that the additional recruitment method(s) will identify qualified and available U.S. workers.

(c) Proof of the additional employer-conducted recruitment. The CO will specify the documentation or other supporting evidence that must be retained by the employer as proof that the additional recruitment requirements were met. Documentation must be retained as required in §655.456.

§655.446   Recruitment report.

(a) Requirements of the recruitment report. No fewer than 2 calendar days after the last date on which the last advertisement appeared, as required by the NOA issued under §655.433, the employer must prepare, sign, and date a recruitment report. Where recruitment was conducted by a job contractor or its employer-client, both joint employers must sign the recruitment report in accordance with §655.421(e)(1). The recruitment report must be submitted to the NPC, by the date specified in the NOA, and contain the following information:

(1) The name of each recruitment activity or source;

(2) The name and contact information of each U.S. worker who applied or was referred to the job opportunity up to the date of the preparation of the recruitment report, and the disposition of each worker's application. The employer must clearly indicate whether the job opportunity was offered to the U.S. worker and whether the U.S. worker accepted or declined;

(3) Confirmation that the advertisement was posted on the CNMI Department of Labor's job listing system and the dates of advertising;

(4) Confirmation that former U.S. employees were contacted, if applicable, and by what means and the date(s) of contact;

(5) Confirmation the employer posted the availability of the job opportunity to all employees in the job classification and area in which the work will be performed by the CW-1 workers and the dates of advertising;

(6) If applicable, confirmation that additional recruitment was conducted as directed by the CO and the date(s) of advertising; and

(7) If applicable, for each U.S. worker who applied for the position but was not hired, the lawful job-related reason(s) for not hiring the U.S. worker.

(b) Duty to update and retain the recruitment report. The employer must update the recruitment report throughout the recruitment period. In a joint employment situation, either the job contractor or the employer-client may update the recruitment report throughout the recruitment period. The employer must retain the recruitment report as required in §655.456.

§§655.447-655.449   [Reserved]

Labor Certification Determinations

§655.450   Determinations.

Except as otherwise noted in this section, the OFLC Administrator and CO(s), by virtue of delegation from the OFLC Administrator, have the authority to certify or deny CW-1 Applications for Temporary Employment Certification. The CO will certify the application only if the employer has met all the requirements of this subpart, including the criteria for certification in §655.451, thus demonstrating that there is an insufficient number of U.S. workers in the Commonwealth who are able, willing, qualified and who will be available at the time and place of the job opportunity for which certification is sought and that the employment of the CW-1 workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

§655.451   Criteria for temporary labor certification.

(a) The criteria for TLC include whether the employer has complied with all of the requirements of this subpart, which are required to grant the labor certification.

(b) In determining whether there are insufficient U.S. workers in the Commonwealth to fill the employer's job opportunity, the CO will count as available any U.S. worker who applied (or on whose behalf an application is made) directly to the employer, but who was rejected by the employer for other than a lawful job-related reason. In making this determination, the CO will also consider the employer's contacts with its former U.S. workers, including workers that have been laid off within 270 calendar days before the date of need.

§655.452   Approved certification.

If the TLC is granted, the CO will send a Final Determination notice and a copy of the certified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification to the employer and a copy, if applicable, to the employer's agent or attorney using an electronic method(s) designated by the OFLC Administrator. For employers permitted to file by mail as set forth in §655.420(c), the CO will send the Final Determination notice and a copy of the certified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification by first class mail. The CO will send the certified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, including approved modifications, on behalf of the employer, directly to USCIS using an electronic method(s) designated by the OFLC Administrator. The employer must retain a copy of the certified CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, including the original signed Appendix C, as required by §655.456.

§655.453   Denied certification.

If an electronically filed TLC is denied, the CO will send the Final Determination notice to the employer and a copy, if applicable, to the employer's agent or attorney using an electronic method(s) designated by the OFLC Administrator. For employers permitted to file by mail as set forth in §655.420(c), the CO will send the Final Determination notice by first class mail. The Final Determination notice will:

(a) State the reason(s) certification is denied, citing the relevant regulatory standards;

(b) Offer the employer an opportunity to request administrative review of the denial under §655.461; and

(c) State that if the employer does not request administrative review in accordance with §655.461, the denial is final, and the Department will not accept any appeal on that CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

§655.454   Partial certification.

The CO may issue a partial certification, reducing either the period of need or the number of CW-1 workers or both, based upon information the CO receives during the course of processing the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, an audit, or otherwise. The number of workers certified will be reduced by one for each U.S. worker who is able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed and who has not been rejected for lawful, job-related reasons, to perform the labor or services. If a partial labor certification is issued, the CO will send the Final Determination notice approving partial certification using the procedures at §655.452.

The Final Determination notice will:

(a) State the reason(s) the period of employment or the number of CW-1 workers requested has been reduced, citing the relevant regulatory standards;

(b) Offer the employer an opportunity to request administrative review of the partial certification under §655.461; and

(c) State that if the employer does not request administrative judicial review in accordance with §655.461, the partial certification is final, and the Department will not accept any appeal on that CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

§655.455   Validity of temporary labor certification.

(a) Validity period. A TLC is valid only for the period of employment as approved on the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The certification expires after the last day of authorized employment, including any approved extensions thereof.

(b) Scope of validity. A TLC is valid only for the number of CW-1 positions, the places of employment located in the Commonwealth, the job classification and specific services or labor to be performed, and the employer(s) specified on the approved CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, including any approved modifications. The TLC may not be transferred from one employer to another unless the employer to which it is transferred is a successor in interest to the employer to which it was issued.

§655.456   Document retention requirements for CW-1 employers.

(a) Entities required to retain documents. All CW-1 employers filing a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification are required to retain the documents and records establishing compliance with this subpart, including but not limited to those specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) Period of record retention. The employer must retain records and documents for 3 years from the date on which the certification of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification expires, or 3 years from the date of the final determination if the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification is denied, or 3 years from the date the Department receives the request for withdrawal of a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification under §655.462.

(c) Documents and records to be retained by all employers. All employers filing a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification must retain the following documents and records and must provide the documents and records to the Department and any other Federal Government Official in the event of an audit or investigation:

(1) Proof of recruitment efforts, including:

(i) Placement of the job offer with the CNMI Department of Labor as specified in §655.442;

(ii) Contact with former U.S. employees as specified in §655.443, including documents demonstrating that each such U.S. worker had been offered the job opportunity listed in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, and that the U.S. worker either refused the job opportunity or was rejected only for lawful, job-related reasons;

(iii) Posting notice of the job opportunity to all employees in the job classification and area in which the work will be performed by the CW-1 workers as specified in §655.444; and

(iv) All additional employer-conducted recruitment required by the CO as specified in §655.445.

(2) Documentation supporting the information submitted in the recruitment report prepared in accordance with §655.446, such as evidence of nonapplicability of contact with former workers as specified in §655.443 and any supporting resumes and contact information as specified in §655.446.

(3) Records of each worker's earnings, hours offered and worked, location(s) where work is performed, and other information as specified in §655.423(i).

(4) If applicable, records of reimbursement of transportation and subsistence costs incurred by the workers, as specified in §655.423(j).

(5) Copies of written contracts with third parties demonstrating compliance with the prohibition of seeking or receiving payments or other compensation of any kind from prospective workers as specified in §655.423(o).

(6) Evidence of the employer's contact with U.S. workers who applied for the job opportunity in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, including, but not limited to, documents demonstrating that any rejections of U.S. workers were for lawful, job-related reasons, as specified in §655.423(q).

(7) Written notice provided to and informing OFLC that a CW-1 worker or worker in corresponding employment has separated from employment before the end date of employment specified in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, as specified in §655.423(v).

(8) A copy of the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and all accompanying appendices, including any modifications, amendments, or extensions, signed by the employer as directed by the CO.

(d) Availability of documents and records for enforcement purposes. The employer must make available to the Department, DHS or to any Federal Government Official performing an investigation, inspection, audit, or law enforcement function all documents and records required to be retained under this subpart for purposes of copying, transcribing, or inspecting them.

§§655.457-655.459   [Reserved]

Post Certification Activities

§655.460   Extensions.

(a) Basis for extension. Under certain circumstances an employer may apply for extensions of the period of employment. A request for extension must be related to weather conditions or other factors beyond the control of the employer (which may include unforeseen changes in market conditions). Such requests must be supported in writing, with documentation showing that the extension is needed and that the need could not have been reasonably foreseen by the employer. The CO will not grant an extension where the total period of employment under that CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and the authorized extension would exceed the maximum applicable duration permitted under §655.420(g).

(b) Decision by the CO. The CO will notify the employer of the decision in writing. The employer may appeal a denial of a request for an extension by following the appeal procedures in §655.461.

(c) Obligations during period of extension. The CW-1 employer's assurances and obligations under the TLC will continue to apply during the extended period of employment. The employer must immediately provide to its CW-1 workers and workers in corresponding employment a copy of any approved extension.

§655.461   Administrative review.

(a) Request for review. Where authorized in this subpart, an employer wishing review of a determination by the CO must request an administrative review before BALCA of that determination to exhaust its administrative remedies. In such cases, the request for review:

(1) Must be received by BALCA, and the CO who issued the determination, within 10 business days from the date of the determination;

(2) Must clearly identify the particular determination for which review is sought;

(3) Must include a copy of the CO's determination;

(4) Must set forth the particular grounds for the request, including the specific factual issues the requesting party alleges needs to be examined in connection with the CO's determination;

(5) May contain any legal argument that the employer believes will rebut the basis for the CO's determination, including any briefing the employer wishes to submit; and

(6) May contain only such evidence as was actually before the CO at the time of the CO's determination.

(b) Appeal File. After the receipt of a request for review, the CO will send a copy of the Appeal File, as soon as practicable by means normally assuring next-day delivery, to BALCA, the employer, the employer's attorney or agent (if applicable), and the Associate Solicitor for Employment and Training Legal Services, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor (counsel).

(c) Assignment. The Chief ALJ will immediately, upon receipt of the appeal file from the CO, assign either a single member or a three-member panel of BALCA to consider a particular case.

(d) Administrative review—(1) Briefing schedule. If the employer wishes to submit a brief on appeal, it must do so as part of its request for review. Within 7 business days of receipt of the Appeal File, the counsel for the CO may submit a brief in support of the CO's decision and, if applicable, in response to the employer's brief.

(2) Standard of review. The ALJ must uphold the CO's decision unless shown by the employer to be arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law.

(e) Scope of review. BALCA will affirm, reverse, or modify the CO's determination, or remand to the CO for further action. BALCA will reach this decision after due consideration of the documents in the Appeal File that were before the CO at the time of the CO's determination, the request for review, and any legal briefs submitted. BALCA may not consider evidence not before the CO at the time of the CO's determination, even if such evidence is in the Appeal File, request for review, or legal briefs.

(f) Decision. The decision of BALCA must specify the reasons for the action taken and must be provided to the employer, the CO, and counsel for the CO within 7 business days of the submission of the CO's brief or 10 business days after receipt of the Appeal File, whichever is later, using means normally assuring expedited delivery.

§655.462   Withdrawal of a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(a) The employer may withdraw a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification after it has been submitted to the NPC for processing, including after the CO grants certification under §655.450. However, the employer is still obligated to comply with the terms and conditions of employment contained in the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and work contract with respect to all workers recruited and hired in connection with that application.

(b) To request withdrawal, the employer must submit a request in writing to the NPC identifying the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification and stating the reason(s) for the withdrawal.

§655.463   Public disclosure.

The Department will maintain an electronic file accessible to the public with information on all employers applying for TLCs. The database will include such information as the number of workers requested, the date filed, the date decided, and the final disposition.

§§655.464-655.469   [Reserved]

Integrity Measures

§655.470   Audits.

The CO may conduct audits of certified CW-1 Applications for Temporary Employment Certification.

(a) Discretion. The CO has the sole discretion to choose the certified applications selected for audit.

(b) Audit letter. Where an application is selected for audit, the CO will issue an audit letter to the employer and a copy, if appropriate, to the employer's attorney or agent. The audit letter will:

(1) Specify the documentation that must be submitted by the employer;

(2) Specify a date, no more than 30 calendar days from the date the audit letter is issued, by which the required documentation must be sent to the CO; and

(3) Advise that failure to comply fully with the audit process may result:

(i) In the requirement that the employer undergo the assisted recruitment procedures in §655.471 in future filings of CW-1 Applications for Temporary Employment Certification for a period of up to 2 years; or

(ii) In a revocation of the certification or debarment from the CW-1 program and any other foreign labor certification program administered by the Department.

(c) Supplemental information request. During the course of the audit examination, the CO may request supplemental information or documentation from the employer in order to complete the audit. If circumstances warrant, the CO can issue one or more requests for supplemental information.

(d) Potential referrals. In addition to measures in this subpart, the CO may decide to provide the audit findings and underlying documentation to DHS or other appropriate enforcement agencies. The CO may refer any findings that an employer discouraged a qualified U.S. worker from applying, or failed to hire, discharged, or otherwise discriminated against a qualified U.S. worker, to the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.

§655.471   Assisted recruitment.

(a) Requirement of assisted recruitment. If, as a result of audit or otherwise, the CO determines that a violation has occurred that does not warrant debarment, the CO may require the employer to engage in assisted recruitment for a defined period of time for any future CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(b) Notification of assisted recruitment. The CO will notify the employer (and its attorney or agent, if applicable) in writing of the assisted recruitment that will be required of the employer for a period of up to 2 years from the date the notice is issued. The notification will state the reasons for the imposition of the additional requirements, state that the employer's agreement to accept the conditions will constitute their inclusion as bona fide conditions and terms of a CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, and offer the employer an opportunity to request an administrative review. If administrative review is requested, the procedures in §655.461 apply.

(c) Assisted recruitment. The assisted recruitment process will be in addition to any recruitment required of the employer by §§655.442 through 655.445 and may consist of, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:

(1) Requiring the employer to submit a draft advertisement to the CO for review and approval at the time of filing the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification;

(2) Designating the sources where the employer must recruit for U.S. workers in the Commonwealth and directing the employer to place the advertisement(s) in such sources;

(3) Extending the length of the placement of the advertisements;

(4) Requiring the employer to notify the CO in writing when the advertisement(s) are placed;

(5) Requiring an employer to perform any additional assisted recruitment directed by the CO;

(6) Requiring the employer to provide proof of the publication of all advertisements as directed by the CO;

(7) Requiring the employer to provide proof of all U.S. workers who applied (or on whose behalf an application is made) in response to the employer's recruitment efforts;

(8) Requiring the employer to submit any proof of contact with all referrals and former U.S. workers; or

(9) Requiring the employer to provide any additional documentation verifying it conducted the assisted recruitment as directed by the CO.

(d) Failure to comply. If an employer materially fails to comply with requirements ordered by the CO under this section, the certification will be denied and the employer and its attorney or agent may be debarred under §655.473.

§655.472   Revocation.

(a) Basis for revocation. The OFLC Administrator may revoke a TLC approved under this subpart, if the OFLC Administrator finds:

(1) The issuance of the TLC was not justified due to fraud or misrepresentation of a material fact in the application process;

(2) The employer substantially failed to comply with any of the terms or conditions of the approved TLC. A substantial failure is a failure to comply that constitutes a significant deviation from the terms and conditions of the approved certification and is further defined in §655.473(d); or

(3) The employer impeded the audit process, as set forth in §655.470, or impeded any Federal Government Official performing an investigation, inspection, audit, or law enforcement function.

(b) DOL procedures for revocation—(1) Notice of Revocation. If the OFLC Administrator makes a determination to revoke an employer's TLC, the OFLC Administrator will issue a Notice of Revocation to the employer (and its attorney or agent, if applicable). The notice will contain a detailed statement of the grounds for the revocation and inform the employer of its right to submit rebuttal evidence to the OFLC Administrator or to request administrative review of the Notice of Revocation by BALCA. If the employer does not submit rebuttal evidence or request administrative review within 10 business days from the date the Notice of Revocation is issued, the notice will become the final agency action and will take effect immediately at the end of the 10 business days.

(2) Rebuttal. If the employer timely submits rebuttal evidence, the OFLC Administrator will inform the employer of the final determination on the revocation within 10 business days of receiving the rebuttal evidence. If the OFLC Administrator determines that the certification must be revoked, the OFLC Administrator will inform the employer of its right to appeal the final determination to BALCA according to the procedures of §655.461. If the employer does not appeal the final determination, it will become the final agency action.

(3) Request for review. An employer may appeal a Notice of Revocation or a final determination of the OFLC Administrator after the review of rebuttal evidence to BALCA, according to the appeal procedures of §655.461. The ALJ's decision is the final agency action.

(4) Stay. The timely submission of rebuttal evidence or a request for administrative review will stay the revocation pending the outcome of the proceeding.

(5) Decision. If the TLC is revoked, the OFLC Administrator will provide copies of final revocation decisions to DHS and DOS promptly.

(c) Employer's obligations in the event of revocation. If an employer's TLC is revoked, the employer is responsible for:

(1) Reimbursement of actual inbound transportation and other required expenses;

(2) The workers' outbound transportation and other required expenses;

(3) Payment to the workers of the amount due under the three-fourths guarantee; and

(4) Any other wages, benefits, and working conditions due or owing to the workers under this subpart.

§655.473   Debarment.

(a) Debarment of an employer, agent, or attorney. The OFLC Administrator may debar an employer, agent, attorney, or any successor in interest to that employer, agent, or attorney, from participating in any action under this subpart, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section, if the OFLC Administrator finds that the employer, agent, or attorney substantially violated a material term or condition of the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination or CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification, as defined in paragraph (d) of this section. The OFLC Administrator will provide copies of final debarment decisions to DHS and DOS promptly.

(b) Effect on future applications in all foreign labor programs. The debarred employer, or a debarred agent or attorney, or any successor in interest to any debarred employer, agent, or attorney, will be disqualified from filing any labor certification applications or labor condition applications with the Department subject to the term limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section. If such an application is filed, it will be denied without review.

(c) Period of debarment. No employer, agent, or attorney may be debarred under this subpart for more than 5 years for a single violation.

(d) Definition of violation. For the purposes of this section, a violation of a material term or condition of the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination or CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification includes:

(1) One or more acts of commission or omission on the part of the employer or the employer's agent or attorney that involve:

(i) Failure to pay or provide the required wages, benefits, or working conditions to the employer's CW-1 workers or workers in corresponding employment;

(ii) Failure, except for lawful, job-related reasons, to offer employment to qualified U.S. workers who applied for the job opportunity for which certification was sought;

(iii) Failure to comply with the employer's obligations to recruit U.S. workers;

(iv) Improper layoff or displacement of U.S. workers or workers in corresponding employment;

(v) Failure to comply with the NOD process, as set forth in §655.431, or the assisted recruitment process, as set forth in §655.471;

(vi) Impeding the audit process, as set forth in §655.470, or impeding any Federal Government Official performing an investigation, inspection, audit, or law enforcement function;

(vii) Employing a CW-1 worker outside of the Commonwealth, in an activity not listed in the work contract, or outside the validity period of employment of the work contract, including any approved extension thereof;

(viii) A violation of the requirements of §655.423(n) or (o);

(ix) A violation of any of the provisions listed in §655.423(q); or

(x) Any other act showing such flagrant disregard for the law that future compliance with program requirements cannot reasonably be expected;

(2) Fraud involving the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination or the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification under this subpart; or

(3) A material misrepresentation of fact during the course of processing the CW-1 Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(e) Determining whether a violation is substantial. In determining whether a violation is substantial as to merit debarment, the factors the OFLC Administrator may consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Previous history of violation(s) under the CW-1 program;

(2) The number of CW-1 workers, workers in corresponding employment, or U.S. workers who were or are affected by the violation(s);

(3) The gravity of the violation(s); or

(4) The extent to which the violator achieved a financial gain due to the violation(s), or the potential financial loss or potential injury to the worker(s).

(f) Debarment procedure—(1) Notice of Debarment. If the OFLC Administrator makes a determination to debar an employer, agent, attorney, or any successor in interest to that employer, agent, or attorney, the OFLC Administrator will issue the party a Notice of Debarment. The notice will state the reason(s) for the debarment finding, including a detailed explanation of the grounds for and the duration of the debarment, and it will inform the party subject to the notice of its right to submit rebuttal evidence to the OFLC Administrator, or to request administrative review of the decision by BALCA. If the party does not file rebuttal evidence or a request for review within 30 calendar days of the date of the Notice of Debarment, the notice is the final agency action and the debarment will take effect on the date specified in the notice or if no date is specified, at the end of 30 calendar days The timely filing of rebuttal evidence or a request for review stays the debarment pending the outcome of the appeal as provided in paragraphs (f)(2) through (6) of this section.

(2) Rebuttal. The party who received the Notice of Debarment may choose to submit evidence to rebut the grounds stated in the notice within 30 calendar days of the date the notice is issued. If rebuttal evidence is timely filed, the OFLC Administrator will issue a Final Determination on the debarment within 30 calendar days of receiving the rebuttal evidence. If the OFLC Administrator determines that the party must be debarred, the OFLC Administrator will issue a Final Determination and inform the party of its right to request administrative review of the debarment by BALCA according to the procedures in this section. The party must request review within 30 calendar days after the date of the Final Determination, or the Final Determination will be the final agency order and the debarment will take effect on the date specified in the Final Determination or if no date is specified, at the end of 30 calendar days.

(3) Request for review. (i) The recipient of a Notice of Debarment or Final Determination seeking to challenge the debarment must request review of the debarment within 30 calendar days of the date of the Notice of Debarment or the date of the Final Determination by the OFLC Administrator after review of rebuttal evidence submitted under paragraph (f)(2) of this section. A request for review of debarment must be sent in writing to the Chief ALJ, United States Department of Labor, with a simultaneous copy served on the OFLC Administrator; the request must clearly identify the particular debarment determination for which review is sought; and must set forth the particular grounds for the request. If no timely request for review is filed, the debarment will take effect on the date specified in the Notice of Debarment or Final Determination, or if no date is specified, 30 calendar days from the date the Notice of Debarment or Final Determination is issued.

(ii) Upon receipt of a request for review, the OFLC Administrator will promptly send a certified copy of the ETA case file to the Chief ALJ by means normally assuring expedited delivery. The Chief ALJ will immediately assign an ALJ to conduct the review.

(iii) Statements, briefs, and other submissions of the parties must contain only legal argument and only such evidence that was within the record upon which the debarment was based, including any rebuttal evidence submitted pursuant to paragraph (f)(2) of this section.

(4) Review by the ALJ. (i) In considering requests for review, the ALJ must afford all parties 30 days to submit or decline to submit any appropriate Statement of Position or legal brief. The ALJ must review the debarment determination on the basis of the record upon which the decision was made, the request for review, and any Statements of Position or legal briefs submitted.

(ii) The ALJ's final decision must affirm, reverse, or modify the OFLC Administrator's determination. The ALJ's decision will be provided to the parties by expedited mail. The ALJ's decision is the final agency action, unless either party, within 30 calendar days of the ALJ's decision, seeks review of the decision with the Administrative Review Board (ARB).

(5) Review by the ARB. (i) Any party wishing review of the decision of an ALJ must, within 30 calendar days of the decision of the ALJ, petition the ARB to review the decision. Copies of the petition must be served on all parties and on the ALJ. The ARB will decide whether to accept the petition within 30 calendar days of receipt. If the ARB declines to accept the petition, or if the ARB does not issue a notice accepting a petition within 30 calendar days after the receipt of a timely filing of the petition, the decision of the ALJ is the final agency action. If a petition for review is accepted, the decision of the ALJ will be stayed unless and until the ARB issues an order affirming the decision. The ARB must serve notice of its decision to accept or not to accept the petition upon the ALJ and upon all parties to the proceeding.

(ii) Upon receipt of the ARB's notice to accept the petition, the Office of Administrative Law Judges will promptly forward a copy of the complete appeal record to the ARB.

(iii) Where the ARB has determined to review the decision and order, the ARB will notify each party of the issue(s) raised, the form in which submissions must be made (e.g., briefs or oral argument), and the time within which the presentation must be submitted.

(6) ARB Decision. The ARB's final decision must be issued within 90 calendar days from the notice granting the petition and served upon all parties and the ALJ.

§§655.474-655.499   [Reserved]

Subpart F—Attestations by Employers Using Alien Crewmembers for Longshore Activities in U.S. Ports

Source: 60 FR 3956, 3976, Jan. 19, 1995, unless otherwise noted.

General Provisions

§655.500   Purpose, procedure and applicability of subparts F and G of this part.

(a) Purpose. (1) Section 258 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“Act”) prohibits nonimmigrant alien crewmembers admitted to the United States on D-visas from performing longshore work at U.S. ports except in five specific instances:

(i) Where the vessel's country of registration does not prohibit U.S. crewmembers from performing longshore work in that country's ports and nationals of a country (or countries) which does not prohibit U.S. crewmembers from performing longshore work in that country's ports hold a majority of the ownership interest in the vessel, as determined by the Secretary of State (henceforth referred to as the “reciprocity exception”);

(ii) Where there is in effect in a local port one or more collective bargaining agreement(s), each covering at least thirty percent of the longshore workers, and each permitting the activity to be performed under the terms of such agreement(s);

(iii) Where there is no collective bargaining agreement covering at least thirty percent of the longshore workers at the particular port and an attestation with accompanying documentation has been filed with the Department of Labor attesting that, among other things, the use of alien crewmembers to perform a particular activity of longshore work is permitted under the prevailing practice of the particular port (henceforth referred to as the “prevailing practice exception”);

(iv) Where the longshore work is to be performed at a particular location in the State of Alaska and an attestation with accompanying documentation has been filed with the Department of Labor attesting that, among other things, before using alien crewmembers to perform the activity specified in the attestation, the employer will make a bona fide request for and employ United States longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers from contract stevedoring companies, labor organizations recognized as exclusive bargaining representatives of United States longshore workers, and private dock operators (henceforth referred to as the “Alaska exception”); or

(v) Where the longshore work involves an automated self-unloading conveyor belt or vacuum-actuated system on a vessel and the Administrator has not previously determined that an attestation must be filed pursuant to this part as a basis for performing those functions (henceforth referred to as the “automated vessel exception”).

(2) The term “longshore work” does not include the loading or unloading of hazardous cargo, as determined by the Secretary of Transportation, for safety and environmental protection. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), determines whether an employer may use alien crewmembers for longshore work at U.S. ports. In those cases where an employer must file an attestation in order to perform such work, the Department of Labor shall be responsible for accepting the filing of such attestations. Subpart F of this part sets forth the procedure for filing attestations with the Department of Labor for employers proposing to use alien crewmembers for longshore work at U.S. ports under the prevailing practice exception, the Alaska exception, and where it has been determined that an attestation is required under the automated vessel exception listed in paragraph (a)(1)(iv) of this section. Subpart G of this part sets forth complaint, investigation, and penalty provisions with respect to such attestations.

(b) Procedure. (1) Under the prevailing practice exception in sec. 258(c) of the Act, and in those cases where it has been determined that an attestation is required under the automated vessel exception for longshore work to be performed at locations other than in the State of Alaska, the procedure involves filing an attestation with the Department of Labor attesting that:

(i) The use of alien crewmembers for a particular activity of longshore work is the prevailing practice at the particular port;

(ii) The use of alien crewmembers is not during a strike or lockout nor designed to influence the election of a collective bargaining representative; and

(iii) Notice of the attestation has been provided to the bargaining representative of longshore workers in the local port, or, where there is none, notice has been provided to longshore workers employed at the local port.

(2) Under the automated vessel exception in sec. 258(c) of the Act, no attestation is required in cases where longshore activity consists of the use of an automated self-unloading conveyor belt or vacuum-actuated system on a vessel. The legislation creates a rebuttable presumption that the use of alien crewmembers for the operation of such automated systems is the prevailing practice. In order to overcome such presumption, it must be shown by the preponderance of the evidence submitted by any interested party, that the use of alien crewmembers for such activity is not the prevailing practice at the particular port, that it is during a strike or lockout, or that it is intended or designed to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers in the local port.

(3) Under the Alaska exception in sec. 258(d) of the Act, and in those cases where it has been determined that an attestation is required under the automated vessel exception consisting of the use of such equipment for longshore work to be performed in the State of Alaska, the procedure involves filing an attestation with the Department of Labor attesting that:

(i) The employer will make a bona fide request for United States longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers to perform the activity at the particular time and location from the parties to whom notice has been provided under paragraph (b)(3)(iv) (B) and (C) of this section, except that:

(A) Wherever two or more contract stevedoring companies which meet the requirements of section 32 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 932) have signed a joint collective bargaining agreement with a single labor organization recognized as an exclusive bargaining representative of United States longshore workers within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 141 et seq.), the employer may request longshore workers from only one such contract stevedoring company, and

(B) A request for longshore workers to an operator of a private dock may be made only for longshore work to be performed at that dock and only if the operator meets the requirements of section 32 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 932);

(ii) The employer will employ all United States longshore workers made available in response to the request made pursuant to paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers and who are needed to perform the longshore activity at the particular time and location attested to;

(iii) The use of alien crewmembers for such activity is not intended or designed to influence and election of a bargaining representative for workers in the State of Alaska; and

(iv) Notice of the attestation has been provided to:

(A) Labor organizations which have been recognized as exclusive bargaining representatives of United States longshore workers within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 141 et seq.) and which make available or intend to make available workers to the particular location where the longshore work is to be performed;

(B) Contract stevedoring companies which employ or intend to employ United States longshore workers at that location; and

(C) Operators of private docks at which the employer will use longshore workers.

(c) Applicability. Subparts F and G of this part apply to all employers who seek to employ alien crewmembers for longshore work at U.S. ports under the prevailing practice exception, to all employers who seek to employ alien crewmembers for longshore work at locations in the State of Alaska under the Alaska exception, to all employers claiming the automated vessel exception, and to those cases where it has been determined that an attestation is required under the automated vessel exception.

[60 FR 3956, 3976, Jan. 19, 1995, as amended at 71 FR 35520, June 21, 2006]

§655.501   Overview of responsibilities.

This section provides a context for the attestation process, to facilitate understanding by employers that may seek to employ alien crewmembers for longshore work under the prevailing practice exception, under the Alaska exception, and in those cases where an attestation is necessary under the automated vessel exception.

(a) Department of Labor's responsibilities. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) administers the attestation process. Within DOL, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) shall have responsibility for setting up and operating the attestation process; the Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division shall be responsible for investigating and resolving any complaints filed concerning such attestations.

(b) Employer attestation responsibilities. (1) Each employer seeking to use alien crewmembers for longshore work at a local U.S. port pursuant to the prevailing practice exception or where an attestation is required under the automated vessel exception for longshore work to be performed at locations other than in the State of Alaska shall, as the first step, submit an attestation on Form ETA 9033, as described in §655.510 of this part, to ETA at the address set forth at §655.510(b) of this part. If ETA accepts the attestation for filing, pursuant to §655.510 of this part, ETA shall return the cover form of the accepted attestation to the employer, and, at the same time, shall provide notice of the filing to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office having jurisdiction over the port where longshore work will be performed.

(2) Each employer seeking to use alien crewmembers for longshore work at a particular location in the State of Alaska pursuant to the Alaska exception or where an attestation is required under the automated vessel exception for longshore work to be performed at a particular location in Alaska shall submit, as a first step, an attestation on Form ETA 9033-A, as described in §655.533 of this part, to ETA at the address of the Seattle regional office as set forth at §655.532 of this part. The address appears in the instructions to Form ETA 9033-A. ETA shall return the cover form of the accepted attestation to the employer, and, at the same time, shall provide notice of the filing to the DHS office having jurisdiction over the location where longshore work will be performed.

(c) Complaints. Complaints concerning misrepresentation in the attestation, failure of the employer to carry out the terms of the attestation, or complaints that an employer is required to file an attestation under the automated vessel exception, may be filed with the Wage and Hour Division, according to the procedures set forth in subpart G of this part. Complaints of “misrepresentation” may include assertions that an employer has attested to the use of alien crewmembers only for a particular activity of longshore work and has thereafter used such alien crewmembers for another activity of longshore work. If the Division determines that the complaint presents reasonable cause to warrant an investigation, the Division shall then investigate, and, where appropriate, after an opportunity for a hearing, assess sanctions and penalties. Subpart G of this part further provides that interested parties may obtain an administrative law judge hearing on the Division's determination after an investigation and may seek the Secretary's review of the administrative law judge's decision. Subpart G of this part also provides that a complainant may request that the Wage and Hour Administrator issue a cease and desist order in the case of either alleged violation(s) of an attestation or longshore work by alien crewmember(s) employed by an employer allegedly not qualified for the claimed automated vessel exception. Upon the receipt of such a request, the Division shall notify the employer, provide an opportunity for a response and an informal meeting, and then rule on the request, which shall be granted if the preponderance of the evidence submitted supports the complainant's position.

[60 FR 3956, 3976, Jan. 19, 1995, as amended at 71 FR 35521, June 21, 2006]

§655.502   Definitions.

For the purposes of subparts F and G of this part:

Accepted for filing means that a properly completed attestation on Form ETA 9033, including accompanying documentation for each of the requirements in §655.510 (d) through (f) of this part, or a properly completed attestation on Form ETA 9033-A, including accompanying documentation for the requirement in §655.537 of this part in the case of an attestation under the Alaska exception, submitted by the employer or its designated agent or representative has been received and filed by the Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor (DOL). (Unacceptable attestations under the prevailing practice exception are described at §655.510(g)(2) of this part. Unacceptable attestations under the Alaska exception are described at §655.538(b) of this part.)

Act and INA mean the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.

Activity means any activity relating to loading cargo; unloading cargo; operation of cargo-related equipment; or handling of mooring lines on the dock when a vessel is made fast or let go.

Administrative law judge means an official appointed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3105.

Administrator means the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, Department of Labor, or such authorized representatives as may be designated to perform any of the functions of the Administrator under subparts F and G of this part.

Administrator, Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC Administrator) means the primary official of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC Administrator), or the OFLC Administrator's designee.

Attestation means documents submitted by an employer attesting to and providing accompanying documentation to show that, under the prevailing practice exception, the use of alien crewmembers for a particular activity of longshore work at a particular U.S. port is the prevailing practice, and is not during a strike or lockout nor intended to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers; and that notice of the attestation has been provided to the bargaining representative, or, where there is none, to the longshore workers at the local port. Under the Alaska exception, such documents shall show that, before using alien crewmen to perform longshore work, the employer will make bona fide requests for dispatch of United States longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers and that the employer will employ all such United States longshore workers in response to such a request for dispatch; that the use of alien crewmembers is not intended or designed to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers in the State of Alaska; and that notice of the attestation has been provided to labor organizations recognized as exclusive bargaining representatives of United States longshore workers, contract stevedoring companies, and operators of private docks at which the employer will use longshore workers.

Attesting employer means an employer who has filed an attestation.

Attorney General means the chief official of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Attorney General's designee.

Automated vessel means a vessel equipped with an automated self-unloading conveyor belt or vacuum-actuated system which is utilized for loading or unloading cargo between the vessel and the dock.

Certifying Officer (CO) means a Department of Labor official, or the CO's designee, who makes determinations about whether or not to grant applications for labor certification. The National Certifying Officer, which is the OFLC Administrator, makes such determinations in the national office of the OFLC.

Chief Administrative Law Judge means the chief official of the Office of the Administrative Law Judges of the Department of Labor or the Chief Administrative Law Judge's designee.

Contract stevedoring company means a stevedoring company which is licensed to do business in the State of Alaska and which meets the requirements of section 32 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 932).

Crewmember means any nonimmigrant alien admitted to the United States to perform services under sec. 101(a)(15)(D)(i) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(D)(i)).

Date of filing means the date an attestation is accepted for filing by ETA.

Department and DOL mean the United States Department of Labor.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the determination under the Act on whether an employer of alien crewmembers may use such crewmembers for longshore work at a U.S. port.

Division means the Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration, DOL.

Employer means a person, firm, corporation, or other association or organization, which suffers or permits, or proposes to suffer or permit, alien crewmembers to perform longshore work at a port within the U.S. For purposes of §§655.530 through 655.541, which govern the performance of longshore activities by alien crewmembers under the Alaska exception, “employer” includes any agent or representative designated by the employer.

Employment and Training Administration (ETA) means the agency within the Department of Labor (DOL) which includes the Office of Foreign Labor (OFLC).

Employment Standards Administration (ESA) means the agency within the Department of Labor (DOL) which includes the Wage and Hour Division.

Lockout means a labor dispute involving a work stoppage, wherein an employer withholds work from its employees in order to gain a concession from them.

Longshore work means any activity (except safety and environmental protection work as described in sec. 258(b)(2) of the Act) relating to the loading or unloading of cargo, the operation of cargo related equipment (whether or not integral to the vessel), or the handling of mooring lines on the dock when the vessel is made fast or let go, in the United States or the coastal waters thereof.

Longshore worker means a U.S. worker who performs longshore work.

Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) means the organizational component within the ETA that provides national leadership and policy guidance and develops regulations and procedures to carry out the responsibilities of the Secretary of Labor under the INA concerning alien workers seeking admission to the United States in order to work under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended.

Port means a geographic area, either on a seacoast, lake, river or any other navigable body of water, which contains one or more publicly or privately owned terminals, piers, docks, or maritime facilities, which is commonly thought of as a port by other government maritime-related agencies, such as the Maritime Administration. U.S. ports include, but are not limited to, those listed in Appendix A to this subpart.

Qualified and available in sufficient numbers means the full complement of qualified longshore workers needed to perform the longshore activity, as determined by industry standards in the State of Alaska, including safety considerations.

Secretary means the Secretary of Labor or the Secretary's designee.

Strike means a labor dispute wherein employees engage in a concerted stoppage of work (including stoppage by reason of the expiration of a collective-bargaining agreement) or engage in any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operations.

Unanticipated emergency means an unexpected and unavoidable situation, such as one involving severe weather conditions, natural disaster, or mechanical breakdown, where cargo must be immediately loaded on, or unloaded from, a vessel.

United States is defined at 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(38).

United States (U.S.) worker means a worker who is a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, a permanent resident alien, or any other worker legally permitted to work indefinitely in the United States.

[60 FR 3956, 3976, Jan. 19, 1995, as amended at 71 FR 35520, June 21, 2006]

§655.510   Employer attestations.

(a) Who may submit attestations? An employer (or the employer's designated U.S. agent or representative) seeking to employ alien crewmembers for a particular activity of longshore work under the prevailing practice exception shall submit an attestation, provided there is not in effect in the local port any collective bargaining agreement covering at least 30 percent of the longshore workers. An attestation is required for each port at which the employer intends to use alien crewmembers for longshore work. The attestation shall include: A completed Form ETA 9033, which shall be signed by the employer (or the employer's designated agent or representative); and facts and evidence prescribed in paragraphs (d) through (f) of this section. This §655.510 shall not apply in the case of longshore work performed at a particular location in the State of Alaska. The procedures governing the filing of attestations under the Alaska exception are set forth at §§655.530 through 655.541.

(b) Where and when should attestations be submitted? (1) Attestations must be submitted, by U.S. mail, private carrier, or facsimile transmission to the U.S. Department of Labor office(s) which are designated by the OFLC Administrator. Attestations must be received and date-stamped by DOL at least 14 calendar days prior to the date of the first performance of the intended longshore activity, and shall be accepted for filing or returned by ETA in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section within 14 calendar days of the date received by ETA. An attestation which is accepted by ETA solely because it was not reviewed within 14 days is subject to subsequent invalidation pursuant to paragraph (i) of this section. Every employer filing an attestation shall have an agent or representative with a United States address. Such address shall be clearly indicated on the Form ETA 9033. In order to ensure that an attestation has been accepted for filing prior to the date of the performance of the longshore activity, employers are advised to take mailing time into account to make sure that ETA receives the attestation at least 14 days prior to the first performance of the longshore activity.

(2) Unanticipated Emergencies. ETA may accept for filing attestations received after the 14-day deadline when due to an unanticipated emergency, as defined in §655.502 of this part. When an employer is claiming an unanticipated emergency, it shall submit documentation to support such a claim. ETA shall then make a determination on the validity of the claim, and shall accept the attestation for filing or return it in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section. ETA shall in no case accept an attestation received later than the date of the first performance of the activity.

(c) What should be submitted?—(1) Form ETA 9033 with accompanying documentation. For each port, a completed and dated original Form ETA 9033, or facsimile transmission thereof, containing the required attestation elements and the original signature of the employer (or the employer's designated agent or representative) shall be submitted, along with two copies of the completed, signed, and dated Form ETA 9033. (If the attestation is submitted by facsimile transmission, the attestation containing the original signature shall be maintained at the U.S. business address of the employer's designated agent or representative). Copies of Form ETA 9033 are available at the National Processing Centers and at the National Office. In addition, the employer shall submit two sets of all facts and evidence to show compliance with each of the attestation elements as prescribed by the regulatory standards in paragraphs (d) through (f) of this section. In the case of an investigation pursuant to subpart G of this part, the employer shall have the burden of proof to establish the validity of each attestation. The employer shall maintain in its records at the office of its U.S. agent, for a period of at least 3 years from the date of filing, sufficient documentation to meet its burden of proof, which shall at a minimum include the documentation described in this §655.510, and shall make the documents available to Department of Labor officials upon request.

Whenever any document is submitted to a Federal agency or retained in the employer's records pursuant to this part, the document either shall be in the English language or shall be accompanied by a written translation into the English language certified by the translator as to the accuracy of the translation and his/her competency to translate.

(2) Statutory precondition regarding collective bargaining agreements. (i) The employer may file an attestation only when there is no collective bargaining agreement in effect in the port covering 30 percent or more of the longshore workers in the port. The employer shall attest on the Form ETA 9033 that no such collective bargaining agreement exists at the port at the time that the attestation is filed.

(ii) The employer is not required to submit with the Form ETA 9033 documentation substantiating that there is no collective bargaining agreement in effect in the port covering 30 percent or more of the longshore workers. If a complaint is filed which presents reasonable cause to believe that such an agreement exists, the Department shall conduct an investigation. In such an investigation, the employer shall have the burden of proving that no such collective bargaining agreement exists.

(3) Ports for which attestations may be filed. Employers may file an attestation for a port which is listed in appendix A (U.S. Seaports) to this subpart. Employers may also file an attestation for a particular location not in appendix A to this subpart if additional facts and evidence are submitted with the attestation to demonstrate that the location is a port, meeting all of the criteria as defined by §655.502 of this part.

(4) Attestation elements. The attestation elements referenced in paragraph (c)(1) of this section are mandated by sec. 258(c)(1)(B) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1288(c)(1)(B)). Section 258(c)(1)(B) of the Act requires employers who seek to have alien crewmembers engage in a longshore activity to attest as follows:

(i) The performance of the activity by alien crewmembers is permitted under the prevailing practice of the particular port as of the date of filing of the attestation;

(ii) The use of the alien crewmembers for such activity is not during a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute, and is not intended or designed to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers in the local port; and

(iii) Notice of the attestation has been provided by the owner, agent, consignee, master, or commanding officer to the bargaining representative of longshore workers in the local port, or, where there is no such bargaining representative, notice has been provided to longshore workers employed at the local port.

(d) The first attestation element: prevailing practice. For an employer to be in compliance with the first attestation element, it is required to have been the prevailing practice during the 12-month period preceding the filing of the attestation, for a particular activity of longshore work at the particular port to be performed by alien crewmembers. For each port, a prevailing practice can exist for any of four different types of longshore work: loading of cargo, unloading of cargo, operation of cargo-related equipment, or handling of mooring lines. It is thus possible that at a particular port it is the prevailing practice for alien crewmembers to unload vessels but not the prevailing practice to load them. An employer shall indicate on the attestation form which of the four longshore activities it is claiming is the prevailing practice for such work to be performed by alien crewmembers.

(1) Establishing a prevailing practice. (i) In establishing that a particular activity of longshore work is the prevailing practice at a particular port, an employer shall submit facts and evidence to show that in the 12-month period preceding the filing of the attestation, one of the following conditions existed:

(A) Over fifty percent of vessels docking at the port used alien crewmembers for the activity; or

(B) Alien crewmembers made up over fifty percent of the workers in the port who engaged in the activity.

(ii) Prevailing practice after Secretary of State determination of non-reciprocity. Section 258(d) of the Act provides a reciprocity exception (separate from the prevailing practice exception) to the prohibition on performance of longshore work by alien crewmembers in U.S. ports. However, this reciprocity exception becomes nonapplicable where the Secretary of State determines that, for a particular activity of longshore work, a particular country (by law, regulation, or practice) prohibits such activity by U.S. crewmembers in its ports. When the Secretary of State places a country on the non-reciprocity list (which means, for the purposes of this section, Prohibitions on longshore work by U.S. nationals; listing by country at 22 CFR 89.1), crewmembers on vessels from that country (that is, vessels that are registered in that country or vessels whose majority ownership interest is held by nationals of that country) are not permitted to perform longshore work in U.S. waters, absent applicability of some exception other than the reciprocity exception. The Secretary of State's determination has the following effects in the establishment of a prevailing practice for a particular longshore activity at a particular U.S. port for purposes of the prevailing practice exception.

(A) An employer from any country, other than the country which is placed on the non-reciprocity list, may include the longshore activities performed by alien crewmembers on all vessels in establishing the prevailing practice for a particular longshore activity in a particular port.

(B) An employer from a country which is placed on the non-reciprocity list may file an attestation for the prevailing practice exception under the standards and requirements established in this subpart F (except as provided in paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(C) of this section), provided that the attestation is filed at least 12 months after the date on which the employer's country is placed on the list.

(C) An employer from a country which is placed on the non-reciprocity list may file an attestation pursuant to the prevailing practice exception earlier than 12 months from the date on which the employer's country is placed on the list, except that the following restrictions shall apply to such attestation:

(1) The employer shall submit facts and evidence to show that, for the 12-month period preceding the date of the attestation, the use of alien crewmembers to perform a particular activity of longshore work was permitted by the prevailing practice in the port (as defined in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section) without considering or including such activity by crewmembers on vessels from the employer's country; or

(2) The employer shall submit facts and evidence (including data on activities performed by crewmembers on vessels from the employer's country) to show that the use of alien crewmembers to perform a particular activity of longshore work was permitted by the prevailing practice in the port (as defined in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section) for one of two periods—

(i) For the employer whose country has not previously been on the non-reciprocity list, the period is the continuous 12-month period prior to May 28, 1991 (the effective date of section 258 of the Act); or

(ii) For the employer whose country was at some time on the non-reciprocity list, but was subsequently removed from the non-reciprocity list and then restored to the non-reciprocity list (on one or more occasions), the period is the last continuous 12-month period during which the employer's country was not under the reciprocity exception (that is, was listed on the non-reciprocity list).

(iii) For purposes of this paragraph (d)(1):

(A) “Workers in the port engaged in the activity” means any person who performed the activity in any calendar day;

(B) Vessels shall be counted each time they dock at the particular port):

(C) Vessels exempt from section 258 of the INA for safety and environmental protection shall not be included in counting the number of vessels which dock at the port (see Department of Transportation Regulations); and

(D) Automated vessels shall not be included in counting the number of vessels which dock at the port. For establishing a prevailing practice under the automated vessel exception see §655.520 of this part.

(2) Documentation. In assembling the facts and evidence required by paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the employer may consult with the port authority which has jurisdiction over the local port, the collective bargaining representative(s) of longshore workers at the local port, other employers, or any other entity which is familiar with the practices at the port. Such documentation shall include a written summary of a survey of the experience of shipmasters who entered the local port in the previous year; or a letter, affidavit, or other written statement from an appropriate local port authority regarding the use of alien crewmembers to perform the longshore activity at the port in the previous year; or other documentation of comparable weight. Written statements from collective bargaining representatives and/or shipping agents with direct knowledge of practices regarding the use of alien crewmembers in the local port may also be pertinent. Such documentation shall accompany the Form ETA 9033, and any underlying documentation which supports the employer's burden of proof shall be maintained in the employer's records at the office of the U.S. agent as required by paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(e) The second attestation element: no strike or lockout; no intention or design to influence bargaining representative election. (1) The employer shall attest that, at the time of submitting the attestation, there is not a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute covering the employer's activity, and that it will not use alien crewmembers during a strike or lockout after filing the attestation. The employer shall also attest that the employment of such aliens is not intended or designed to influence an election for a bargaining representative for workers in the local port. Labor disputes for purposes of this attestation element relate only to those involving longshore workers at the port of intended employment. This attestation element applies to strikes and lockouts and elections of bargaining representatives at the local port where the use of alien crewmembers for longshore work is intended.

(2) Documentation. As documentation to substantiate the requirement in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, an employer may submit a statement of the good faith efforts made to determine whether there is a strike or lockout at the particular port, as, for example, by contacting the port authority or the collective bargaining representative for longshore workers at the particular port.

(f) The third attestation element: notice of filing. The employer of alien crewmembers shall attest that at the time of filing the attestation, notice of filing has been provided to the bargaining representative of the longshore workers in the local port, or, where there is no such bargaining representative, notice of the filing has been provided to longshore workers employed at the local port through posting in conspicuous locations and through other appropriate means.

(1) Notification of bargaining representative. No later than the date the attestation is received by DOL to be considered for filing, the employer of alien crewmembers shall notify the bargaining representative (if any) of longshore workers at the local port that the attestation is being submitted to DOL. The notice shall include a copy of the Form ETA 9033, shall state the activity(ies) for which the attestation is submitted, and shall state in that notice that the attestation and accompanying documentation are available at the national office of ETA for review by interested parties. The employer may have its owner, agent, consignee, master, or commanding officer provide such notice. Notices under this paragraph (f)(1) shall include the following statement: “Complaints alleging misrepresentation of material facts in the attestation and/or failure to comply with the terms of the attestation may be filed with any office of the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.”

(2) Posting notice where there is no bargaining representative. If there is no bargaining representative of longshore workers at the local port when the employer submits an attestation to ETA, the employer shall provide written notice to the port authority for distribution to the public on request. In addition, the employer shall post one or more written notices at the local port, stating that the attestation with accompanying documentation has been submitted, the activity(ies) for which the attestation has been submitted, and that the attestation and accompanying documentation are available at the national office of ETA for review by interested parties. Such posted notice shall be clearly visible and unobstructed, and shall be posted in conspicuous places where the longshore workers readily can read the posted notice on the way to or from their duties. Appropriate locations for posting such notices include locations in the immediate proximity of mandatory Fair Labor Standards Act wage and hour notices and Occupational Safety and Health Act occupational safety and health notices. The notice shall include a copy of the Form ETA 9033 filed with DOL, shall provide information concerning the availability of supporting documents for examination at the national office of ETA, and shall include the following statement: “Complaints alleging misrepresentation of material facts in the attestation and/or failure to comply with the terms of the attestation may be filed with any office of the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.”

(3) Documentation. The employer shall provide a statement setting forth the name and address of the person to whom the notice was provided and where and when the notice was posted and shall attach a copy of the notice.

(g) Actions on attestations submitted for filing. Once an attestation has been received from an employer, a determination shall be made by the Certifying Officer whether to accept the attestation for filing or return it. The Certifying Officer may request additional explanation and/or documentation from the employer in making this determination. An attestation which is properly filled out and which includes accompanying documentation for each of the requirements set forth at §655.510(d) through (f) shall be accepted for filing by ETA on the date it is signed by the Certifying Officer unless it falls within one of the categories set forth in paragraph (g)(2) of this section. Once an attestation is accepted for filing, ETA shall then follow the procedures set forth in paragraph (g)(1) of this section. Upon acceptance of the employer's attestation by ETA, the attestation and accompanying documentation will be forwarded and shall be available in a timely manner for public examination at the ETA national office. ETA shall not consider information contesting an attestation received by ETA prior to the determination to accept or return the attestation for filing. Such information shall not be made part of ETA's administrative record on the attestation, but shall be referred to ESA to be processed as a complaint pursuant to subpart G of this part if the attestation is accepted by ETA for filing.

(1) Acceptance. (i) If the attestation is properly filled out and includes accompanying documentation for each of the requirements at §655.510(d) through (f), and does not fall within one of the categories set forth at paragraph (g)(2) of this section, ETA shall accept the attestation for filing, provide notification to the DHS office having jurisdiction over the port where longshore work will be performed, and return to the employer, or the employer's agent or representative at a U.S. address, one copy of the attestation form submitted by the employer, with ETA's acceptance indicated thereon. The employer may then use alien crewmembers for the particular activity of longshore work at the U.S. port cited in the attestation in accordance with DHS regulations.

(ii) DOL is not the guarantor of the accuracy, truthfulness or adequacy of an attestation accepted for filing.

(2) Unacceptable attestations. ETA shall not accept an attestation for filing and shall return such attestation to the employer, or the employer's agent or representative at a U.S. address, when one of the following conditions exists:

(i) When the Form ETA 9033 is not properly filled out. Examples of improperly filled out Form ETA 9033's include instances where the employer has neglected to check all the necessary boxes, or where the employer has failed to include the name of the port where it intends to use the alien crewmembers for longshore work, or where the employer has named a port that is not listed in appendix A and has failed to submit facts and evidence to support a showing that the location is a port as defined by §655.502, or when the employer has failed to sign the attestation or to designate an agent in the United States;

(ii) When the Form ETA 9033 with accompanying documentation is not received by ETA at least 14 days prior to the date of performance of the first activity indicated on the Form ETA 9033; unless the employer is claiming an unanticipated emergency, has included documentation which supports such claim, and ETA has found the claim to be valid;

(iii) When the Form ETA 9033 does not include accompanying documentation for each of the requirements set forth at §655.510 (d) through (f);

(iv) When the accompanying documentation required by paragraph (c) of this section submitted by the employer, on its face, is inconsistent with the requirements set forth at §655.510 (d) through (f). Examples of such a situation include instances where the Form ETA 9033 pertains to one port and the accompanying documentation to another; where the Form ETA 9033 pertains to one activity of longshore work and the accompanying documentation obviously refers to another; or where the documentation clearly indicates that only thirty percent, instead of the required fifty percent, of the activity attested to is performed by alien crewmembers;

(v) When the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, has notified ETA, in writing, after an investigation pursuant to subpart G of this part, that the particular activity of longshore work which the employer has attested is the prevailing practice at a particular port, is not, in fact, the prevailing practice at the particular port;

(vi) When the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, has notified ETA, in writing, that a cease and desist order has been issued pursuant to subpart G of this part, with respect to the attesting employer's performance of the particular activity and port, in violation of a previously accepted attestation;

(vii) When the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, has notified ETA, in writing, after an investigation pursuant to subpart G of this part, that the particular employer has misrepresented or failed to comply with an attestation previously submitted and accepted for filing, but in no case for a period of more than one year after the date of the Administrator's notice and provided that DHS has not advised ETA that the prohibition is in effect for a lesser period; or

(viii) When the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, has notified ETA, in writing, that the employer has failed to comply with any penalty, sanction, or other remedy assessed in a final agency action following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division pursuant to subpart G of this part.

(3) Resubmission. If the attestation is not accepted for filing pursuant to the categories set forth in paragraph (g)(2) of this section, ETA shall return to the employer, or the employer's agent or representative, at a U.S. address, the attestation form and accompanying documentation submitted by the employer. ETA shall notify the employer, in writing, of the reason(s) that the attestation is unacceptable. When an attestation is found to be unacceptable pursuant to paragraphs (g)(2) (i) through (iv) of this section, the employer may resubmit the attestation with the proper documentation. When an attestation is found to be unacceptable pursuant to paragraphs (g)(2) (v) through (viii) of this section and returned, such action shall be the final decision of the Secretary of Labor.

(h) Effective date and validity of filed attestations. An attestation is filed and effective as of the date it is accepted and signed by the Certifying Officer. Such attestation is valid for the 12-month period beginning on the date of acceptance for filing, unless suspended or invalidated pursuant to subpart G of this part or paragraph (i) of this section. The filed attestation expires at the end of the 12-month period of validity.

(i) Suspension or invalidation of filed attestations. Suspension or invalidation of an attestation may result from enforcement action(s) under subpart G of this part (i.e., investigation(s) conducted by the Administrator or cease and desist order(s) issued by the Administrator regarding the employer's misrepresentation in or failure to carry out its attestation); or from a discovery by ETA that it made an error in accepting the attestation because such attestation falls within one of the categories set forth in paragraph (g)(2) of this section.

(1) Result of Wage and Hour Division action. Upon the determination of a violation under subpart G of this part, the Administrator shall, pursuant to §655.660(b), notify the DHS of the violation and of the Administrator's notice to ETA.

(2) Result of ETA action. If, after accepting an attestation for filing, ETA finds that the attestation is unacceptable because it falls within one of the categories set forth at paragraph (g)(2) of this section, and as a result, ETA suspends or invalidates the attestation, ETA shall notify the DHS of such suspension or invalidation and shall return a copy of the attestation form to the employer, or the employer's agent or representative, at a U.S. address. ETA shall notify the employer, in writing, of the reason(s) that the attestation is suspended or invalidated. When an attestation is found to be suspended or invalidated pursuant to paragraphs (g)(2) (i) through (iv) of this section, the employer may resubmit the attestation with the proper documentation. When an attestation is suspended or invalidated because it falls within one of the categories in paragraphs (g)(2) (v) through (viii) of this section, such action shall be the final decision of the Secretary of Labor, except as set forth in subpart G of this part.

(j) Withdrawal of accepted attestations. (1) An employer who has submitted an attestation which has been accepted for filing may withdraw such attestation at any time before the 12-month period of its validity terminates, unless the Administrator has found reasonable cause under subpart G to commence an investigation of the particular attestation. Such withdrawal may be advisable, for example, when the employer learns that the particular activity(ies) of longshore work which it has attested is the prevailing practice to perform with alien crewmembers may not, in fact, have been the prevailing practice at the particular port at the time of filing. Requests for such withdrawals shall be in writing and shall be directed to the Certifying Officer.

(2) Withdrawal of an attestation shall not affect an employer's liability with respect to any failure to meet the conditions attested to which took place before the withdrawal, or for misrepresentations in an attestation. However, if an employer has not yet performed the particular longshore activity(ies) at the port in question, the Administrator will not find reasonable cause to investigate unless it is alleged, and there is reasonable cause to believe, that the employer has made misrepresentations in the attestation or documentation thereof, or that the employer has not in fact given the notice attested to.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under Control No. 1205-0309)

[60 FR 3956, 3976, Jan. 19, 1995, as amended at 71 FR 35520, June 21, 2006]

§655.520   Special provisions regarding automated vessels.

In general, an attestation is not required in the case of a particular activity of longshore work consisting of the use of automated self-unloading conveyor belt or vacuum-actuated systems on a vessel. The legislation creates a rebuttable presumption that the use of alien crewmembers for the operation of such automated systems is the prevailing practice. In order to overcome such presumption, it must be shown by the preponderance of the evidence submitted by any interested party, that the use of alien crewmembers for such activity is not the prevailing practice. Longshore work involving the use of such equipment shall be exempt from the attestation requirement only if the activity consists of using that equipment. If the automated equipment is not used in the particular activity of longshore work, an attestation is required as described under §655.510 of this part if it is the prevailing practice in the port to use alien crewmembers for this work, except that in all cases, where an attestation is required for longshore work to be performed at a particular location in the State of Alaska, an employer shall file such attestation under the Alaska exception pursuant to §§655.530 through 655.541 on Form ETA 9033-A. When automated equipment is used in the particular activity of longshore work, an attestation is required only if the Administrator finds, based on a preponderance of the evidence which may be submitted by any interested party, that the performance of the particular activity of longshore work is not the prevailing practice at the port, or was during a strike or lockout or intended to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers in the local port, or if the Administrator issues a cease and desist order against use of the automated equipment without such attestation.

(a) Procedure when attestation is required. If it is determined pursuant to subpart G of this part that an attestation is required for longshore work consisting of the use of automated equipment at a location other than in the State of Alaska, the employer shall comply with all the requirements set forth at §655.510 of this part except paragraph (d) of §655.510. In lieu of complying with §655.510(d) of this part, the employer shall comply with paragraph (b) of this section. If it is determined pursuant to subpart G of this part that an attestation is required for longshore work consisting of the use of automated equipment at a particular location in the State of Alaska, the employer shall comply with all the requirements set forth at §§655.530 through 655.541 of this part.

(b) The first attestation element: prevailing practice for automated vessels. For an employer to be in compliance with the first attestation element, it is required to have been the prevailing practice that over fifty percent (as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section) of a particular activity of longshore work which was performed through the use of automated self-unloading conveyor belt or vacuum-actuated equipment at the particular port during the 12-month period preceding the filing of the attestation, was performed by alien crewmembers. For purposes of this paragraph (b), only automated vessels shall be included in counting the number of vessels which dock at the port.

(1) Establishing a prevailing practice. (i) In establishing that the use of alien crewmembers to perform a particular activity of longshore work consisting of the use of self-unloading conveyor belt or vacuum-actuated systems on a vessel is the prevailing practice at a particular port, an employer shall submit facts and evidence to show that in the 12-month period preceding the filing of the attestation, one of the following conditions existed:

(A) Over fifty percent of the automated vessels docking at the port used alien crewmembers for the activity (for purposes of this paragraph (b)(1), a vessel shall be counted each time it docks at the particular port); or

(B) Alien crewmembers made up over fifty percent of the workers who performed the activity with respect to such automated vessels.

(ii) Prevailing practice after Secretary of State determination of non-reciprocity. Section 258(d) of the Act provides a reciprocity exception (separate from the prevailing practice exception) to the prohibition on performance of longshore work by alien crewmembers in U.S. ports. However, this reciprocity exception becomes nonapplicable where the Secretary of State determines that, for a particular activity of longshore work, a particular country (by law, regulation, or practice) prohibits such activity by U.S. crewmembers in its ports. When the Secretary of State places a country on the non-reciprocity list (which means, for the purposes of this section, Prohibitions on longshore work by U.S. nationals; listing by country at 22 CFR 89.1), crewmembers on vessels from that country (that is, vessels that are registered in that country or vessels whose majority ownership interest is held by nationals of that country) are not permitted to perform longshore work in U.S. waters, absent applicability of some exception other than the reciprocity exception. The Secretary of State's determination has the following effects in the establishment of a prevailing practice for a particular longshore activity at a particular U.S. port for purposes of the prevailing practice exception.

(A) An employer from any country, other than the country which is placed on the non-reciprocity list, may include the longshore activities performed by alien crewmembers on all vessels in establishing the prevailing practice for a particular longshore activity in a particular port.

(B) An employer from a country which is placed on the non-reciprocity list may file an attestation for the prevailing practice exception under the standards and requirements established in this subpart F (except as provided in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(C) of this section), provided that the attestation is filed at least 12 months after the date on which the employer's country is placed on the list.

(C) An employer from a country which is placed on the non-reciprocity list may file an attestation pursuant to the prevailing practice exception earlier than 12 months from the date on which the employer's country is placed on the list, except that the following restrictions shall apply to such attestation:

(1) The employer shall submit facts and evidence to show that, for the 12-month period preceding the date of the attestation, the use of alien crewmembers to perform a particular activity of longshore work was permitted by the prevailing practice in the port (as defined in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section) without considering or including such activity by crewmembers on vessels from the employer's country; or

(2) The employer shall submit facts and evidence (including data on activities performed by crewmembers on vessels from the employer's country) to show that the use of alien crewmembers to perform a particular activity of longshore work was permitted by the prevailing practice in the port (as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section) for one of two periods—

(i) For the employer whose country has not previously been on the non-reciprocity list, the period is the continuous 12-month period prior to May 28, 1991 (the effective date of section 258 of the Act); or

(ii) For the employer whose country was at some time on the non-reciprocity list, but was subsequently removed from the non-reciprocity list and then restored to the non-reciprocity list (on one or more occasions), the period is the last continuous 12-month period during which the employer's country was not under the reciprocity exception (that is, was listed on the non-reciprocity list).

(2) Documentation. In assembling the documentation described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the employer may consult with the port authority which has jurisdiction over the local port, the collective bargaining representative(s) of longshore workers at the local port, other employers, or any other entity which is familiar with the practices at the port. The documentation shall include a written summary of a survey of the experience of shipmasters who entered the local port in the previous year; or a letter, affidavit, or other written statement from an appropriate local port authority regarding the use of alien crewmembers to perform the longshore activity at the port in the previous year; or other documentation of comparable weight. Written statements from collective bargaining representatives and/or shipping agents with direct knowledge of practices regarding the use of alien crewmembers may also be pertinent. Such documentation shall accompany the Form ETA 9033, and any underlying documentation which supports the employer's burden of proof shall be maintained in the employer's records at the office of the U.S. agent as required under §655.510(c)(1) of this part.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under Control No. 1205-0309)

Alaska Exception

§655.530   Special provisions regarding the performance of longshore activities at locations in the State of Alaska.

Applicability. Section §655.510 of this part shall not apply to longshore work performed at locations in the State of Alaska. The performance of longshore work by alien crewmembers at locations in the State of Alaska shall instead be governed by §§655.530 through 655.541. The use of alien crewmembers to perform longshore work in Alaska consisting of the use of an automated self-unloading conveyor belt or vacuum-actuated system on a vessel shall continue to be governed by the provisions of §655.520 of this part, except that, if the Administrator finds, based on a preponderance of the evidence which may be submitted by any interested party, that an attestation is required because the performance of the particular activity of longshore work is not the prevailing practice at the location in the State of Alaska, or was during a strike or lockout or intended to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers at that location, or if the Administrator issues a cease and desist order against use of the automated equipment without such an attestation, the required attestation shall be filed pursuant to the Alaska exception at §§655.530 through 655.541 and not the prevailing practice exception at §655.510.

§655.531   Who may submit attestations for locations in Alaska?

In order to use alien crewmembers to perform longshore activities at a particular location in the State of Alaska an employer shall submit an attestation on Form ETA 9033-A. As noted at §655.502, “Definitions,” for purposes of §§655.530 through 655.541, which govern the performance of longshore activities by alien crewmembers under the Alaska exception, “employer” includes any agent or representative designated by the employer. An employer may file a single attestation for multiple locations in the State of Alaska.

§655.532   Where and when should attestations be submitted for locations in Alaska?

(a) Attestations shall be submitted, by U.S. mail, private carrier, or facsimile transmission to the U.S. Department of Labor regional office of the Employment and Training Administration in Seattle, Washington. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, attestations shall be received and date-stamped by the Department at least 30 calendar days prior to the date of the first performance of the longshore activity. The attestation shall be accepted for filing or returned by ETA in accordance with §655.538 within 14 calendar days of the date received by ETA. An attestation which is accepted by ETA solely because it was not reviewed within 14 days is subject to subsequent invalidation pursuant to §655.540 of this part. An employer filing an attestation shall have an agent or representative with a United States address. Such address shall be clearly indicated on the Form ETA 9033-A. In order to ensure that an attestation has been accepted for filing prior to the date of the first performance of the longshore activity, employers are advised to take mailing time into account to make sure that ETA receives the attestation at least 30 days prior to the first performance of the longshore activity.

(b) Late filings. ETA may accept for filing attestations received after the 30-day deadline where the employer could not have reasonably anticipated the need to file an attestation for the particular location at that time. When an employer states that it could not have reasonably anticipated the need to file the attestation at that time, it shall submit documentation to ETA to support such a claim. ETA shall then make a determination on the validity of the claim and shall accept the attestation for filing or return it in accordance with §655.538 of this part. ETA in no case shall accept an attestation received less than 24 hours prior to the first performance of the activity.

§655.533   What should be submitted for locations in Alaska?

(a) Form ETA 9033-A with accompanying documentation. A completed and dated original Form ETA 9033-A, or facsimile transmission thereof, containing the required attestation elements and the original signature of the employer or the employer's agent or designated representative, along with two copies of the completed, signed, and dated Form ETA 9033-A shall be submitted to ETA. (If the attestation is submitted by facsimile transmission, the attestation containing the original signature shall be maintained at the U.S. business address of the employer's designated agent or representative). Copies of Form ETA 9033-A are available at the National Processing Centers and at the National office. In addition, the employer shall submit two sets of facts and evidence to show compliance with the fourth attestation element at §655.537 of this part. In the case of an investigation pursuant to subpart G of this part, the employer has the burden of proof to establish the validity of each attestation. The employer shall maintain in its records at the office of its U.S. agent, for a period of at least 3 years from the date of filing, sufficient documentation to meet its burden of proof, which shall at a minimum include the documentation described in §§655.530 through 655.541, and shall make the documents available to Department of Labor officials upon request. Whenever any document is submitted to a Federal agency or retained in the employer's records pursuant to this part, the document shall either be in the English language or shall be accompanied by a written translation into the English language certified by the translator as to the accuracy of the translation and his/her competency to translate.

(b) Attestation elements. The attestation elements referenced in §§655.534 through 655.537 of this part are mandated by Sec. 258(d)(1) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1288(d)(1)). Section 258(d)(1) of the Act requires employers who seek to have alien crewmembers engage in longshore activity at locations in the State of Alaska to attest as follows:

(1) The employer will make a bona fide request for United States longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers to perform the activity at the particular time and location from the parties to whom notice has been provided under §655.537(a)(1) (ii) and (iii), except that:

(i) Wherever two or more contract stevedoring companies have signed a joint collective bargaining agreement with a single labor organization recognized as an exclusive bargaining representative of United States longshore workers within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 141 et seq.), the employer may request longshore workers from only one such contract stevedoring company, and

(ii) A request for longshore workers to an operator of a private dock may be made only for longshore work to be performed at that dock and only if the operator meets the requirements of section 32 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 932);

(2) The employer will employ all United States longshore workers made available in response to the request made pursuant to §655.534(a)(1) who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers and who are needed to perform the longshore activity at the particular time and location to which the employer has attested;

(3) The use of alien crewmembers for such activity is not intended or designed to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers in the State of Alaska; and

(4) Notice of the attestation has been provided to:

(i) Labor organizations which have been recognized as exclusive bargaining representatives of United States longshore workers within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 141 et seq.) and which make available or intend to make available workers to the particular location where the longshore work is to be performed;

(ii) Contract stevedoring companies which employ or intend to employ United States longshore workers at that location; and

(iii) Operators of private docks at which the employer will use longshore workers.

[60 FR 3956, 3976, Jan. 19, 1995, as amended at 71 FR 35520, June 21, 2006]

§655.534   The first attestation element for locations in Alaska: Bona fide request for dispatch of United States longshore workers.

(a) The first attestation element shall be satisfied when the employer signs Form ETA 9033-A, attesting that, before using alien crewmembers to perform longshore work during the validity period of the attestation, the employer will make a bona fide request for United States longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers to perform the specified longshore activity from the parties to whom notice is provided under §655.537(a)(1) (ii) and (iii). Although an employer is required to provide notification of filing to labor organizations recognized as exclusive bargaining representatives of United States longshore workers pursuant to §655.537(a)(1)(i) of this part, an employer need not request dispatch of United States longshore workers directly from such parties. The requests for dispatch of United States longshore workers pursuant to this section shall be directed to contract stevedoring companies which employ or intend to employ United States longshore workers at that location, and to operators of private docks at which the employer will use longshore workers. An employer is not required to request dispatch of United States longshore workers from private dock operators or contract stevedoring companies which do not meet the requirements of section 32 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 932) or, in the case of contract stevedoring companies, which are not licensed to do business in the State of Alaska.

(1) Wherever two or more contract stevedoring companies have signed a joint collective bargaining agreement with a single qualified labor organization, the employer may request longshore workers from only one of such contract stevedoring companies. A qualified labor organization is one which has been recognized as an exclusive bargaining representative of United States longshore workers within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 141 et seq.) and which makes available or intends to make available workers to the particular location where the longshore work is to be performed.

(2) A request for longshore workers to an operator of a private dock may be made only for longshore work to be performed at that dock.

(3) An employer shall not be required to request longshore workers from a party if that party has notified the employer in writing that it does not intend to make available United States longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers to the time and location at which the longshore work is to be performed.

(4) A party that has provided such written notice to the employer under paragraph (a)(3) of this section may subsequently notify the employer in writing that it is prepared to make available United States longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers to perform the longshore activity at the time and location where the longshore work is to be performed. In that event, the employer's obligations to that party under §§655.534 and 655.535 of this part shall recommence 60 days after its receipt of such notice.

(5) When a party has provided written notice to the employer under paragraph (a)(3) of this section that it does not intend to dispatch United States longshore workers to perform the longshore work attested to by the employer, such notice shall expire upon the earliest of the following events:

(i) When the terms of such notice specify an expiration date at which time the employer's obligation to that party under §§655.534 and 655.535 of this part shall recommence;

(ii) When retracted pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) of this section; or

(iii) Upon the expiration of the validity of the attestation.

(b) Documentation. To substantiate the requirement in paragraph (a) of this section, an employer shall develop and maintain documentation to meet the employer's burden of proof under the first attestation element. The employer shall retain records of all requests for dispatch of United States longshore workers to perform the longshore work attested to. Such documentation shall consist of letters, telephone logs, facsimiles or other memoranda to show that, before using alien crewmembers to perform longshore work, the employer made a bona fide request for United States longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers to perform the longshore activity. At a minimum, such documentation shall include the date the request was made, the name and telephone number of the particular individual(s) to whom the request for dispatch was directed, and the number and composition of full work units requested. Further, whenever any party has provided written notice to the employer under paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the employer shall retain the notice for the period of time specified in §655.533 of this part, and, if appropriate, any subsequent notice by that party that it is prepared to make available United States longshore workers at the times and locations attested to.

§655.535   The second attestation element for locations in Alaska: Employment of United States longshore workers.

(a) The second attestation element shall be satisfied when the employer signs Form ETA 9033-A, attesting that during the validity period of the attestation, the employer will employ all United States longshore workers made available in response to the request for dispatch who, in compliance with applicable industry standards in the State of Alaska, including safety considerations, are qualified and available in sufficient numbers and are needed to perform the longshore activity at the particular time and location attested to.

(1) In no case shall an employer filing an attestation be required to hire less than a full work unit of United States longshore workers needed to perform the longshore activity nor be required to provide overnight accommodations for the longshore workers while employed. For purposes of this section, “full work unit” means the full complement of longshore workers needed to perform the longshore activity, as determined by industry standards in the State of Alaska, including safety considerations. Where the makeup of a full work unit is covered by one or more collective bargaining agreements in effect at the time and location where longshore work is to be performed, the provisions of such agreement(s) shall be deemed to be in conformance with industry standards in the State of Alaska.

(2) In no case shall an employer be required to provide transportation to the vessel where the longshore work is to be performed, except where:

(i) Surface transportation is available; for purposes of this section, “surface transportation” means a tugboat or other vessel which is appropriately insured, operated by licensed personnel, and capable of safely transporting U.S. longshore workers from shore to a vessel on which longshore work is to be performed;

(ii) Such transportation may be safely accomplished; and

(iii)(A) Travel time to the vessel does not exceed one-half hour each way; and

(B) Travel distance to the vessel from the point of embarkation does not exceed 5 miles; for purposes of this section, “point of embarkation” means a dock or landing at which U.S. longshore workers may be safely boarded for transport from shore to a vessel on which longshore work is to be performed; or

(C) In the cases of Wide Bay, Alaska, and Klawock/Craig, Alaska, travel time does not exceed 45 minutes each way and travel distance to the vessel from the point of embarkation does not exceed 7.5 miles, unless the party responding to the request for dispatch agrees to lesser time and distance specifications.

(3) If a United States longshore worker is capable of getting to and from the vessel where longshore work is to be performed when the vessel is beyond the time and distance limitations specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section, and where all of the other criteria governing the employment of United States longshore workers under this subpart are met (e.g., “qualified and available in sufficient numbers”), the employer is still obligated to employ the worker to perform the longshore activity. In such instance, however, the employer shall not be required to provide such transportation nor to reimburse the longshore worker for the cost incurred in transport to and from the vessel.

(4) Where an employer is required to provide transportation to the vessel because it is within the time and distance limitations specified in (a)(2)(iii) of this section, the employer also shall be required to provide return transportation to the point of embarkation.

(b) Documentation. To substantiate the requirement in paragraph (a) of this section, an employer shall develop and maintain documentation to meet the employer's burden of proof. Such documentation shall include records of payments to contract stevedoring companies or private dock operators, payroll records for United States longshore workers employed, or other documentation to show clearly that the employer has met its obligation to employ all United States longshore workers made available in response to a request for dispatch who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers. The documentation shall specify the number of full work units employed pursuant to this section, the composition of such full work units (i.e., number of workers by job title), and the date(s) and location(s) where the longshore work was performed. The employer also shall develop and maintain documentation concerning the provision of transportation from the point of embarkation to the vessel on which longshore work is to be performed. Each time one or more United States longshore workers are dispatched in response to the request under §655.534, the employer shall retain a written record of whether transportation to the vessel was provided and the time and distance from the point of embarkation to the vessel.

§655.536   The third attestation element for locations in Alaska: No intention or design to influence bargaining representative election.

(a) The employer shall attest that use of alien crewmembers to perform the longshore activity specified on the Form ETA 9033-A is not intended or designed to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers in the State of Alaska.

(b) Documentation. The employer need not develop nor maintain documentation to substantiate the statement referenced in paragraph (a) of this section. In the case of an investigation, however, the employer has the burden of proof to show that the use of alien crewmembers to perform the longshore activity specified on the Form ETA 9033-A was not intended nor designed to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers in the State of Alaska.

§655.537   The fourth attestation element for locations in Alaska: Notice of filing.

(a)(1) The employer shall attest that at the time of filing the attestation, notice of filing has been provided to:

(i) Labor organizations which have been recognized as exclusive bargaining representatives of United States longshore workers within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 141 et seq.) and which make available or intend to make available workers to the particular location where the longshore work is to be performed;

(ii) Contract stevedoring companies which employ or intend to employ United States longshore workers at the location where the longshore work is to be performed; and

(iii) Operators of private docks at which the employer will use longshore workers.

(2) The notices provided under paragraph (a)(1) of this section shall include a copy of the Form ETA 9033-A to be submitted to ETA, shall provide information concerning the availability of supporting documents for public examination at the national office of ETA, and shall include the following statement: “Complaints alleging a misrepresentation of material facts in the attestation and/or failure to comply with the terms of the attestation may be filed with any office of the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.”

(b) The employer shall request a copy of the Certificate of Compliance issued by the district director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs under section 37 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 932) from the parties to whom notice is provided pursuant to paragraphs (a)(1) (ii) and (iii) of this section. An employer's obligation to make a bona fide request for dispatch of U.S. longshore workers under §655.534 of this part before using alien crewmembers to perform the longshore work attested to shall commence upon receipt of the copy of the Certificate of Compliance.

(c) Documentation. The employer shall develop and maintain documentation sufficient to meet its burden of proving the validity of the statement referenced in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section and attested to on the Form ETA 9033-A. Such documentation shall include a copy of the notices provided, as required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and shall be submitted to ETA along with the Form ETA 9033-A.

§655.538   Actions on attestations submitted for filing for locations in Alaska.

Once an attestation has been received from an employer, a determination shall be made by the Certifying Officer whether to accept the attestation for filing or return it. The Certifying Officer may request additional explanation and/or documentation from the employer in making this determination. An attestation which is properly filled out and which includes accompanying documentation for the requirement set forth at §655.537 of this part shall be accepted for filing by ETA on the date it is signed by the Certifying Officer unless it falls within one of the categories set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. Once an attestation is accepted for filing, ETA shall then follow the procedures set forth in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. Upon acceptance of the employer's attestation by ETA, the attestation and accompanying documentation shall be forwarded to and be available for public examination at the ETA national office in a timely manner. ETA shall not consider information contesting an attestation received by ETA prior to the determination to accept or return the attestation for filing. Such information shall not be made a part of ETA's administrative record on the attestation, but shall be referred to ESA to be processed as a complaint pursuant to subpart G of this part if the attestation is accepted by ETA for filing.

(a) Acceptance. (1) If the attestation is properly filled out and includes accompanying documentation for the requirement set forth at §655.537, and does not fall within one of the categories set forth at paragraph (b) of this section, ETA shall accept the attestation for filing, provide notification to the DHS office having jurisdiction over the location where longshore work will be performed, and return to the employer, or the employer's agent or representative at a U.S. address, one copy of the attestation form submitted by the employer, with ETA's acceptance indicated thereon. Before using alien crewmembers to perform the longshore work attested to on Form ETA 9033-A, the employer shall make a bona fide request for and employ United States longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers pursuant to §§655.534 and 655.535. Where such a request for dispatch of United States longshore workers is unsuccessful, either in whole or in part, any use of alien crewmembers to perform longshore activity shall be in accordance with DHS regulations.

(2) DOL is not the guarantor of the accuracy, truthfulness or adequacy of an attestation accepted for filing.

(b) Unacceptable attestations. ETA shall not accept an attestation for filing and shall return such attestation to the employer, or the employer's agent or representative at a U.S. address, when any one of the following conditions exists:

(1) When the Form ETA 9033-A is not properly filled out. Examples of improperly filled out Form ETA 9033-A's include instances where the employer has neglected to check all the necessary boxes, where the employer has failed to include the name of any port, city, or other geographical reference point where longshore work is to be performed, or where the employer has failed to sign the attestation or to designate an agent in the United States.

(2) When the Form ETA 9033-A with accompanying documentation is not received by ETA at least 30 days prior to the first performance of the longshore activity, unless the employer is claiming that it could not have reasonably anticipated the need to file the attestation for that location at that time, and has included documentation which supports this contention, and ETA has found the claim to be valid.

(3) When the Form ETA 9033-A does not include accompanying documentation for the requirement set forth at §655.537.

(4) When the accompanying documentation submitted by the employer and required by §655.537, on its face, is inconsistent with that section. Examples of such a situation include an instance where the Form ETA 9033-A indicates that the longshore work will be performed at a particular private dock and the documentation required under the notice attestation element indicates that notice was provided to an operator of a different private dock, or where the longshore work is to be performed at a particular time and location in the State of Alaska and the notice of filing provided to qualified labor organizations and contract stevedoring companies indicates that the longshore work is to be performed at a different time and/or location.

(5) When the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, has notified ETA, in writing, after an investigation pursuant to subpart G of this part, that a cease and desist order has been issued pursuant to subpart G of this part, with respect to the attesting employer's performance of longshore work at a particular location in the State of Alaska, in violation of a previously accepted attestation.

(6) When the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, has notified ETA, in writing, after an investigation pursuant to subpart G of this part, that the particular employer has misrepresented or failed to comply with an attestation previously submitted and accepted for filing, but in no case for a period of more than one year after the date of the Administrator's notice and provided that DHS has not advised ETA that the prohibition is in effect for a lesser period.

(7) When the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, has notified ETA, in writing, that the employer has failed to comply with any penalty, sanction, or other remedy assessed in a final agency action following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division pursuant to subpart G of this part.

(c) Resubmission. If the attestation is not accepted for filing pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, ETA shall return to the employer, or the employer's agent or representative, at a U.S. address, the attestation form and accompanying documentation submitted by the employer. ETA shall notify the employer, in writing, of the reason(s) that the attestation is unacceptable. When an attestation is found to be unacceptable pursuant to paragraph (b) (1), (2), (3), or (4) of this section, the employer may resubmit the corrected attestation with the proper documentation. When an attestation is found to be unacceptable pursuant to paragraph (b) (5), (6), or (7) of this section and returned, such action shall be the final decision of the Secretary of Labor.

§655.539   Effective date and validity of filed attestations for locations in Alaska.

An attestation is filed and effective as of the date it is accepted and signed by the Certifying Officer. Such attestation is valid for the 12-month period beginning on the date of acceptance for filing, unless suspended or invalidated pursuant to §655.540 of this part. The filed attestation expires at the end of the 12-month period of validity.

§655.540   Suspension or invalidation of filed attestations for locations in Alaska.

Suspension or invalidation of an attestation may result from enforcement action(s) under subpart G of this part (i.e., investigation(s) conducted by the Administrator or cease and desist order(s) issued by the Administrator regarding the employer's misrepresentation in or failure to carry out its attestation); or from a discovery by ETA that it made an error in accepting the attestation because such attestation falls within one of the categories set forth in §655.538(b).

(a) Result of Wage and Hour Division action. Upon the determination of a violation under subpart G of this part, the Administrator shall, pursuant to §655.665(b), notify the DHS of the violation and of the Administrator's notice to ETA.

(b) Result of ETA action. If, after accepting an attestation for filing, ETA finds that the attestation is unacceptable because it falls within one of the categories set forth at §655.538(b) and, as a result, ETA suspends or invalidates the attestation, ETA shall notify the DHS of such suspension or invalidation and shall return a copy of the attestation form to the employer, or the employer's agent or representative at a U.S. address. ETA shall notify the employer, in writing, of the reason(s) that the attestation is suspended or invalidated.

§655.541   Withdrawal of accepted attestations for locations in Alaska.

(a) An employer who has submitted an attestation which has been accepted for filing may withdraw such attestation at any time before the 12-month period of its validity terminates, unless the Administrator has found reasonable cause under subpart G to commence an investigation of the particular attestation. Such withdrawal may be advisable, for example, when the employer learns that the country in which the vessel is registered and of which nationals of such country hold a majority of the ownership interest in the vessel has been removed from the non-reciprocity list (which means, for purposes of this section, Prohibitions on longshore work by U.S. nationals; listing by country at 22 CFR 89.1). In that event, an attestation would no longer be required under subpart F of this part, since upon being removed from the non-reciprocity list the performance of longshore work by alien crewmembers would be permitted under the reciprocity exception at sec. 258(e) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1288(e)). Requests for withdrawals shall be in writing and shall be directed to the Certifying Officer.

(b) Withdrawal of an attestation shall not affect an employer's liability with respect to any failure to meet the conditions attested to which took place before the withdrawal, or for misrepresentations in an attestation. However, if an employer has not yet performed the longshore activities at the location(s) in question, the Administrator shall not find reasonable cause to investigate unless it is alleged, and there is reasonable cause to believe, that the employer has made misrepresentations in the attestation or documentation thereof, or that the employer has not in fact given the notice attested to.

Public Access

§655.550   Public access.

(a) Public examination at ETA. ETA shall make available for public examination in Washington, DC, a list of employers which have filed attestations under this subpart, and for each such employer, a copy of the employer's attestation and accompanying documentation it has received.

(b) Notice to public. ETA periodically shall publish a list in the Federal Register identifying under this subpart employers which have submitted attestations; employers which have attestations on file; and employers which have submitted attestations which have been found unacceptable for filing.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under Control No. 1205-0309)

Appendix A to Subpart F of Part 655—U.S. Seaports

The list of 224 seaports includes all major and most smaller ports serving ocean and Great Lakes commerce.

North Atlantic Range

Bucksport, ME   Paulsboro, NJ
Eastport, ME   Chester, PA
Portland, ME   Marcus Hook, PA
Searsport, ME   Philadelphia, PA
Portsmouth, NH   Delaware City, DE
Boston, MA   Wilmington, DE
Fall River, MA   Baltimore, MD
New Bedford, MA   Cambridge, MD
Providence, RI   Alexandria, VA
Bridgeport, CT   Chesapeake, VA
New Haven, CT   Hopewell, VA
New London, CT   Newport News, VA
Albany, NY   Norfolk, VA
New York, NY/NJ   Portsmouth, VA
Camden, NJ   Richmond, VA
Gloucester City, NJ 

South Atlantic Range

Morehead City, NC   Riviera, FL
Southport, NC   Aguadilla, PR
Wilmington, NC   Ceiba, PR
Charleston, SC   Guanica, PR
Georgetown, SC   Guayanilla, PR
Port Royal, SC   Humacao, PR
Brunswick, GA   Jobos, PR
Savannah, GA   Mayaguez, PR
St. Mary, GA   Ponce, PR
Cocoa, FL   San Juan, PR
Fernandina Beach, FL   Vieques, PR
Fort Lauderdale, FL   Yabucoa, PR
Fort Pierce, FL   Alucroix, VI
Jacksonville, FL   Charlotte Amalie, VI
Miami, FL   Christiansted, VI
Palm Beach, FL   Frederiksted, VI
Port Canaveral, FL   Limetree Bay, VI
Port Everglades, FL 

North Pacific Range

Astoria, OR   Friday Harbor, WA
Bandon, OR   Grays Harbor, WA
Columbia City, OR   Kalama, WA
Coos Bay, OR   Longview, WA
Mapleton, OR   Olympia, WA
Newport, OR   Point Wells, WA
Portland, OR   Portage, WA
Rainier, OR   Port Angeles, WA
Reedsport, OR   Port Gamble, WA
St. Helens, OR   Port Townsend, WA
Toledo, OR   Raymond, WA
Anacortes, WA   Seattle, WA
Bellingham, WA   Tacoma, WA
Edmonds (Edwards Point), WA   Vancouver, WA
Everett, WA   Willapa Harbor, WA
Ferndale, WA   Winslow, WA

Great Lakes Range

Duluth, MN   Saginaw, MI
Silver Bay, MN   Sault Ste Marie, MI
Green Bay, WI   Chicago, IL
Kenosha, WI   Ashtabula, OH
Manitowoc, WI   Cincinnati, OH
Milwaukee, WI   Cleveland, OH
Sheboygan, WI   Conneaut, OH
Superior, WI   Fairport, OH
Alpena, MI   Huron, OH
Bay City, MI   Lorain, OH
Detroit, MI   Sandusky, OH
De Tour Village, MI   Toledo, OH
Essexville, MI   Erie, PA
Ferrysburg, MI   Buffalo, NY
Grand Haven, MI   Odgensburg, NY
Marine City, MI   Oswego, NY
Muskegon, MI   Rochester, NY
Port Huron, MI   Burns Harbor, IN
Presque Isle, MI   E. Chicago, IN
Rogers City, MI   Gary, IN

Gulf Coast Range

Panama City, FL   Brownsville, TX
Pensacola, FL   Corpus Christi, TX
Port Manatee, FL   Freeport, TX
Port St. Joe, FL   Galveston, TX
Tampa, FL   Harbor Island, TX
Mobile, AL   Houston, TX
Gulfport, MS   Orange, TX
Pascagoula, MS   Port Arthur, TX
Baton Rouge, LA   Port Isabel, TX
Gretna, LA   Port Lavaca, TX
Lake Charles, LA   Port Neches, TX
Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, LA   Sabine, TX
New Orleans, LA   Texas City, TX
Beaumont, TX 

South Pacific Range

Alameda, CA   Port Hueneme, CA
Antioch, CA   Port San Luis, CA
Benicia, CA   Redwood City, CA
Carlsbad, CA   Richmond, CA
Carpinteria, CA   Sacramento, CA
Crockett, CA   San Diego, CA
El Segundo, CA   San Francisco, CA
Eureka, CA   Selby, CA
Estero Bay, CA   Stockton, CA
Gaviota, CA   Vallejo, CA
Huntington Beach, CA   Ventura, CA
Long Beach, CA   Barbers Point, HI
Los Angeles, CA   Hilo, HI
Mandalay Beach, CA   Honolulu, HI
Martinez, CA   Kahului, HI
Moss Landing, CA   Kaunakakai, HI
Oakland, CA   Kawaihae, HI
Pittsburg, CA   Nawiliwili, HI
Port Costa, CA   Port Allen, HI

Subpart G—Enforcement of the Limitations Imposed on Employers Using Alien Crewmembers for Longshore Activities in U.S. Ports

Source: 60 FR 3969, 3977, Jan. 19, 1995, unless otherwise noted.

§655.600   Enforcement authority of Administrator, Wage and Hour Division.

(a) The Administrator shall perform all the Secretary's investigative and enforcement functions under section 258 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1288) and subparts F and G of this part.

(b) The Administrator, pursuant to a complaint, shall conduct such investigations as may be appropriate and, in connection therewith, enter and inspect such places and such records (and make transcriptions or copies thereof), question such persons and gather such information as deemed necessary by the Administrator to determine compliance regarding the matters which are the subject of the investigation.

(c) An employer being investigated shall make available to the Administrator such records, information, persons, and places as the Administrator deems appropriate to copy, transcribe, question, or inspect. No employer subject to the provisions of section 258 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1288) and subparts F and G of this part shall interfere with any official of the Department of Labor performing an investigation, inspection or law enforcement function pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1288 or subpart F or G of this part. Any such interference shall be a violation of the attestation and subparts F and G of this part, and the Administrator may take such further actions as the Administrator considers appropriate. (Note: Federal criminal statutes prohibit certain interference with a Federal officer in the performance of official duties. 18 U.S.C. 111 and 18 U.S.C. 1114.)

(d)(1) An employer subject to subparts F and G of this part shall at all times cooperate in administrative and enforcement proceedings. No employer shall intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, retaliate, or in any manner discriminate against any person because such person has:

(i) Filed a complaint or appeal under or related to section 258 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1288) or subpart F or G of this part;

(ii) Testified or is about to testify in any proceeding under or related to section 258 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1288) or subpart F or G of this part;

(iii) Exercised or asserted on behalf of himself or herself or others any right or protection afforded by section 258 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1288) or subpart F or G of this part.

(iv) Consulted with an employee of a legal assistance program or an attorney on matters related to section 258 of the Act or to subpart F or G of this part or any other DOL regulation promulgated pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1288.

(2) In the event of such intimidation or restraint as are described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the conduct shall be a violation of the attestation and subparts F and G of this part, and the Administrator may take such further actions as the Administrator considers appropriate.

(e) The Administrator shall, to the extent possible under existing law, protect the confidentiality of any person who provides information to the Department in confidence in the course of an investigation or otherwise under subpart F or G of this part. However, confidentiality will not be afforded to the complainant or to information provided by the complainant.

§655.605   Complaints and investigative procedures.

(a) The Administrator, through an investigation, shall determine whether a basis exists to make a finding that:

(1) An attesting employer has—

(i) Failed to meet conditions attested to; or

(ii) Misrepresented a material fact in an attestation.

(Note: Federal criminal statutes provide penalties of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years for knowing and willful submission of false statements to the Federal Government. 18 U.S.C. 1001; see also 18 U.S.C. 1546.); or

(2) In the case of an employer operating under the automated vessel exception to the prohibition on utilizing alien crewmembers to perform longshore activity(ies) at a U.S. port, the employer—

(i) Is utilizing alien crewmember(s) to perform longshore activity(ies) at a port where the prevailing practice has not been to use such workers for such activity(ies); or

(ii) Is utilizing alien crewmember(s) to perform longshore activities:

(A) During a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute at the U.S. port; and/or

(B) With intent or design to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers at the U.S. port; or

(3) An employer failed to comply in any other manner with the provisions of subpart F or G of this part.

(b) Any aggrieved person or organization may file a complaint of a violation of the provisions of subpart F or G of this part.

(1) No particular form of complaint is required, except that the complaint shall be written or, if oral, shall be reduced to writing by the Wage and Hour Division official who receives the complaint.

(2) The complaint shall set forth sufficient facts for the Administrator to determine—

(i) Whether, in the case of an attesting employer, there is reasonable cause to believe that particular part or parts of the attestation or regulations have been violated; or

(ii) Whether, in the case of an employer claiming the automated vessel exception, the preponderance of the evidence submitted by any interested party shows that conditions exist that would require the employer to file an attestation.

(3) The complaint may be submitted to any local Wage and Hour Division office; the addresses of such offices are found in local telephone directories. The office or person receiving such a complaint shall refer it to the office of the Wage and Hour Division administering the area in which the reported violation is alleged to have occurred.

(c) The Administrator shall determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the complaint warrants investigation. If the Administrator determines that the complaint fails to present reasonable cause for an investigation, the Administrator shall so notify the complainant, who may submit a new complaint, with such additional information as may be necessary. There shall be no hearing pursuant to §655.625 for the Administrator's determination not to conduct an investigation. If the Administrator determines that an investigation on the complaint is warranted, the investigation shall be conducted and a determination issued within 180 calendar days of the Administrator's receipt of the complaint, or later for good cause shown.

(d) In conducting an investigation, the Administrator may consider and make part of the investigation file any evidence or materials that have been compiled in any previous investigation regarding the same or a closely related matter.

(e) In conducting an investigation under an attestation, the Administrator shall take into consideration the employer's burden to provide facts and evidence to establish the matters asserted. In conducting an investigation regarding an employer's eligibility for the automated vessel exception, the Administrator shall not impose the burden of proof on the employer, but shall consider all evidence from any interested party in determining whether the employer is not eligible for the exception.

(f) In an investigation regarding the use of alien crewmembers to perform longshore activity(ies) in a U.S. port (whether by an attesting employer or by an employer claiming the automated vessel exception), the Administrator shall accept as conclusive proof a previous Departmental determination, published in the Federal Register pursuant to §655.670, establishing that such use of alien crewmembers is not the prevailing practice for the activity(ies) and U.S. port at issue. The Administrator shall give appropriate weight to a previous Departmental determination published in the Federal Register pursuant to §655.670, establishing that at the time of such determination, such use of alien crewmembers was the prevailing practice for the activity(ies) and U.S. port at issue.

(g) When an investigation has been conducted, the Administrator shall, within the time period specified in paragraph (c) of this section, issue a written determination as to whether a basis exists to make a finding stated in paragraph (a) of this section. The determination shall be issued and an opportunity for a hearing shall be afforded in accordance with the procedures specified in §655.625(d) of this part.

§655.610   Automated vessel exception to prohibition on utilization of alien crewmember(s) to perform longshore activity(ies) at a U.S. port.

(a) The Act establishes a rebuttable presumption that the prevailing practice in U.S. ports is for automated vessels (i.e., vessels equipped with automated self- unloading conveyor belts or vacuum-actuated systems) to use alien crewmembers to perform longshore activity(ies) through the use of the self-unloading equipment. An employer claiming the automated vessel exception does not have the burden of establishing eligibility for the exception.

(b) In the event of a complaint asserting that an employer claiming the automated vessel exception is not eligible for such exception, the Administrator shall determine whether the preponderance of the evidence submitted by any interested party shows that:

(1) It is not the prevailing practice at the U.S. port to use alien crewmember(s) to perform the longshore activity(ies) through the use of the self-unloading equipment; or

(2) The employer is using alien crewmembers to perform longshore activity(ies)—

(i) During a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute at the U.S. port; and/or

(ii) With intent or design to influence an election of a bargaining representative for workers at the U.S. port.

(c) In making the prevailing practice determination required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the Administrator shall determine whether, in the 12-month period preceding the date of the Administrator's receipt of the complaint, one of the following conditions existed:

(1) Over fifty percent of the automated vessels docking at the port used alien crewmembers for the activity (for purposes of this paragraph (c)(1) of this section, a vessel shall be counted each time it docks at the particular port); or

(2) Alien crewmembers made up over fifty percent of the workers who performed the activity with respect to such automated vessels.

(d) An interested party, complaining that the automated vessel exception is not applicable to a particular employer, shall provide to the Administrator evidence such as:

(1) A written summary of a survey of the experience of masters of automated vessels which entered the local port in the previous year, describing the practice in the port as to the use of alien crewmembers;

(2) A letter, affidavit, or other written statement from an appropriate local port authority regarding the use of alien crewmembers to perform the longshore activity at the port in the previous year;

(3) Written statements from collective bargaining representatives and/or shipping agents with direct knowledge of practices regarding the use of alien crewmembers at the port in the previous year.

§655.615   Cease and desist order.

(a) If the Administrator determines that reasonable cause exists to conduct an investigation with respect to an attestation, the complainant may request that the Administrator enter a cease and desist order against the employer against whom the complaint is lodged.

(1) The request for a cease and desist order may be filed along with the complaint, or may be filed subsequently. The request, including all accompanying documents, shall be filed in duplicate with the same Wage and Hour Division office that received the complaint.

(2) No particular form is prescribed for a request for a cease and desist order pursuant to this paragraph (a). However, any such request shall:

(i) Be dated;

(ii) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(iii) Specify the attestation provision(s) with respect to which the employer allegedly failed to comply and/or submitted misrepresentation(s) of material fact(s);

(iv) Be accompanied by evidence to substantiate the allegation(s) of noncompliance and/or misrepresentation;

(v) Be signed by the complaining party making the request or by the authorized representative of such party;

(vi) Include the address at which such complaining party or authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto.

(3) Upon receipt of a request for a cease and desist order, the Administrator shall promptly notify the employer of the request. The Administrator's notice shall:

(i) Inform the employer that it may respond to the request and meet with a Wage and Hour Division official within 14 calendar days of the date of the notice;

(ii) Be served upon the employer by facsimile transmission, in person, or by certified or regular mail, at the address of the U.S. agent stated on the employer's attestation;

(iii) Be accompanied by copies of the complaint, the request for a cease and desist order, the evidence submitted by the complainant, and any evidence from other investigation(s) of the same or a closely related matter which the Administrator may incorporate into the record. (Any such evidence from other investigation(s) shall also be made available for examination by the complaining party at the Wage and Hour Division office which issued the notice.)

(4) No particular form is prescribed for the employer's response to the complaining party's request for a cease and desist order under this paragraph (a), however, any such response shall:

(i) Be dated;

(ii) Be submitted by facsimile transmission, in person, by certified or regular mail, or by courier service to the Wage and Hour Division office which issued the notice of the request;

(iii) Be received by the appropriate Wage and Hour Division office no later than 14 calendar days from the date of the notice of the request;

(iv) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(v) Explain, in any detail desired by the employer, the employer's grounds or reasons as to why the Administrator should deny the requested cease and desist order;

(vi) Be accompanied by evidence to substantiate the employer's grounds or reasons as to why the Administrator should deny the requested cease and desist order;

(vii) Specify whether the employer desires an informal meeting with a Wage and Hour Division official;

(viii) Be signed by the employer or its authorized representative; and

(ix) Include the address at which the employer or its authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto, if such address is different from the address of the U.S. agent stated on the attestation.

(5) In the event the employer requests a meeting with a Wage and Hour Division official, the Administrator shall provide the employer and the complaining party, or their authorized representatives, an opportunity for such a meeting to present their views regarding the evidence and arguments submitted by the parties. This shall be an informal meeting, not subject to any procedural rules. The meeting shall be held within the 14 calendar days permitted for the employer's response to the request for the cease and desist order, and shall be held at a time and place set by the Wage and Hour Division official, who shall notify the parties.

(6) After receipt of the employer's timely response and after any informal meeting which may have been held with the parties, the Administrator shall promptly issue a written determination, either denying the request or issuing a cease and desist order. In making the determination, the Administrator shall consider all the evidence submitted, including any evidence from the same or a closely related matter which the Administrator has incorporated into the record and provided to the employer. If the Administrator determines that the complaining party's position is supported by a preponderance of the evidence submitted, the Administrator shall order that the employer cease the activities specified in the determination, until the completion of the Administrator's investigation and any subsequent proceedings pursuant to §655.625 of this part, unless the prohibition is lifted by subsequent order of the Administrator because it is later determined that the employer's position was correct. While the cease and desist order is in effect, ETA shall suspend the subject attestation, either in whole or in part, and shall not accept any subsequent attestation from the employer for the activity(ies) and U.S. port or location in the State of Alaska at issue.

(7) The Administrator's cease and desist order shall be served on the employer at the address of its designated U.S. based representative or at the address specified in the employer's response, by facsimile transmission, personal service, or certified mail.

(b) If the Administrator determines that reasonable cause exists to conduct an investigation with respect to a complaint that a non-attesting employer is not entitled to the automated vessel exception to the requirement for the filing of an attestation, a complaining party may request that the Administrator enter a cease and desist order against the employer against whom the complaint is lodged.

(1) The request for a cease and desist order may be filed along with the complaint, or may be filed subsequently. The request, including all accompanying documents, shall be filed in duplicate with the same Wage and Hour Division office that received the complaint.

(2) No particular form is prescribed for a request for a cease and desist order pursuant to this paragraph. However, any such request shall:

(i) Be dated;

(ii) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(iii) Specify the circumstances which allegedly require that the employer be denied the use of the automated vessel exception;

(iv) Be accompanied by evidence to substantiate the allegation(s);

(v) Be signed by the complaining party making the request or by the authorized representative of such party; and

(vi) Include the address at which such complaining party or authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto.

(3) Upon receipt of a request for a cease and desist order, the Administrator shall notify the employer of the request. The Administrator's notice shall:

(i) Inform the employer that it may respond to the request and meet with a Wage and Hour Division official within 14 calendar days of the date of the notice;

(ii) Be served upon the employer by facsimile transmission, in person, or by certified or regular mail, at the employer's last known address; and

(iii) Be accompanied by copies of the complaint, the request for a cease and desist order, the evidence submitted by the complainant, and any evidence from other investigation(s) of the same or a closely related matter which the Administrator may incorporate into the record. (Any such evidence from other investigation(s) shall also be made available for examination by the complaining party at the Wage and Hour Division office which issued the notice.)

(4) No particular form is prescribed for the employer's response to the complaining party's request for a cease and desist order under this paragraph (b). However, any such response shall:

(i) Be dated;

(ii) Be submitted by facsimile transmission, in person, by certified or regular mail, or by courier service to the Wage and Hour Division office which issued the notice of the request;

(iii) Be received by the appropriate Wage and Hour Division office no later than 14 calendar days from the date of the notice of the request;

(iv) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(v) Explain, in any detail desired by the employer, the employer's grounds or reasons as to why the Administrator should deny the requested cease and desist order;

(vi) Be accompanied by evidence to substantiate the employer's grounds or reasons as to why the Administrator should deny the requested cease and desist order;

(vii) Specify whether the employer desires an informal meeting with a Wage and Hour Division official;

(viii) Be signed by the employer or its authorized representative; and

(ix) Include the address at which the employer or its authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto.

(5) In the event the employer requests a meeting with a Wage and Hour Division official, the Administrator shall provide the employer and the complaining party, or their authorized representatives, an opportunity for such a meeting to present their views regarding the evidence and arguments submitted by the parties. This shall be an informal meeting, not subject to any procedural rules. The meeting shall be held within the 14 calendar days permitted for the employer's response to the request for the cease and desist order, and shall be held at a time and place set by the Wage and Hour Division official, who shall notify the parties.

(6) After receipt of the employer's timely response and after any informal meeting which may have been held with the parties, the Administrator shall promptly issue a written determination, either denying the request or issuing a cease and desist order. If the Administrator determines that the complaining party's position is supported by a preponderance of the evidence submitted, the Administrator shall order that the employer cease the use of alien crewmembers to perform the longshore activity(ies) specified in the order. In making the determination, the Administrator shall consider all the evidence submitted, including any evidence from the same or a closely related matter which the Administrator has incorporated into the record and provided to the employer. The order shall remain in effect until the completion of the investigation and any subsequent hearing proceedings pursuant to §655.625 of this part, unless the employer files and maintains on file with ETA an attestation pursuant to §655.520 of this part or unless the prohibition is lifted by subsequent order of the Administrator because it is later determined that the employer's position was correct.

(7) The Administrator's cease and desist order shall be served on the employer or its designated representative by facsimile transmission, personal service, or by certified mail at the address specified in the employer's response or, if no such address was specified, at the employer's last known address.

§655.620   Civil money penalties and other remedies.

(a) The Administrator may assess a civil money penalty not to exceed $9,639 for each alien crewmember with respect to whom there has been a violation of the attestation or subpart F or G of this part. The Administrator may also impose appropriate remedy(ies).

(b) In determining the amount of civil money penalty to be assessed, the Administrator shall consider the type of violation committed and other relevant factors. The factors which may be considered include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Previous history of violation, or violations, by the employer under the Act and subpart F or G of this part;

(2) The number of workers affected by the violation or violations;

(3) The gravity of the violation or violations;

(4) Efforts made by the violator in good faith to comply with the provisions of 8 U.S.C. 1288(c) and subparts F and G of this part;

(5) The violator's explanation of the violation or violations;

(6) The violator's commitment to future compliance; and/or

(7) The extent to which the violator achieved a financial gain due to the violation, or the potential financial loss, potential injury or adverse effect with respect to other parties.

(c) The civil money penalty, and any other remedy determined by the Administrator to be appropriate, are immediately due for payment or performance upon the assessment by the Administrator, or the decision by an administrative law judge where a hearing is requested, or the decision by the Secretary where review is granted. The employer shall remit the amount of the civil money penalty, by certified check or money order made payable to the order of “Wage and Hour Division, Labor.” The remittance shall be delivered or mailed to the Wage and Hour Division office for the area in which the violations occurred. The performance of any other remedy prescribed by the Administrator shall follow procedures established by the Administrator. The employer's failure to pay the civil money penalty, or to perform any other remedy prescribed by the Administrator, shall result in the rejection by ETA of any future attestation submitted by the employer, until such payment or performance is accomplished.

[60 FR 3969, 3977, Jan. 19, 1995, as amended at 81 FR 43448, July 1, 2016; 82 FR 5380, Jan. 18, 2017; 83 FR 11, Jan. 2, 2018; 84 FR 217, Jan. 23, 2019; 85 FR 2296, Jan. 15, 2020]

§655.625   Written notice, service and Federal Register publication of Administrator's determination.

(a) The Administrator's determination, issued pursuant to §655.605 of this part, shall be served on the complainant, the employer, and other known interested parties by personal service or by certified mail at the parties' last known addresses. Where service by certified mail is not accepted by the party, the Administrator may exercise discretion to serve the determination by regular mail.

(b) Where the Administrator determines the prevailing practice regarding the use of alien crewmember(s) to perform longshore activity(ies) in a U.S. port (whether the Administrator's investigation involves an employer operating under an attestation, or under the automated vessel exception), the Administrator shall, simultaneously with issuance of the determination, publish in the Federal Register a notice of the determination. The notice shall identify the activity(ies), the U.S. port, and the prevailing practice regarding the use of alien crewmembers. The notice shall also inform interested parties that they may request a hearing pursuant to §655.630 of this part, within 15 days of the date of the determination.

(c) The Administrator shall file with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, a copy of the complaint and the Administrator's determination.

(d) The Administrator's written determination required by §655.605 of this part shall:

(1) Set forth the determination of the Administrator and the reason or reasons therefor, and in the case of a finding of violation(s) by an attesting employer, prescribe any remedies, including the amount of any civil money penalties assessed and the reason therefor, and/or any other remedies required for compliance with the employer's attestation.

(2) Inform the interested parties that they may request a hearing pursuant to §655.625 of this part.

(3) Inform the interested parties that in the absence of a timely request for a hearing, received by the Chief Administrative Law Judge within 15 calendar days of the date of the determination, the determination of the Administrator shall become final and not appealable.

(4) Set forth the procedure for requesting a hearing, and give the address of the Chief Administrative Law Judge (with whom the request must be filed) and the representative(s) of the Solicitor of Labor (upon whom copies of the request must be served).

(5) Inform the parties that, pursuant to §655.665, the Administrator shall notify ETA and the DHS of the occurrence of a violation by the attesting employer or of the non-attesting employer's ineligibility for the automated vessel exception.

§655.630   Request for hearing.

(a) Any interested party desiring to request an administrative hearing on a determination issued pursuant to §§655.605 and 655.625 of this part shall make such request in writing to the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the address stated in the notice of determination.

(b) Interested parties may request a hearing in the following circumstances:

(1) The complainant or any other interested party may request a hearing where the Administrator determines, after investigation, that there is no basis for a finding that an attesting employer has committed violation(s) or that the employer is eligible for the automated vessel exception. In such a proceeding, the requesting party and the employer shall be parties; the Administrator may intervene as a party or appear as amicus curiae at any time in the proceeding, at the Administrator's discretion.

(2) The employer or any other interested party may request a hearing where the Administrator determines, after investigation, that there is a basis for a finding that an attesting employer has committed violation(s) or that a non- attesting employer is not eligible for the automated vessel exception. In such a proceeding, the Administrator and the employer shall be parties.

(c) No particular form is prescribed for any request for hearing permitted by this section. However, any such request shall:

(1) Be dated;

(2) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(3) Specify the issue or issues stated in the notice of determination giving rise to such request;

(4) State the specific reason or reasons why the party requesting the hearing believes such determination is in error;

(5) Be signed by the party making the request or by an authorized representative of such party; and

(6) Include the address at which such party or authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto.

(d) The request for such hearing must be received by the Chief Administrative Law Judge, at the address stated in the Administrator's notice of determination, no later than 15 calendar days after the date of the determination. An interested party that fails to meet this 15-day deadline for requesting a hearing may thereafter participate in the proceedings only by consent of the administrative law judge, either through intervention as a party pursuant to 29 CFR 18.10 (b) through (d) or through participation as an amicus curiae pursuant to 18 CFR 18.12.

(e) The request may be filed in person, by facsimile transmission, by certified or regular mail, or by courier service. For the requesting party's protection, if the request is filed by mail, it should be by certified mail. If the request is filed by facsimile transmission, the original of the request, signed by the requestor or authorized representative, shall be filed within ten days.

(f) Copies of the request for a hearing shall be sent by the requestor to the Wage and Hour Division official who issued the Administrator's notice of determination, to the representative(s) of the Solicitor of Labor identified in the notice of determination, and to all known interested parties.

§655.635   Rules of practice for administrative law judge proceedings.

(a) Except as specifically provided in this subpart, and to the extent they do not conflict with the provisions of this subpart, the “Rules of Practice and Procedure for Administrative Hearings Before the Office of Administrative Law Judges” established by the Secretary at 29 CFR part 18 shall apply to administrative proceedings under this subpart.

(b) As provided in the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 556, any oral or documentary evidence may be received in proceedings under this part. The Federal Rules of Evidence and subpart B of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for Administrative Hearings Before the Office of Administrative Law Judges (29 CFR part 18, subpart B) shall not apply, but principles designed to ensure production of relevant and probative evidence shall guide the admission of evidence. The administrative law judge may exclude evidence which is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitive.

§655.640   Service and computation of time.

(a) Under this subpart, a party may serve any pleading or document by regular mail. Service on a party is complete upon mailing to the last known address or, in the case of the attesting employer, to the employer's designated representative in the U.S. No additional time for filing or response is authorized where service is by mail. In the interest of expeditious proceedings, the administrative law judge may direct the parties to serve pleadings or documents by a method other than regular mail.

(b) Two (2) copies of all pleadings and other documents in any administrative law judge proceeding shall be served on the attorneys for the Administrator. One copy shall be served on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, and one copy on the attorney representing the Administrator in the proceeding.

(c) Time will be computed beginning with the day following the action and includes the last day of the period unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or federally-observed holiday, in which case the time period includes the next business day.

§655.645   Administrative law judge proceedings.

(a) Upon receipt of a timely request for a hearing filed pursuant to and in accordance with §655.630 of this part, the Chief Administrative Law Judge shall promptly appoint an administrative law judge to hear the case.

(b) Within seven calendar days following the assignment of the case, the administrative law judge shall notify all interested parties of the date, time and place of the hearing. All parties shall be given at least fourteen calendar days' notice of such hearing.

(c) The date of the hearing shall be not more than 60 calendar days from the date of the Administrator's determination. Because of the time constraints imposed by the Act, no requests for postponement shall be granted except for compelling reasons. Even if such reasons are shown, no extension of the hearing date beyond 60 days from the date of the Administrator's determination shall be granted except by consent of all the parties to the proceeding.

(d) The administrative law judge may prescribe a schedule by which the parties are permitted to file a prehearing brief or other written statement of fact or law. Any such brief or statement shall be served upon each other party in accordance with §655.640 of this part. Posthearing briefs will not be permitted except at the request of the administrative law judge. When permitted, any such brief shall be limited to the issue or issues specified by the administrative law judge, shall be due within the time prescribed by the administrative law judge, and shall be served on each other party in accordance with §655.640 of this part.

(e) In reaching a decision, the administrative law judge shall, in accordance with the Act, impose the following burden of proof—

(1) The attesting employer shall have the burden of producing facts and evidence to establish the matters required by the attestation at issue;

(2) The burden of proof as to the applicability of the automated vessel exception shall be on the party to the hearing who is asserting that the employer is not eligible for the exception.

(f) The administrative law judge proceeding shall not be an appeal or review of the Administrator's ruling on a request for a cease and desist order pursuant to §655.615.

§655.650   Decision and order of administrative law judge.

(a) Within 90 calendar days after receipt of the transcript of the hearing, the administrative law judge shall issue a decision. If any party desires review of the decision, including judicial review, a petition for Secretary's review thereof shall be filed as provided in §655.655 of this subpart. If a petition for review is filed, the decision of the administrative law judge shall be inoperative unless and until the Secretary issues an order affirming the decision, or, unless and until 30 calendar days have passed after the Secretary's receipt of the petition for review and the Secretary has not issued notice to the parties that the Secretary will review the administrative law judge's decision.

(b) The decision of the administrative law judge shall include a statement of findings and conclusions, with reasons and basis therefor, upon each material issue presented on the record. The decision shall also include an appropriate order which may affirm, deny, reverse, or modify, in whole or in part, the determination of the Administrator; the reason or reasons for such order shall be stated in the decision. The administrative law judge shall not render determinations as to the legality of a regulatory provision or the constitutionality of a statutory provision.

(c) The decision shall be served on all parties in person or by certified or regular mail.

§655.655   Secretary's review of administrative law judge's decision.

(a) The Administrator or any interested party desiring review of the decision and order of an administrative law judge shall petition the Secretary to review the decision and order. To be effective, such petition shall be received by the Secretary within 30 calendar days of the date of the decision and order. Copies of the petition shall be served on all parties and on the administrative law judge.

(b) No particular form is prescribed for any petition for Secretary's review permitted by this subpart. However, any such petition shall:

(1) Be dated;

(2) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(3) Specify the issue or issues stated in the administrative law judge decision and order giving rise to such petition;

(4) State the specific reason or reasons why the party petitioning for review believes such decision and order are in error;

(5) Be signed by the party filing the petition or by an authorized representative of such party;

(6) Include the address at which such party or authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto; and

(7) Attach copies of the administrative law judge's decision and order, and any other record documents which would assist the Secretary in determining whether review is warranted.

(c) Whenever the Secretary determines to review the decision and order of an administrative law judge, a notice of the Secretary's determination shall be served upon the administrative law judge and upon all parties to the proceeding within 30 calendar days after the Secretary's receipt of the petition for review.

(d) Upon receipt of the Secretary's notice, the Office of Administrative Law Judges shall within fifteen calendar days forward the complete hearing record to the Secretary.

(e) The Secretary's notice may specify:

(1) The issue or issues to be reviewed;

(2) The form in which submissions shall be made by the parties (e.g., briefs); and

(3) The time within which such submissions shall be made.

(f) All documents submitted to the Secretary shall be filed with the Secretary of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210, Attention: Executive Director, Office of Administrative Appeals, room S-4309. An original and two copies of all documents shall be filed. Documents are not deemed filed with the Secretary until actually received by the Secretary. All documents, including documents filed by mail, shall be received by the Secretary either on or before the due date.

(g) Copies of all documents filed with the Secretary shall be served upon all other parties involved in the proceeding. Service upon the Administrator shall be in accordance with §655.640(b) of this part.

(h) The Secretary's final decision shall be issued within 180 calendar days from the date of the notice of intent to review. The Secretary's decision shall be served upon all parties and the administrative law judge.

(i) Upon issuance of the Secretary's decision, the Secretary shall transmit the entire record to the Chief Administrative Law Judge for custody pursuant to §655.660 of this part.

§655.660   Administrative record.

The official record of every completed administrative hearing procedure provided by subparts F and G of this part shall be maintained and filed under the custody and control of the Chief Administrative Law Judge. Upon receipt of a complaint seeking review of the final agency action in a United States District Court, the Chief Administrative Law Judge shall certify the official record and shall transmit such record to the clerk of the court.

§655.665   Notice to the Department of Homeland Security and the Employment and Training Administration.

(a) The Administrator shall promptly notify the DHS and ETA of the entry of a cease and desist order pursuant to §655.615 of this part. The order shall remain in effect until the completion of the Administrator's investigation and any subsequent proceedings pursuant to §655.630 of this part, unless the Administrator notifies the DHS and ETA of the entry of a subsequent order lifting the prohibition.

(1) The DHS, upon receipt of notification from the Administrator that a cease and desist order has been entered against an employer:

(i) Shall not permit the vessels owned or chartered by the attesting employer to use alien crewmembers to perform the longshore activity(ies) at the port or location in the State of Alaska specified in the cease and desist order; and

(ii) Shall, in the case of an employer seeking to utilize the automated vessel exception, require that such employer not use alien crewmembers to perform the longshore activity(ies) at the port or location in the State of Alaska specified in the cease and desist order, without having on file with ETA an attestation pursuant to §655.520 of this part.

(2) ETA, upon receipt of the Administrator's notice shall, in the case of an attesting employer, suspend the employer's attestation, either in whole or in part, for the activity(ies) and port or location in the State of Alaska specified in the cease and desist order.

(b) The Administrator shall notify the DHS and ETA of the final determination of a violation by an attesting employer or of the ineligibility of an employer for the automated vessel exception, upon the earliest of the following events:

(1) Where the Administrator determines that there is a basis for a finding of violation by an attesting employer or a finding of nonapplicability of the automated vessel exception, and no timely request for hearing is made pursuant to §655.630 of this part;

(2) Where, after a hearing, the administrative law judge issues a decision and order finding a violation by an attesting employer or finding inapplicable the automated vessel exception, and no timely petition for review to the Secretary is made pursuant to §655.655 of this part; or

(3) Where a petition for review is taken from an administrative law judge's decision finding a violation or finding inapplicable the automated vessel exception, and the Secretary either declines within thirty days to entertain the appeal, pursuant to §655.655(c) of this part, or the Secretary affirms the administrative law judge's determination; or

(4) Where the administrative law judge finds that there was no violation by an attesting employer or that the automated vessel exception does apply, and the Secretary, upon review, issues a decision pursuant to §655.655 of this part, holding that a violation was committed by an attesting employer or holding that the automated vessel exception does not apply.

(c) The DHS, upon receipt of notification from the Administrator pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section:

(1) Shall not permit the vessels owned or chartered by the attesting employer to enter any port of the U.S. for a period of up to one year;

(2) Shall, in the case of an employer determined to be ineligible for the automated vessel exception, thereafter require that such employer not use alien crewmembers(s) to perform the longshore activity(ies) at the specified port or location in the State of Alaska without having on file with ETA an attestation pursuant to §655.520 of this part; and

(3) Shall, in the event that the Administrator's notice constitutes a conclusive determination (pursuant to §655.670) that the prevailing practice at a particular U.S. port does not permit the use of nonimmigrant alien crewmembers for particular longshore activity(ies), thereafter permit no employer to use alien crewmembers for the particular longshore activity(ies) at that port.

(d) ETA, upon receipt of the Administrator's notice pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section:

(1) Shall, in the case of an attesting employer, suspend the employer's attestation, either in whole or in part, for the port or location at issue and for any other U.S. port, and shall not accept for filing any attestation submitted by the employer for a period of 12 months or for a shorter period if such is specified for that employer by the DHS; and

(2) Shall, if the Administrator's notice constitutes a conclusive determination (pursuant to §655.670) that the prevailing practice at a particular U.S. port does not permit the use of alien crewmembers for the longshore activity(ies), thereafter accept no attestation under the prevailing practice exception on Form ETA 9033 from any employer for the performance of the activity(ies) at that port, and shall invalidate any current attestation under the prevailing practice exception on Form ETA 9033 for any employer for the performance of the activity(ies) at that port.

[60 FR 3969, 3977, Jan. 19, 1995, as amended at 71 FR 35520, June 21, 2006]

§655.670   Federal Register notice of determination of prevailing practice.

(a) Pursuant to §655.625(b), the Administrator shall publish in the Federal Register a notice of the Administrator's determination of any investigation regarding the prevailing practice for the use of alien crewmembers for particular longshore activity(ies) in a particular U.S. port (whether under an attestation or under the automated vessel exception). Where the Administrator has determined that the prevailing practice in that U.S. port does not permit such use of alien crewmembers, and no timely request for a hearing is filed pursuant to §655.630, the Administrator's determination shall be the conclusive determination for purposes of the Act and subparts F and G of this part; the DHS and ETA shall, upon notice from the Administrator, take the actions specified in §655.665. Where the Administrator has determined that the prevailing practice in that U.S. port at the time of the investigation permits such use of alien crewmembers, the Administrator shall, in any subsequent investigation, give that determination appropriate weight, unless the determination is reversed in proceedings under §655.630 or §655.655.

(b) Where an interested party, pursuant to §655.630, requests a hearing on the Administrator's determination, the Administrator shall, upon the issuance of the decision of the administrative law judge, publish in the Federal Register a notice of the judge's decision as to the prevailing practice for the longshore activity(ies) and U.S. port at issue, if the administrative law judge:

(1) Reversed the determination of the Administrator published in the Federal Register pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section; or

(2) Determines that the prevailing practice for the particular activity in the port does not permit the use of alien crewmembers.

(c) If the administrative law judge determines that the prevailing practice in that port does not permit such use of alien crewmembers, the judge's decision shall be the conclusive determination for purposes of the Act and subparts F and G of this part (unless and until reversed by the Secretary on discretionary review pursuant to §655.655). The DHS and ETA shall upon notice from the Administrator, take the actions specified in §655.665.

(d) In the event that the Secretary, upon discretionary review pursuant to §655.655, issues a decision that reverses the administrative law judge on a matter on which the Administrator has published notices in the Federal Register pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, the Administrator shall publish in the Federal Register a notice of the Secretary's decision and shall notify the DHS and ETA.

(1) Where the Secretary reverses the administrative law judge and determines that, contrary to the judge's decision, the prevailing practice for the longshore activity(ies) in the U.S. port at issue does not permit the use of alien crewmembers, the Secretary's decision shall be the conclusive determination for purposes of the Act and subparts F and G of this part. Upon notice from the Administrator, the DHS and ETA shall take the actions specified in §655.665.

(2) Where the Secretary reverses the administrative law judge and determines that, contrary to the judge's decision, the use of alien crewmembers is permitted by the prevailing practice for the longshore activity(ies) in the U.S. port at issue, the judge's decision shall no longer have the conclusive effect specified in paragraph (b) of this section. Upon notice from the Administrator, the DHS and ETA shall cease the actions specified in §655.665.

§655.675   Non-applicability of the Equal Access to Justice Act.

A proceeding under subpart G of this part is not subject to the Equal Access to Justice Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 504. In such a proceeding, the administrative law judge shall have no authority to award attorney fees and/or other litigation expenses pursuant to the provisions of the Equal Access to Justice Act.

Subpart H—Labor Condition Applications and Requirements for Employers Seeking To Employ Nonimmigrants on H-1b Visas in Specialty Occupations and as Fashion Models, and Requirements for Employers Seeking To Employ Nonimmigrants on H-1b1 and E-3 Visas in Specialty Occupations

Source: 59 FR 65659, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, unless otherwise noted.

§655.700   What statutory provisions govern the employment of H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants and how do employers apply for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visas?

Under the E-3 visa program, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, permits certain nonimmigrant treaty aliens to be admitted to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation (INA section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii)). Under the H-1B1 visa program, the INA permits nonimmigrant professionals in specialty occupations from countries with which the United States has entered into certain agreements that are identified in section 214(g)(8)(A) of the INA to temporarily enter the United States for employment in a specialty occupation. Employers seeking to employ nonimmigrant workers in specialty occupations under H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 visas must file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor as described in §655.730(c) and (d). Certain procedures described in this subpart H for obtaining a visa and entering the U.S. after the Department of Labor attestation process, including procedures in §655.705, apply only to H-1B nonimmigrants. The procedures for receiving an E-3 or H-1B1 visa and entering the U.S. on an E-3 or H-1B1 visa after the attestation process is certified by the Department of Labor are identified in the regulations and procedures of the Department of State and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. Consult the Department of State (http://www.state.gov/) and USCIS (http://www.uscis.gov/) Web sites and regulations for specific instructions regarding the E-3 and H-1B1 visas.

(a) Statutory provisions regarding H-1B visas. With respect to nonimmigrant workers entering the U.S. on H-1B visas, which are available to nonimmigrant aliens in specialty occupations or certain fashion models from any country, the INA, as amended, provides as follows:

(1) Establishes an annual ceiling (exclusive of spouses and children) on the number of foreign workers who may be issued H-1B visas—

(i) 195,000 in fiscal year 2001;

(ii) 195,000 in fiscal year 2002;

(iii) 195,000 in fiscal year 2003; and

(iv) 65,000 in each succeeding fiscal year;

(2) Defines the scope of eligible occupations for which nonimmigrants may be issued H-1B visas and specifies the qualifications that are required for entry as an H-1B nonimmigrant ;

(3) Requires an employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants to file a labor condition application (LCA) agreeing to various attestation requirements and have it certified by the Department of Labor (DOL) before a nonimmigrant may be provided H-1B status by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and

(4) Establishes an enforcement system under which DOL is authorized to determine whether an employer has engaged in misrepresentation or failed to meet a condition of the LCA, and is authorized to impose fines and penalties.

(b) Procedure for obtaining an H-1B visa classification. Before a nonimmigrant may be admitted to work in a “specialty occupation” or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability in the United States under the H-1B visa classification, there are certain steps which must be followed:

(1) First, an employer shall submit to the Department of Labor (DOL), and obtain DOL certification of, a labor condition application (LCA). The requirements for obtaining a certified LCA are provided in this subpart. The electronic LCA (Form ETA 9035E) is available at http://www.lca.doleta.gov. The paper-version LCA (Form ETA 9035) and the LCA cover pages (Form ETA 9035CP), which contain the full attestation statements incorporated by reference into Form ETA 9035 and Form ETA 9035E, may be obtained from http://ows.doleta.gov and from the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) National Office. Employers must file LCAs in the manner prescribed in §655.720.

(2) After obtaining DOL certification of an LCA, the employer may submit a nonimmigrant visa petition (DHS Form I-129), together with the certified LCA, to DHS, requesting H-1B classification for the foreign worker. The requirements concerning the submission of a petition to, and its processing by, DHS are set forth in DHS regulations. The DHS petition (Form I-129) may be obtained from an DHS district or area office.

(3) If DHS approves the H-1B classification, the nonimmigrant then may apply for an H-1B visa abroad at a consular office of the Department of State. If the nonimmigrant is already in the United States in a status other than H-1B, he/she may apply to the DHS for a change of visa status.

(c) Applicability. (1) This subpart H and subpart I of this part apply to all employers seeking to employ foreign workers under the H-1B visa classification in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

(2) During the period that the provisions of Appendix 1603.D.4 of Annex 1603 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) apply, this subpart H and subpart I of this part shall apply (except for the provisions relating to the recruitment and displacement of U.S. workers (see §§655.738 and 655.739)) to the entry and employment of a nonimmigrant who is a citizen of Mexico under and pursuant to the provisions of section D or Annex 1603 of NAFTA in the case of all professions set out in Appendix 1603.D.1 of Annex 1603 of NAFTA other than registered nurses. Therefore, the references in this part to “H-1B nonimmigrant” apply to any Mexican citizen nonimmigrant who is classified by DHS as “TN.” In the case of a registered nurse, the following provisions shall apply: subparts D and E of this part or the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-95) and the regulations issued thereunder, 20 CFR part 655, subparts L and M.

(3) E-3 visas: Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, this subpart H and subpart I of this part apply to all employers seeking to employ foreign workers under the E-3 visa classification in specialty occupations under INA section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(iii)). This paragraph (c)(3) applies to labor condition applications filed on or after April 11, 2008. E-3 labor condition applications filed prior to that date but on or after May 11, 2005 (i.e., the effective date of the statute), will be processed according to the E-3 statutory terms and the E-3 processing procedures published on July 19, 2005 in the Federal Register at 74 FR 41434.

(4) H-1B1 visas: Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, subparts H and I of this part apply to all employers seeking to employ foreign workers under the H-1B1 visa classification in specialty occupations described in INA section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b1) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b1)), under the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements as long as the Agreements are in effect. (INA section 214(g)(8)(A) (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(8)(A)). This paragraph (c)(4) applies to H-1B1 labor condition applications filed on or after November 23, 2004. Further, H-1B1 labor condition applications filed prior to that date but on or after January 1, 2004, the effective date of the H-1B1 program, will be handled according to the H-1B1 statutory terms and the H-1B1 processing procedures as described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(d) Nonimmigrants on E-3 or H-1B1 visas—(1) Exclusions. The following sections in this subpart and in subpart I of this part do not apply to E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants, but apply only to H-1B nonimmigrants: §§655.700(a), (b), (c)(1) and (2); 655.710(b); 655.730(d)(5) and (e); 655.735; 655.736; 655.737; 655.738; 655.739; 655.760(a)(7), (8), (9), and (10); and 655.805(a)(7), (8), and (9). Further, the following references in subparts H or I of this part, whether in the excluded sections listed above or elsewhere, do not apply to E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants, but apply only to H-1B nonimmigrants: references to fashion models of distinguished merit and ability (H-1B visas, but not H-1B1 and E-3 visas, are available to such fashion models); references to a petition process before USCIS (the petition process applies only to H-1B, but not to initial H-1B1 and E-3 visas unless it is a petition to accord a change of status); references to additional attestation obligations of H-1B-dependent employers and employers found to have willfully violated the H-1B program requirements (these provisions do not apply to the H-1B1 and E-3 programs); and references in §655.750(a) or elsewhere in this part to the provision in INA section 214(n) (formerly INA section 214(m)) (8 U.S.C. 1184(n)) regarding increased portability of H-1B status (by the statutory terms, the portability provision is inapplicable to H-1B1 and E-3 nonimmigrants).

(2) Terminology. For purposes of subparts H and I of this part, except in those sections identified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section as inapplicable to E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants and as otherwise excluded:

(i) The term “H-1B” includes “E-3” and “H-1B1” (INA section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii) and (a)(15)(H)(i)(b1)) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(iii) and (a)(15)(H)(i)(b1)); and

(ii) The term “labor condition application” or “LCA” includes a labor attestation made under section 212(t)(1) of the INA for an E-3 or H-1B1 nonimmigrant professional classified under INA section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii) and (a)(15)(H)(i)(b1) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(iii) and (a)(15)(H)(i)(b1)).

(3) Filing procedures for E-3 and H-1B1 labor attestations. Employers seeking to employ an E-3 or H-1B1 nonimmigrant must submit a completed ETA Form 9035 or ETA Form 9035E (electronic) to DOL in the manner prescribed in §§655.720 and 655.730. Employers must indicate on the form whether the labor condition application is for an “E-3 Australia,” “H-1B1 Chile,” or “H-1B1 Singapore” nonimmigrant. Any changes in the procedures and instructions for submitting labor condition applications will be provided in a notice published in the Federal Register and posted on the ETA Web site at http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/.

(4) Employer's responsibilities regarding E-3 and H-1B1 labor attestation. Each employer seeking an E-3 or H-1B1 nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation has several responsibilities, as described more fully in subparts H and I of this part, including the following:

(i) By submitting a signed and completed LCA, the employer makes certain representations and agrees to several attestations regarding the employer's responsibilities, including the wages, working conditions, and benefits to be provided to the E-3 or H-1B1 nonimmigrant. These attestations are specifically identified and incorporated in the LCA, and are fully described on Form ETA 9035CP (cover pages).

(ii) The employer reaffirms its acceptance of all of the attestation obligations by transmitting the certified labor attestation to the nonimmigrant, the Department of State, and/or the USCIS according to the procedures of those agencies.

(iii) The employer shall maintain the original signed and certified LCA in its files, and shall make a copy of the filed LCA, as well as necessary supporting documentation (as identified under this subpart), available for public examination in a public access file at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment within one working day after the date on which the LCA is filed with ETA.

(iv) The employer shall develop sufficient documentation to meet its burden of proof, in the event that such statement or information is challenged, with respect to the validity of the statements made in its LCA and the accuracy of information provided. The employer shall also maintain such documentation at its principal place of business in the U.S. and shall make such documentation available to DOL for inspection and copying upon request.

(5) Application to Chile. During the period that the provisions of Chapter 14 and Section D of Annex 14.3 of the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement (Chile FTA) are in effect, this subpart H and subpart I of this part shall apply (except for the provisions excluded under paragraph (d)(1) of this section) to the temporary entry and employment of a nonimmigrant who is a national of Chile under the provisions of Article 14.9 and Annex 2.1 of the Chile FTA and who is a professional under the provisions of Annex 14.3(D) of the Chile FTA.

(6) Application to Singapore. During the period that the provisions of Section IV of Annex 11A of the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (Singapore FTA) are in effect, this subpart H and subpart I of this part shall apply (except for the provisions excluded under paragraph (d)(1) of this section) to the temporary entry and employment of a nonimmigrant who is a national of Singapore under the provisions of Chapter 11 and Section IV of Annex 11A of the Singapore FTA and who is a professional under the provisions of Annex 11A(IV) of the Singapore FTA.

[65 FR 80209, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 66 FR 63300, Dec. 5, 2001; 69 FR 68226, Nov. 23, 2004; 70 FR 72560, Dec. 5, 2005; 71 FR 35520, 35521, June 21, 2006; 71 FR 37804, June 30, 2006; 73 FR 19947, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.705   What Federal agencies are involved in the H-1B and H-1B1 programs, and what are the responsibilities of those agencies and of employers?

Four federal agencies (Department of Labor, Department of State, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security) are involved in the process relating to H-1B nonimmigrant classification and employment. The employer also has continuing responsibilities under the process. This section briefly describes the responsibilities of each of these entities.

(a) Department of Labor (DOL) responsibilities. DOL administers the labor condition application process and enforcement provisions (exclusive of complaints regarding non-selection of U.S. workers, as described in 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(G)(i)(II) and 1182(n)(5)). Two DOL agencies have responsibilities:

(1) The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is responsible for receiving and certifying labor condition applications (LCAs) in accordance with this subpart H. ETA is also responsible for compiling and maintaining a list of LCAs and makes such list available for public examination at the Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room C-4312, Washington, DC 20210.

(2) The Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration (ESA) is responsible, in accordance with subpart I of this part, for investigating and determining an employer's misrepresentation in or failure to comply with LCAs in the employment of H-1B nonimmigrants.

(b) Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) responsibilities. The Department of State, through U.S. Embassies and Consulates, is responsible for issuing H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visas. For H-1B visas, the following agencies are involved: DHS accepts the employer's petition (DHS Form I-129) with the DOL-certified LCA attached. In doing so, the DHS determines whether the petition is supported by an LCA which corresponds with the petition, whether the occupation named in the labor condition application is a specialty occupation or whether the individual is a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability, and whether the qualifications of the nonimmigrant meet the statutory requirements for H-1B visa classification. If the petition is approved, DHS will notify the U.S. Consulate where the nonimmigrant intends to apply for the visa unless the nonimmigrant is in the U.S. and eligible to adjust status without leaving this country. See 8 U.S.C. 1255(h)(2)(B)(i). The Department of Justice administers the system for the enforcement and disposition of complaints regarding an H-1B-dependent employer's or willful violator employer's failure to offer a position filled by an H-1B nonimmigrant to an equally or better qualified United States worker (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(E), 1182(n)(5)), or such employer's willful misrepresentation of material facts relating to this obligation. DHS, is responsible for disapproving H-1B and other petitions filed by an employer found to have engaged in misrepresentation or failed to meet certain conditions of the labor condition application (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)(C)(i)-(iii); 1182(n)(5)(E)). DOL and DOS are involved in the process relating to the initial issuance of H-1B1 and E-3 visas. DHS is involved in change of status and extension of stays for the H-1B1 and E-3 category.

(c) Employer's responsibilities. This paragraph applies only to the H-1B program; employer's responsibilities under the H-1B1 and E-3 programs are found at §655.700(d)(4). Each employer seeking an H-1B nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability has several responsibilities, as described more fully in this subpart and subpart I of this part, including:

(1) The employer shall submit a completed labor condition application (LCA) on Form ETA 9035E or Form ETA 9035 in the manner prescribed in §655.720. By completing and submitting the LCA, and by signing the LCA, the employer makes certain representations and agrees to several attestations regarding its responsibilities, including the wages, working conditions, and benefits to be provided to the H-1B nonimmigrants (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)); these attestations are specifically identified and incorporated by reference in the LCA, as well as being set forth in full on Form ETA 9035CP. The LCA contains additional attestations for certain H-1B-dependent employers and employers found to have willfully violated the H-1B program requirements; these attestations impose certain obligations to recruit U.S. workers, to offer the job to U.S. applicants who are equally or better qualified than the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) sought for the job, and to avoid the displacement of U.S. workers (either in the employer's workforce, or in the workforce of a second employer with whom the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is placed, where there are indicia of employment with a second employer (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(E)-(G)). These additional attestations are specifically identified and incorporated by reference in the LCA, as well as being set forth in full on Form ETA 9035CP. If ETA certifies the LCA, notice of the certification will be sent to the employer by the same means the employer used to submit the LCA (that is, electronically where the Form ETA 9035E was submitted electronically, and by U.S. Mail where the Form ETA 9035 was submitted by U.S. Mail). The employer reaffirms its acceptance of all of the attestation obligations by submitting the LCA to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS) in support of the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, for an H-1B nonimmigrant. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(B)(2), which specifies the employer will comply with the terms of the LCA for the duration of the H-1B nonimmigrant's authorized period of stay.

(2) The employer shall maintain the original signed and certified LCA in its files, and shall make a copy of the LCA, as well as necessary supporting documentation (as identified under this subpart), available for public examination in a public access file at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment within one working day after the date on which the LCA is filed with ETA.

(3) The employer then may submit a copy of the certified, signed LCA to DHS with a completed petition (Form I-129) requesting H-1B classification.

(4) The employer shall not allow the nonimmigrant worker to begin work until DHS grants the alien authorization to work in the United States for that employer or, in the case of a nonimmigrant previously afforded H-1B status who is undertaking employment with a new H-1B employer, until the new employer files a nonfrivolous petition (Form I-129) in accordance with DHS requirements.

(5) The employer shall develop sufficient documentation to meet its burden of proof with respect to the validity of the statements made in its LCA and the accuracy of information provided, in the event that such statement or information is challenged. The employer shall also maintain such documentation at its principal place of business in the U.S. and shall make such documentation available to DOL for inspection and copying upon request.

[65 FR 80210, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 66 FR 63300, Dec. 5, 2001; 70 FR 72560, Dec. 5, 2005; 71 FR 35520, June 21, 2006; 73 FR 19948, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.710   What is the procedure for filing a complaint?

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, complaints concerning misrepresentation in the labor condition application or failure of the employer to meet a condition specified in the application shall be filed with the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division (Administrator), ESA, according to the procedures set forth in subpart I of this part. The Administrator shall investigate where appropriate, and after an opportunity for a hearing, assess appropriate sanctions and penalties, as described in subpart I of this part.

(b) Complaints arising under section 212(n)(1)(G)(i)(II) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(G)(i)(II), alleging failure of the employer to offer employment to an equally or better qualified U.S. applicant, or an employer's misrepresentation regarding such offer(s) of employment, may be filed with the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20530, Telephone: 1-800-255-8155 (employers), 1-800-255-7688 (employees); Web address: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc. The Department of Justice shall investigate where appropriate, and take action as appropriate under that Department's regulations and procedures.

[65 FR 80210, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 70 FR 72561, Dec. 5, 2005]

§655.715   Definitions.

For the purposes of subparts H and I of this part:

Actual wage means the wage rate paid by the employer to all individuals with experience and qualifications similar to the H-1B nonimmigant's experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question at the place of employment. The actual wage established by the employer is not an average of the wage rates paid to all workers employed in the occupation.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) means an official appointed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3105.

Administrator means the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, Department of Labor, and such authorized representatives as may be designated to perform any of the functions of the Administrator under subpart H or I of this part.

Aggrieved party means a person or entity whose operations or interests are adversely affected by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application and includes, but is not limited to:

(1) A worker whose job, wages, or working conditions are adversely affected by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application;

(2) A bargaining representative for workers whose jobs, wages, or working conditions are adversely affected by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application;

(3) A competitor adversely affected by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application; and

(4) A government agency which has a program that is impacted by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application.

Area of intended employment means the area within normal commuting distance of the place (address) of employment where the H-1B nonimmigrant is or will be employed. There is no rigid measure of distance which constitutes a normal commuting distance or normal commuting area, because there may be widely varying factual circumstances among different areas (e.g., normal commuting distances might be 20, 30, or 50 miles). If the place of employment is within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or a Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), any place within the MSA or PMSA is deemed to be within normal commuting distance of the place of employment; however, all locations within a Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) will not automatically be deemed to be within normal commuting distance. The borders of MSAs and PMSAs are not controlling with regard to the identification of the normal commuting area; a location outside of an MSA or PMSA (or a CMSA) may be within normal commuting distance of a location that is inside (e.g., near the border of) the MSA or PMSA (or CMSA).

Attorney General means the chief official of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Attorney General's designee.

Authorized agent and authorized representative mean an official of the employer who has the legal authority to commit the employer to the statements in the labor condition application.

Center Director means the Department official to whom the Administrator has delegated his authority for purposes of NPC operations and functions.

Certification means the determination by a certifying officer that a labor condition application is not incomplete and does not contain obvious inaccuracies.

Certify means the act of making a certification.

Certifying Officer means a Department of Labor official, or such official's designee, who makes determinations about whether or not to certify labor condition applications.

Chief Administrative Law Judge (Chief ALJ) means the chief official of the Office of the Administrative Law Judges of the Department of Labor or the Chief Administrative Law Judge's designee.

Department and DOL mean the United States Department of Labor.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the determination under the INA on whether to grant visa petitions of employers seeking the admission of non-immigrants under H-1B visa for the purpose of employment.

Division means the Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration, DOL.

Employed, employed by the employer, or employment relationship means the employment relationship as determined under the common law, under which the key determinant is the putative employer's right to control the means and manner in which the work is performed. Under the common law, “no shorthand formula or magic phrase *  *  * can be applied to find the answer *  *  *. [A]ll of the incidents of the relationship must be assessed and weighed with no one factor being decisive.” NLRB v. United Ins. Co. of America, 390 U.S. 254, 258 (1968).

Employer means a person, firm, corporation, contractor, or other association or organization in the United States that has an employment relationship with H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 nonimmigrants and/or U.S. worker(s). In the case of an H-1B nonimmigrant (not including E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants), the person, firm, contractor, or other association or organization in the United States that files a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on behalf of the nonimmigrant is deemed to be the employer of that nonimmigrant. In the case of an E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrant, the person, firm, contractor, or other association or organization in the United States that files an LCA with the Department of Labor on behalf of the nonimmigrant is deemed to be the employer of that nonimmigrant.

Employment and Training Administration (ETA) means the agency within the Department which includes the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC).

Employment Standards Administration (ESA) means the agency within the Department which includes the Wage and Hour Division.

INA means the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.

Independent authoritative source means a professional, business, trade, educational or governmental association, organization, or other similar entity, not owned or controlled by the employer, which has recognized expertise in an occupational field.

Independent authoritative source survey means a survey of wages conducted by an independent authoritative source and published in a book, newspaper, periodical, loose-leaf service, newsletter, or other similar medium, within the 24-month period immediately preceding the filing of the employer's application. Such survey shall:

(1) Reflect the average wage paid to workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(2) Be based upon recently collected data—e.g., within the 24-month period immediately preceding the date of publication of the survey; and

(3) Represent the latest published prevailing wage finding by the authoritative source for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

Interested party means a person or entity who or which may be affected by the actions of an H-1B employer or by the outcome of a particular investigation and includes any person, organization, or entity who or which has notified the Department of his/her/its interest or concern in the Administrator's determination.

Lockout means a labor dispute involving a work stoppage, wherein an employer withholds work from its employees in order to gain a concession from them.

Occupation means the occupational or job classification in which the H-1B nonimmigrant is to be employed.

Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) means the organizational component within the ETA that provides national leadership and policy guidance and develops regulations and procedures to carry out the responsibilities of the Secretary of Labor under the INA concerning alien workers seeking admission to the United States in order to work under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended.

Period of intended employment means the time period between the starting and ending dates inclusive of the H-1B nonimmigrant's intended period of employment in the occupational classification at the place of employment as set forth in the labor condition application.

Place of employment means the worksite or physical location where the work actually is performed by the H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 nonimmigrant.

(1) The term does not include any location where either of the following criteria—paragraph (1)(i) or (ii)—is satisfied:

(i) Employee developmental activity. An H-1B worker who is stationed and regularly works at one location may temporarily be at another location for a particular individual or employer-required developmental activity such as a management conference, a staff seminar, or a formal training course (other than “on-the-job-training” at a location where the employee is stationed and regularly works). For the H-1B worker participating in such activities, the location of the activity would not be considered a “place of employment” or “worksite,” and that worker's presence at such location—whether owned or controlled by the employer or by a third party—would not invoke H-1B program requirements with regard to that employee at that location. However, if the employer uses H-1B nonimmigrants as instructors or resource or support staff who continuously or regularly perform their duties at such locations, the locations would be “places of employment” or “worksites” for any such employees and, thus, would be subject to H-1B program requirements with regard to those employees.

(ii) Particular worker's job functions. The nature and duration of an H-1B nonimmigrant's job functions may necessitate frequent changes of location with little time spent at any one location. For such a worker, a location would not be considered a “place of employment” or “worksite” if the following three requirements (i.e., paragraphs (1)(ii)(A) through (C)) are all met—

(A) The nature and duration of the H-1B worker's job functions mandates his/her short-time presence at the location. For this purpose, either:

(1) The H-1B nonimmigrant's job must be peripatetic in nature, in that the normal duties of the worker's occupation (rather than the nature of the employer's business) requires frequent travel (local or non-local) from location to location; or

(2) The H-1B worker's duties must require that he/she spend most work time at one location but occasionally travel for short periods to work at other locations; and

(B) The H-1B worker's presence at the locations to which he/she travels from the “home” worksite is on a casual, short-term basis, which can be recurring but not excessive (i.e., not exceeding five consecutive workdays for any one visit by a peripatetic worker, or 10 consecutive workdays for any one visit by a worker who spends most work time at one location and travels occasionally to other locations); and

(C) The H-1B nonimmigrant is not at the location as a “strikebreaker” (i.e., the H-1B nonimmigrant is not performing work in an occupation in which workers are on strike or lockout).

(2) Examples of “non-worksite” locations based on worker's job functions: A computer engineer sent out to customer locations to “troubleshoot” complaints regarding software malfunctions; a sales representative making calls on prospective customers or established customers within a “home office” sales territory; a manager monitoring the performance of out-stationed employees; an auditor providing advice or conducting reviews at customer facilities; a physical therapist providing services to patients in their homes within an area of employment; an individual making a court appearance; an individual lunching with a customer representative at a restaurant; or an individual conducting research at a library.

(3) Examples of “worksite” locations based on worker's job functions: A computer engineer who works on projects or accounts at different locations for weeks or months at a time; a sales representative assigned on a continuing basis in an area away from his/her “home office;” an auditor who works for extended periods at the customer's offices; a physical therapist who “fills in” for full-time employees of health care facilities for extended periods; or a physical therapist who works for a contractor whose business is to provide staffing on an “as needed” basis at hospitals, nursing homes, or clinics.

(4) Whenever an H-1B worker performs work at a location which is not a “worksite” (under the criterion in paragraph (1)(i) or (1)(ii) of this definition), that worker's “place of employment” or “worksite” for purposes of H-1B obligations is the worker's home station or regular work location. The employer's obligations regarding notice, prevailing wage and working conditions are focused on the home station “place of employment” rather than on the above-described location(s) which do not constitute worksite(s) for these purposes. However, whether or not a location is considered to be a “worksite”/”place of employment” for an H-1B nonimmigrant, the employer is required to provide reimbursement to the H-1B nonimmigrant for expenses incurred in traveling to that location on the employer's business, since such expenses are considered to be ordinary business expenses of employers (§§655.731(c)(7)(iii)(C); 655.731(c)(9)). In determining the worker's “place of employment” or “worksite,” the Department will look carefully at situations which appear to be contrived or abusive; the Department would seriously question any situation where the H-1B nonimmigrant's purported “place of employment” is a location other than where the worker spends most of his/her work time, or where the purported “area of employment” does not include the location(s) where the worker spends most of his/her work time.

Required wage rate means the rate of pay which is the higher of:

(1) The actual wage for the specific employment in question; or

(2) The prevailing wage rate (determined as of the time of filing the LCA application) for the occupation in which the H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 nonimmigrant is to be employed in the geographic area of intended employment. The prevailing wage rate must be no less than the minimum wage required by Federal, State, or local law.

Secretary means the Secretary of Labor or the Secretary's designee.

Specialty occupation:

(1) For purposes of the E-3 and H-1B programs (but not the H-1B1 program), specialty occupation means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in the specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. The nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation shall possess the following qualifications:

(i) Full state licensure to practice in the occupation, if licensure is required for the occupation;

(ii) Completion of the required degree; or

(iii) Experience in the specialty equivalent to the completion of such degree and recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions relating to the specialty. INA, 8 U.S.C. 1184(i)(1) and (2).

(2) For purposes of the H-1B1 program, specialty occupation means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in the specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. INA, 8 U.S.C. 1184(i)(3). For H-1B1 nonimmigrants from Chile, additional occupations that qualify as specialty occupations are Disaster Relief Claims Adjuster, Management Consultant, Agricultural Manager, and Physical Therapist, as defined in Appendix 14.3(D)(2) of the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement. For H-1B1 nonimmigrants from Singapore, additional occupations that qualify as specialty occupations are Disaster Relief Claims Adjuster and Management Consultant, as defined in Appendix 11A.2 of the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

(3) Determinations of specialty occupation and of nonimmigrant qualifications for the H-1B and H-1B1 programs are not made by the Department of Labor, but by the Department of State and/or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security in accordance with the procedures of those agencies for processing visas, petitions, extensions of stay, or requests for change of nonimmigrant status for H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrants.

Specific employment in question means the set of duties and responsibilities performed or to be performed by the H-1B nonimmigrant at the place of employment.

State means one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

State Workforce Agency, formerly State Employment Security Agency or SESA means the State agency which, under the State Administrator, is designated by the Governor to administer Wagner-Peyser Act funded employment and workforce information services (State agency) and the State unemployment compensation program.

Strike means a labor dispute wherein employees engage in a concerted stoppage of work (including stoppage by reason of the expiration of a collective-bargaining agreement) or engage in any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operation.

United States worker (“U.S. worker”) means an employee who is either

(1) A citizen or national of the United States, or

(2) An alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States, is admitted as a refugee under section 207 of the INA, is granted asylum under section 208 of the INA, or is an immigrant otherwise authorized (by the INA or by DHS) to be employed in the United States.

Wage rate means the remuneration (exclusive of fringe benefits) to be paid, stated in terms of amount per hour, day, month or year (see definition of “Required Wage Rate”).

[59 FR 65659, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, as amended at 65 FR 80211, Dec. 20, 2000; 69 FR 68228, Nov. 23, 2004; 70 FR 72561, Dec. 5, 2005; 71 FR 35520, June 21, 2006; 73 FR 19948, Apr. 11, 2008; 73 FR 78067, Dec. 19, 2008]

§655.720   Where are labor condition applications (LCAs) to be filed and processed?

(a) Employers must file all LCAs regarding H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants through the electronic submission procedure identified in paragraph (b) of this section except as provided in the next sentence. If a physical disability or lack of access to the Internet prevents an employer from using the electronic filing system, an LCA may be filed by U.S. Mail in accordance with paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. Requirements for signing, providing public access to, and use of certified LCAs are identified in §655.730(c). If the LCA is certified by DOL, notice of the certification will be sent to the employer by the same means that the employer used to submit the LCA, that is, electronically where the Form ETA 9035E was submitted electronically, and by U.S. Mail where the Form ETA 9035 was submitted by U.S. Mail.

(b) Electronic submission. Employers must file the electronic LCA, Form ETA 9035E, through the Department of Labor's Web site at http://www.lca.doleta.gov. The employer must follow instructions for electronic submission posted on the Web site. In the event ETA implements the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (44 U.S.C.A. 3504 n.) and/or the Electronic Records and Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN) (15 U.S.C. 7001-7006) for the submission and certification of the Form ETA 9035E, instructions will be provided (by public notice(s) and by instructions on the Department's Web site) to employers as to how the requirements of these statutes will be met in the Form ETA 9035E procedures.

(c) Approval to file LCAs by U.S. Mail. (1) Employers with physical disabilities or lacking Internet access and wishing to file LCAs by U.S. Mail may submit a written request to the Chief, Division of Foreign Labor Certification in accordance with paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(4) of this section. The ETA shall identify the address to which such written request shall be mailed in a Notice in the Federal Register and on the Department's Web site at http://www.lca.doleta.gov.

(2) The written request must establish the employer's need to file by U.S. Mail, including providing an explanation of how physical disability or lack of access to the Internet prevents the employer from using the electronic filing system. No particular form or format is required for this request.

(3) ETA will review the submitted justification, and may require the employer to submit supporting documentation. In the case of employers asserting a lack of Internet access, supporting documentation could, for example, consist of documentation that the Internet cannot be accessed from the employer's worksite or physical location (for example because no Internet service provider serves the site), and there is no publicly available Internet access, at public libraries or elsewhere, within a reasonable distance of the employer. In the case of employers with physical disabilities supporting documentation could, for example, consist of physicians' statements or invoices for medical devices or aids relevant to the employer's disability.

(4) ETA may approve or deny employers' requests to submit LCAs by U.S. Mail. Approvals shall be valid for 1 year from the date of approval.

(d) U.S. Mail. If an employer has a valid approval to file by U.S. Mail in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, the employer may use Form ETA 9035 and send it by U.S. Mail to ETA. ETA shall publish a Notice in the Federal Register identifying the address, and any future address changes, to which paper LCAs must be mailed, and shall also post these addresses on the DOL Internet Web site at http://www.lca.doleta.gov. When Form ETA 9035 is submitted by U.S. Mail, the form must bear the original signature of the employer (or that of the employer's authorized agent or representative) at the time it is submitted to ETA.

(e) The ETA National Office is responsible for policy questions and other issues regarding LCAs. Prevailing wage challenges are handled in accordance with the procedures identified in §655.731(a)(2).

[70 FR 72561, Dec. 5, 2005, as amended at 73 FR 19949, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.721   [Reserved]

§655.730   What is the process for filing a labor condition application?

This section applies to the filing of labor condition applications for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants. The term H-1B is meant to apply to all three categories unless exceptions are specifically noted.

(a) Who must submit labor condition applications? An employer, or the employer's authorized agent or representative, which meets the definition of “employer” set forth in §655.715 and intends to employ an H-1B nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability shall submit an LCA to the Department.

(b) Where and when is an LCA to be submitted? An LCA shall be submitted by the employer to ETA in accordance with the procedure prescribed in §655.720 no earlier than six months before the beginning date of the period of intended employment shown on the LCA. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure ETA receives a complete and accurate LCA. Incomplete or obviously inaccurate LCAs will not be certified by ETA. ETA will process all LCAs sequentially and will usually make a determination to certify or not certify an LCA within seven working days of the date ETA receives the LCA. LCAs filed by U.S. Mail may not be processed as quickly as those filed electronically.

(c) What is to be submitted and what are its contents? Form ETA 9035 or ETA 9035E.

(1) General. The employer (or the employer's authorized agent or representative) must submit to ETA one completed and dated LCA as prescribed in §655.720. The electronic LCA, Form ETA 9035E, is found on the DOL Web site where the electronic submission is made, at http://www.lca.doleta.gov. Copies of the paper form, Form ETA 9035, and cover pages Form ETA 9035CP are available on the DOL Web site at http://www.ows.doleta.gov and from the ETA National Office, and may be used by employers with approval under §655.720 to file by U.S. Mail during the approval's validity period.

(2) Undertaking of the Employer. In submitting the LCA, and by affixing the signature of the employer or its authorized agent or representative on Form ETA 9035E or Form ETA 9035, the employer (or its authorized agent or representative on behalf of the employer) attests the statements in the LCA are true and promises to comply with the labor condition statements (attestations) specifically identified in Forms ETA 9035E and ETA 9035, as well as set forth in full in the Form ETA 9035CP. The labor condition statements (attestations) are described in detail in §§655.731 through 655.734, and the additional attestations for LCAs filed by certain H-1B-dependent employers and employers found to have willfully violated the H-1B program requirements are described in §§655.736 through 655.739.

(3) Signed Originals, Public Access, and Use of Certified LCAs. In accordance with §655.760(a) and (a)(1), the employer must maintain in its files and make available for public examination the LCA as submitted to ETA and as certified by ETA. When Form ETA 9035E is submitted electronically, a signed original is created by the employer (or by the employer's authorized agent or representative) printing out and signing the form immediately upon certification by ETA. When Form ETA 9035 is submitted by U.S. Mail as permitted by §655.720(a), the form must bear the original signature of the employer (or of the employer's authorized agent or representative) when submitted to ETA. For H-1B visas only, the employer must submit a copy of the signed, certified Form ETA 9035 or ETA 9035E to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly INS) in support of the Form I-129 petition, thereby reaffirming the employer's acceptance of all of the attestation obligations in accordance with 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(B)(2).

(4) Contents of LCA. Each LCA shall identify the occupational classification for which the LCA is being submitted and shall state:

(i) The occupation, by Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) Three-Digit Occupational Groups code and by the employer's own title for the job;

(ii) The number of nonimmigrants sought;

(iii) The gross wage rate to be paid to each nonimmigrant, expressed on an hourly, weekly, biweekly, monthly, or annual basis;

(iv) The starting and ending dates of the nonimmigrants' employment;

(v) The place(s) of intended employment;

(vi) The prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment and the specific source (e.g., name of published survey) relied upon by the employer to determine the wage. If the wage is obtained from a SESA, now known as a State Workforce Agency (SWA), the appropriate box must be checked and the wage must be stated; the source for a wage obtained from a source other than a SWA must be identified along with the wage; and

(vii) For applications filed regarding H-1B nonimmigrants only (and not applications regarding H-1B1 and E-3 nonimmigrants), the employer's status as to whether or not the employer is H-1B-dependent and/or a willful violator, and, if the employer is H-1B-dependent and/or a willful violator, whether the employer will use the application only in support of petitions for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants.

(5) Multiple positions and/or places of employment. The employer shall file a separate LCA for each occupation in which the employer intends to employ one or more nonimmigrants, but the LCA may cover more than one intended position (employment opportunity) within that occupation. All intended places of employment shall be identified on the LCA; the employer may file one or more additional LCAs to identify additional places of employment. Separate LCAs must be filed for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants.

(6) Full-time and part-time jobs. The position(s) covered by the LCA may be either full-time or part-time; full-time and part-time positions can not be combined on a single LCA.

(d) What attestations does the LCA contain? An employer's LCA shall contain the labor condition statements referenced in §§655.731 through 655.734, and §655.736 through 655.739 (if applicable), which provide that no individual may be admitted or provided status as an H-1B nonimmigrant in an occupational classification unless the employer has filed with the Secretary an application stating that:

(1) The employer is offering and will offer during the period of authorized employment to H-1B nonimmigrants no less than the greater of the following wages (such offer to include benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services, which are to be offered to the nonimmigrants on the same basis and in accordance with the same criteria as the employer offers such benefits to U.S. workers):

(i) The actual wage paid to the employer's other employees at the worksite with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question; or

(ii) The prevailing wage level for the occupational classification in the area of intended employment;

(2) The employer will provide working conditions for such nonimmigrants that will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed (including benefits in the nature of working conditions, which are to be offered to the nonimmigrants on the same basis and in accordance with the same criteria as the employer offers such benefits to U.S. workers);

(3) There is not a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the occupational classification at the place of employment;

(4) The employer has provided and will provide notice of the filing of the labor condition application to:

(i)(A) The bargaining representative of the employer's employees in the occupational classification in the area of intended employment for which the H-1B nonimmigrants are sought, in the manner described in §655.734(a)(1)(i); or

(B) If there is no such bargaining representative, affected workers by providing electronic notice of the filing of the LCA or by posting notice in conspicuous locations at the place(s) of employment, in the manner described in §655.734(a)(1)(ii); and

(ii) H-1B nonimmigrants by providing a copy of the LCA to each H-1B nonimmigrant at the time that such nonimmigrant actually reports to work, in the manner described in §655.734(a)(2).

(5) For applications filed regarding H-1B nonimmigrants only (and not applications regarding H-1B1 or E-3 nonimmigrants), the employer has determined its status concerning H-1B-dependency and/or willful violator (as described in §655.736), has indicated such status, and if either such status is applicable to the employer, has indicated whether the LCA will be used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrant(s), as described in §655.737.

(6) The employer has provided the information about the occupation required in paragraph (c) of this section.

(e) Change in employer's corporate structure or identity. (1) Where an employer corporation changes its corporate structure as the result of an acquisition, merger, “spin-off,” or other such action, the new employing entity is not required to file new LCAs and H-1B petitions with respect to the H-1B nonimmigrants transferred to the employ of the new employing entity (regardless of whether there is a change in the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)), provided that the new employing entity maintains in its records a list of the H-1B nonimmigrants transferred to the employ of the new employing entity, and maintains in the public access file(s) (see §655.760) a document containing all of the following:

(i) Each affected LCA number and its date of certification;

(ii) A description of the new employing entity's actual wage system applicable to H-1B nonimmigrant(s) who become employees of the new employing entity;

(iii) The Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of the new employing entity (whether or not different from that of the predecessor entity); and

(iv) A sworn statement by an authorized representative of the new employing entity expressly acknowledging such entity's assumption of all obligations, liabilities and undertakings arising from or under attestations made in each certified and still effective LCA filed by the predecessor entity. Unless such statement is executed and made available in accordance with this paragraph, the new employing entity shall not employ any of the predecessor entity's H-1B nonimmigrants without filing new LCAs and petitions for such nonimmigrants. The new employing entity's statement shall include such entity's explicit agreement to:

(A) Abide by the DOL's H-1B regulations applicable to the LCAs;

(B) Maintain a copy of the statement in the public access file (see §655.760); and

(C) Make the document available to any member of the public or the Department upon request.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (e)(1) of this section, the new employing entity must file new LCA(s) and H-1B petition(s) when it hires any new H-1B nonimmigrant(s) or seeks extension(s) of H-1B status for existing H-1B nonimmigrant(s). In other words, the new employing entity may not utilize the predecessor entity's LCA(s) to support the hiring or extension of any H-1B nonimmigrant after the change in corporate structure.

(3) A change in an employer's H-1B-dependency status which results from the change in the corporate structure has no effect on the employer's obligations with respect to its current H-1B nonimmigrant employees. However, the new employing entity shall comply with §655.736 concerning H-1B-dependency and/or willful-violator status and §655.737 concerning exempt H-1B nonimmigrants, in the event that such entity seeks to hire new H-1B nonimmigrant(s) or to extend the H-1B status of existing H-1B nonimmigrants. (See §655.736(d)(6).)

[65 FR 80212, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 66 FR 63301, Dec. 5, 2001; 69 FR 68228, Nov. 23, 2004; 70 FR 72562, Dec. 5, 2005; 71 FR 35521, June 21, 2006; 73 FR 19949, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.731   What is the first LCA requirement, regarding wages?

An employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability shall state on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E that it will pay the H-1B nonimmigrant the required wage rate. For the purposes of this section, “H-1B” includes “E-3 and H-1B1” as well.

(a) Establishing the wage requirement. The first LCA requirement shall be satisfied when the employer signs Form ETA 9035 or 9035E attesting that, for the entire period of authorized employment, the required wage rate will be paid to the H-1B nonimmigrant(s); that is, that the wage shall be the greater of the actual wage rate (as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section) or the prevailing wage (as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section). The wage requirement includes the employer's obligation to offer benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services to H-1B nonimmigrants on the same basis, and in accordance with the same criteria, as the employer offers to U.S. workers.

(1) The actual wage is the wage rate paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question. In determining such wage level, the following factors may be considered: Experience, qualifications, education, job responsibility and function, specialized knowledge, and other legitimate business factors. “Legitimate business factors,” for purposes of this section, means those that it is reasonable to conclude are necessary because they conform to recognized principles or can be demonstrated by accepted rules and standards. Where there are other employees with substantially similar experience and qualifications in the specific employment in question—i.e., they have substantially the same duties and responsibilities as the H-1B nonimmigrant—the actual wage shall be the amount paid to these other employees. Where no such other employees exist at the place of employment, the actual wage shall be the wage paid to the H-1B nonimmigrant by the employer. Where the employer's pay system or scale provides for adjustments during the period of the LCA—e.g., cost of living increases or other periodic adjustments, or the employee moves to a more advanced level in the same occupation—such adjustments shall be provided to similarly employed H-1B nonimmigrants (unless the prevailing wage is higher than the actual wage).

(2) The prevailing wage for the occupational classification in the area of intended employment must be determined as of the time of filing the application. The employer shall base the prevailing wage on the best information available as of the time of filing the application. Except as provided in this section, the employer is not required to use any specific methodology to determine the prevailing wage and may utilize a wage obtained from an OFLC NPC (OES), an independent authoritative source, or other legitimate sources of wage data. One of the following sources shall be used to establish the prevailing wage:

(i) A collective bargaining agreement which was negotiated at arms-length between a union and the employer which contains a wage rate applicable to the occupation;

(ii) If the job opportunity is in an occupation which is not covered by paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section, the prevailing wage shall be the arithmetic mean of the wages of workers similarly employed, except that the prevailing wage shall be the median when provided by paragraphs (a)(2)(ii)(A), (b)(3)(iii)(B)(2), and (b)(3)(iii)(C)(2) of this section. The prevailing wage rate shall be based on the best information available. The following prevailing wage sources may be used:

(A) OFLC National Processing Center (NPC) determination. Prior to January 1, 2010, the SWA having jurisdiction over the area of intended employment shall continue to receive and process prevailing wage determination requests, but shall do so in accordance with these regulatory provisions and Department guidance. On or after January 1, 2010, the NPC shall receive and process prevailing wage determination requests in accordance with these regulations and with Department guidance. Upon receipt of a written request for a PWD on or after January 1, 2010, the NPC will determine whether the occupation is covered by a collective bargaining agreement which was negotiated at arms length, and, if not, determine the arithmetic mean of wages of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment. The wage component of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey shall be used to determine the arithmetic mean, unless the employer provides an acceptable survey. The NPC shall determine the wage in accordance with secs. 212(n) and 212(t) of the INA. If an acceptable employer-provided wage survey provides a median and does not provide an arithmetic mean, the median shall be the prevailing wage applicable to the employer's job opportunity. In making a PWD, the Chicago NPC will follow 20 CFR 656.40 and other administrative guidelines or regulations issued by ETA. The Chicago NPC shall specify the validity period of the PWD, which in no event shall be for less than 90 days or more than 1 year from the date of the determination.

(1) An employer who chooses to utilize an NPC PWD shall file the labor condition application within the validity period of the prevailing wage as specified in the PWD. Any employer desiring review of an NPC PWD, including judicial review, shall follow the appeal procedures at 20 CFR 656.41. Employers which challenge an NPC PWD under 20 CFR 656.41 must obtain a ruling prior to filing an LCA. In any challenge, the Department and the NPC shall not divulge any employer wage data collected under the promise of confidentiality. Once an employer obtains a PWD from the NPC and files an LCA supported by that PWD, the employer is deemed to have accepted the PWD (as to the amount of the wage) and thereafter may not contest the legitimacy of the PWD by filing an appeal with the CO (see 20 CFR 656.41) or in an investigation or enforcement action.

(2) If the employer is unable to wait for the NPC to produce the requested prevailing wage for the occupation in question, or for the CO and/or the BALCA to issue a decision, the employer may rely on other legitimate sources of available wage information as set forth in paragraphs (a)(2)(ii)(B) and (C) of this section. If the employer later discovers, upon receipt of the PWD from the NPC, that the information relied upon produced a wage below the final PWD and the employer was paying the NPC-determined wage, no wage violation will be found if the employer retroactively compensates the H-2B nonimmigrant(s) for the difference between wage paid and the prevailing wage, within 30 days of the employer's receipt of the PWD.

(3) In all situations where the employer obtains the PWD from the NPC, the Department will deem that PWD as correct as to the amount of the wage. Nevertheless, the employer must maintain a copy of the NPC PWD. A complaint alleging inaccuracy of an NPC PWD, in such cases, will not be investigated.

(B) An independent authoritative source. The employer may use an independent authoritative wage source in lieu of an NPC PWD. The independent authoritative source survey must meet all the criteria set forth in paragraph (b)(3)(iii)(B) of this section.

(C) Another legitimate source of wage information. The employer may rely on other legitimate sources of wage data to obtain the prevailing wage. The other legitimate source survey must meet all the criteria set forth in paragraph (b)(3)(iii)(C) of this section. The employer will be required to demonstrate the legitimacy of the wage in the event of an investigation.

(iii) For purposes of this section, “similarly employed” means “having substantially comparable jobs in the occupational classification in the area of intended employment,” except that if a representative sample of workers in the occupational category can not be obtained in the area of intended employment, “similarly employed” means:

(A) Having jobs requiring a substantially similar level of skills within the area of intended employment; or

(B) If there are no substantially comparable jobs in the area of intended employment, having substantially comparable jobs with employers outside of the area of intended employment.

(iv) A prevailing wage determination for LCA purposes made pursuant to this section shall not permit an employer to pay a wage lower than required under any other applicable Federal, state or local law.

(v) Where a range of wages is paid by the employer to individuals in an occupational classification or among individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question, a range is considered to meet the prevailing wage requirement so long as the bottom of the wage range is at least the prevailing wage rate.

(vi) The employer shall enter the prevailing wage on the LCA in the form in which the employer will pay the wage (e.g., an annual salary or an hourly rate), except that in all cases the prevailing wage must be expressed as an hourly wage if the H-1B nonimmigrant will be employed part-time. Where an employer obtains a prevailing wage determination (from any of the sources identified in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section) that is expressed as an hourly rate, the employer may convert this determination to a yearly salary by multiplying the hourly rate by 2080. Conversely, where an employer obtains a prevailing wage (from any of these sources) that is expressed as a yearly salary, the employer may convert this determination to an hourly rate by dividing the salary by 2080.

(vii) In computing the prevailing wage for a job opportunity in an occupational classification in an area of intended employment in the case of an employee of an institution of higher education or an affiliated or related nonprofit entity, a nonprofit research organization, or a Governmental research organization as these terms are defined in 20 CFR 656.40(e), the prevailing wage level shall only take into account employees at such institutions and organizations in the area of intended employment.

(viii) An employer may file more than one LCA for the same occupational classification in the same area of employment and, in such circumstances, the employer could have H-1B employees in the same occupational classification in the same area of employment, brought into the U.S. (or accorded H-1B status) based on petitions approved pursuant to different LCAs (filed at different times) with different prevailing wage determinations. Employers are advised that the prevailing wage rate as to any particular H-1B nonimmigrant is prescribed by the LCA which supports that nonimmigrant's H-1B petition. The employer is required to obtain the prevailing wage at the time that the LCA is filed (see paragraph (a)(2) of this section). The LCA is valid for the period certified by ETA, and the employer must satisfy all the LCA's requirements (including the required wage which encompasses both prevailing and actual wage rates) for as long as any H-1B nonimmigrants are employed pursuant to that LCA (§655.750). Where new nonimmigrants are employed pursuant to a new LCA, that new LCA prescribes the employer's obligations as to those new nonimmigrants. The prevailing wage determination on the later/subsequent LCA does not “relate back” to operate as an “update” of the prevailing wage for the previously-filed LCA for the same occupational classification in the same area of employment. However, employers are cautioned that the actual wage component to the required wage may, as a practical matter, eliminate any wage-payment differentiation among H-1B employees based on different prevailing wage rates stated in applicable LCAs. Every H-1B nonimmigrant is to be paid in accordance with the employer's actual wage system, and thus is to receive any pay increases which that system provides.

(3) Once the prevailing wage rate is established, the H-1B employer then shall compare this wage with the actual wage rate for the specific employment in question at the place of employment and must pay the H-1B nonimmigrant at least the higher of the two wages.

(b) Documentation of the wage statement. (1) The employer shall develop and maintain documentation sufficient to meet its burden of proving the validity of the wage statement required in paragraph (a) of this section and attested to on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E. The documentation shall be made available to DOL upon request. Documentation shall also be made available for public examination to the extent required by §655.760. The employer shall also document that the wage rate(s) paid to H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is(are) no less than the required wage rate(s). The documentation shall include information about the employer's wage rate(s) for all other employees for the specific employment in question at the place of employment, beginning with the date the labor condition application was submitted and continuing throughout the period of employment. The records shall be retained for the period of time specified in §655.760. The payroll records for each such employee shall include:

(i) Employee's full name;

(ii) Employee's home address;

(iii) Employee's occupation;

(iv) Employee's rate of pay;

(v) Hours worked each day and each week by the employee if:

(A) The employee is paid on other than a salary basis (e.g., hourly, piece-rate; commission); or

(B) With respect only to H-1B nonimmigrants, the worker is a part-time employee (whether paid a salary or an hourly rate).

(vi) Total additions to or deductions from pay each pay period, by employee; and

(vii) Total wages paid each pay period, date of pay and pay period covered by the payment, by employee.

(viii) Documentation of offer of benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services on the same basis, and in accordance with the same criteria, as the employer offers to U.S. workers (see paragraph (c)(3) of this section):

(A) A copy of any document(s) provided to employees describing the benefits that are offered to employees, the eligibility and participation rules, how costs are shared, etc. (e.g., summary plan descriptions, employee handbooks, any special or employee-specific notices that might be sent);

(B) A copy of all benefit plans or other documentation describing benefit plans and any rules the employer may have for differentiating benefits among groups of workers;

(C) Evidence as to what benefits are actually provided to U.S. workers and H-1B nonimmigrants, including evidence of the benefits selected or declined by employees where employees are given a choice of benefits;

(D) For multinational employers who choose to provide H-1B nonimmigrants with “home country” benefits, evidence of the benefits provided to the nonimmigrant before and after he/she went to the United States. See paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(C) of this section.

(2) Actual wage. In addition to payroll data required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section (and also by the Fair Labor Standards Act), the employer shall retain documentation specifying the basis it used to establish the actual wage. The employer shall show how the wage set for the H-1B nonimmigrant relates to the wages paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question at the place of employment. Where adjustments are made in the employer's pay system or scale during the validity period of the LCA, the employer shall retain documentation explaining the change and clearly showing that, after such adjustments, the wages paid to the H-1B nonimmigrant are at least the greater of the adjusted actual wage or the prevailing wage for the occupation and area of intended employment.

(3) Prevailing wage. The employer also shall retain documentation regarding its determination of the prevailing wage. This source documentation shall not be submitted to ETA with the labor condition application, but shall be retained at the employer's place of business for the length of time required in §655.760(c). Such documentation shall consist of the documentation described in paragraph (b)(3)(i), (ii), or (iii) of this section and the documentation described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(i) If the employer used a wage determination issued pursuant to the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. 276a et seq. (see 29 CFR part 1), or the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act, 41 U.S.C. 351 et seq. (see 29 CFR part 4), the documentation shall include a copy of the determination showing the wage rate for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

(ii) If the employer used an applicable wage rate from a union contract which was negotiated at arms-length between a union and the employer, the documentation shall include an excerpt from the union contract showing the wage rate(s) for the occupation.

(iii) If the employer did not use a wage covered by the provisions of paragraph (b)(3)(i) or (b)(3)(ii) of this section, the employer's documentation shall consist of:

(A) A copy of the prevailing wage finding from the NPC for the occupation within the area of intended employment.

(B) A copy of the prevailing wage survey for the occupation within the area of intended employment published by an independent authoritative source. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(3)(iii)(B), a prevailing wage survey for the occupation in the area of intended employment published by an independent authoritative source shall mean a survey of wages published in a book, newspaper, periodical, loose-leaf service, newsletter, or other similar medium, within the 24-month period immediately preceding the filing of the employer's application. Such survey shall:

(1) Reflect the weighted average wage paid to workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(2) Reflect the median wage of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment if the survey provides such a median and does not provide a weighted average wage of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(3) Be based upon recently collected data—e.g., within the 24-month period immediately preceding the date of publication of the survey; and

(4) Represent the latest published prevailing wage finding by the independent authoritative source for the occupation in the area of intended employment; or

(C) A copy of the prevailing wage survey or other source data acquired from another legitimate source of wage information that was used to make the prevailing wage determination. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(3)(iii)(C), a prevailing wage provided by another legitimate source of such wage information shall be one which:

(1) Reflects the weighted average wage paid to workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(2) Reflect the median wage of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment if the survey provides such a median and does not provide a weighted average wage of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(3) Is based on the most recent and accurate information available; and

(4) Is reasonable and consistent with recognized standards and principles in producing a prevailing wage.

(c) Satisfaction of required wage obligation. (1) The required wage must be paid to the employee, cash in hand, free and clear, when due, except that deductions made in accordance with paragraph (c)(9) of this section may reduce the cash wage below the level of the required wage. Benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services must be offered in accordance with paragraph (c)(3) of this section.

(2) “Cash wages paid,” for purposes of satisfying the H-1B required wage, shall consist only of those payments that meet all the following criteria:

(i) Payments shown in the employer's payroll records as earnings for the employee, and disbursed to the employee, cash in hand, free and clear, when due, except for deductions authorized by paragraph (c)(9) of this section;

(ii) Payments reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as the employee's earnings, with appropriate withholding for the employee's tax paid to the IRS (in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 1, et seq.);

(iii) Payments of the tax reported and paid to the IRS as required by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, 26 U.S.C. 3101, et seq. (FICA). The employer must be able to document that the payments have been so reported to the IRS and that both the employer's and employee's taxes have been paid except that when the H-1B nonimmigrant is a citizen of a foreign country with which the President of the United States has entered into an agreement as authorized by section 233 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 433 (i.e., an agreement establishing a totalization arrangement between the social security system of the United States and that of the foreign country), the employer's documentation shall show that all appropriate reports have been filed and taxes have been paid in the employee's home country.

(iv) Payments reported, and so documented by the employer, as the employee's earnings, with appropriate employer and employee taxes paid to all other appropriate Federal, State, and local governments in accordance with any other applicable law.

(v) Future bonuses and similar compensation (i.e., unpaid but to-be-paid) may be credited toward satisfaction of the required wage obligation if their payment is assured (i.e., they are not conditional or contingent on some event such as the employer's annual profits). Once the bonuses or similar compensation are paid to the employee, they must meet the requirements of paragraphs (c)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section (i.e., recorded and reported as “earnings” with appropriate taxes and FICA contributions withheld and paid).

(3) Benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services (e.g., cash bonuses; stock options; paid vacations and holidays; health, life, disability and other insurance plans; retirement and savings plans) shall be offered to the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) on the same basis, and in accordance with the same criteria, as the employer offers to U.S. workers.

(i) For purposes of this section, the offer of benefits “on the same basis, and in accordance with the same criteria” means that the employer shall offer H-1B nonimmigrants the same benefit package as it offers to U.S. workers, and may not provide more strict eligibility or participation requirements for the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) than for similarly employed U.S. workers(s) (e.g., full-time workers compared to full-time workers; professional staff compared to professional staff). H-1B nonimmigrants are not to be denied benefits on the basis that they are “temporary employees” by virtue of their nonimmigrant status. An employer may offer greater or additional benefits to the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) than are offered to similarly employed U.S. worker(s), provided that such differing treatment is consistent with the requirements of all applicable nondiscrimination laws (e.g., Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2000e17). Offers of benefits by employers shall be made in good faith and shall result in the H-1B nonimmigrant(s)'s actual receipt of the benefits that are offered by the employer and elected by the H-1B nonimmigrant(s).

(ii) The benefits received by the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) need not be identical to the benefits received by similarly employed U.S. workers(s), provided that the H-1B nonimmigrant is offered the same benefits package as those workers but voluntarily chooses to receive different benefits (e.g., elects to receive cash payment rather than stock option, elects not to receive health insurance because of required employee contributions, or elects to receive different benefits among an array of benefits) or, in those instances where the employer is part of a multinational corporate operation, the benefits received by the H-1B nonimmigrant are provided in accordance with an employer's practice that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(B) or (C) of this section. In all cases, however, an employer's practice must comply with the requirements of any applicable nondiscrimination laws (e.g., Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2000e17).

(iii) If the employer is part of a multinational corporate operation (i.e., operates in affiliation with business entities in other countries, whether as subsidiaries or in some other arrangement), the following three options (i.e., (A), (B) or (C)) are available to the employer with respect to H-1B nonimmigrants who remain on the “home country” payroll.

(A) The employer may offer the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) benefits in accordance with paragraphs (c)(3)(i) and (ii) of this section.

(B) Where an H-1B nonimmigrant is in the U.S. for no more than 90 consecutive calendar days, the employer during that period may maintain the H-1B nonimmigrant on the benefits provided to the nonimmigrant in his/her permanent work station (ordinarily the home country), and not offer the nonimmigrant the benefits that are offered to similarly employed U.S. workers, provided that the employer affords reciprocal benefits treatment for any U.S. workers (i.e., allows its U.S. employees, while working out of the country on a temporary basis away from their permanent work stations in the United States, or while working in the United States on a temporary basis away from their permanent work stations in another country, to continue to receive the benefits provided them at their permanent work stations). Employers are cautioned that this provision is available only if the employer's practices do not constitute an evasion of the benefit requirements, such as where the H-1B nonimmigrant remains in the United States for most of the year, but briefly returns to the “home country” before any 90-day period would expire.

(C) Where an H-1B nonimmigrant is in the U.S. for more than 90 consecutive calendar days (or from the point where the worker is transferred to the U.S. or it is anticipated that the worker will likely remain in the U.S. more than 90 consecutive days), the employer may maintain the H-1B nonimmigrant on the benefits provided in his/her home country (i.e., “home country benefits”) (and not offer the nonimmigrant the benefits that are offered to similarly employed U.S. workers) provided that all of the following criteria are satisfied:

(1) The H-1B nonimmigrant continues to be employed in his/her home country (either with the H-1B employer or with a corporate affiliate of the employer);

(2) The H-1B nonimmigrant is enrolled in benefits in his/her home country (in accordance with any applicable eligibility standards for such benefits);

(3) The benefits provided in his/her home country are equivalent to, or equitably comparable to, the benefits offered to similarly employed U.S. workers (i.e., are no less advantageous to the nonimmigrant);

(4) The employer affords reciprocal benefits treatment for any U.S. workers while they are working out of the country, away from their permanent work stations (whether in the United States or abroad), on a temporary basis (i.e., maintains such U.S. workers on the benefits they received at their permanent work stations);

(5) If the employer offers health benefits to its U.S. workers, the employer offers the same plan on the same basis to its H-1B nonimmigrants in the United States where the employer does not provide the H-1B nonimmigrant with health benefits in the home country, or the employer's home-country health plan does not provide full coverage (i.e., coverage comparable to what he/she would receive at the home work station) for medical treatment in the United States; and

(6) The employer offers H-1B nonimmigrants who are in the United States more than 90 continuous days those U.S. benefits which are paid directly to the worker (e.g., paid vacation, paid holidays, and bonuses).

(iv) Benefits provided as compensation for services may be credited toward the satisfaction of the employer's required wage obligation only if the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section are met (e.g., recorded and reported as “earnings” with appropriate taxes and FICA contributions withheld and paid).

(4) For salaried employees, wages will be due in prorated installments (e.g., annual salary divided into 26 bi-weekly pay periods, where employer pays bi-weekly) paid no less often than monthly except that, in the event that the employer intends to use some other form of nondiscretionary payment to supplement the employee's regular/pro-rata pay in order to meet the required wage obligation (e.g., a quarterly production bonus), the employer's documentation of wage payments (including such supplemental payments) must show the employer's commitment to make such payment and the method of determining the amount thereof, and must show unequivocally that the required wage obligation was met for prior pay periods and, upon payment and distribution of such other payments that are pending, will be met for each current or future pay period. An employer that is a school or other educational institution may apply an established salary practice under which the employer pays to H-1B nonimmigrants and U.S. workers in the same occupational classification an annual salary in disbursements over fewer than 12 months, provided that the nonimmigrant agrees to the compressed annual salary payments prior to the commencement of the employment and the application of the salary practice to the nonimmigrant does not otherwise cause him/her to violate any condition of his/her authorization under the INA to remain in the U.S.

(5) For hourly-wage employees, the required wages will be due for all hours worked and/or for any nonproductive time (as specified in paragraph (c)(7) of this section) at the end of the employee's ordinary pay period (e.g., weekly) but in no event less frequently than monthly.

(6) Subject to the standards specified in paragraph (c)(7) of this section (regarding nonproductive status), an H-1B nonimmigrant shall receive the required pay beginning on the date when the nonimmigrant “enters into employment” with the employer.

(i) For purposes of this paragraph (c)(6), the H-1B nonimmigrant is considered to “enter into employment” when he/she first makes him/herself available for work or otherwise comes under the control of the employer, such as by waiting for an assignment, reporting for orientation or training, going to an interview or meeting with a customer, or studying for a licensing examination, and includes all activities thereafter.

(ii) Even if the H-1B nonimmigrant has not yet “entered into employment” with the employer (as described in paragraph (c)(6)(i) of this section), the employer that has had an LCA certified and an H-1B petition approved for the H-1B nonimmigrant shall pay the nonimmigrant the required wage beginning 30 days after the date the nonimmigrant first is admitted into the U.S. pursuant to the petition, or, if the nonimmigrant is present in the United States on the date of the approval of the petition, beginning 60 days after the date the nonimmigrant becomes eligible to work for the employer. For purposes of this latter requirement, the H-1B nonimmigrant is considered to be eligible to work for the employer upon the date of need set forth on the approved H-1B petition filed by the employer, or the date of adjustment of the nonimmigrant's status by DHS, whichever is later. Matters such as the worker's obtaining a State license would not be relevant to this determination.

(7) Wage obligation(s) for H-1B nonimmigrant in nonproductive status—(i) Circumstances where wages must be paid. If the H-1B nonimmigrant is not performing work and is in a nonproductive status due to a decision by the employer (e.g., because of lack of assigned work), lack of a permit or license, or any other reason except as specified in paragraph (c)(7)(ii) of this section, the employer is required to pay the salaried employee the full pro-rata amount due, or to pay the hourly-wage employee for a full-time week (40 hours or such other number of hours as the employer can demonstrate to be full-time employment for hourly employees, or the full amount of the weekly salary for salaried employees) at the required wage for the occupation listed on the LCA. If the employer's LCA carries a designation of “part-time employment,” the employer is required to pay the nonproductive employee for at least the number of hours indicated on the I-129 petition filed by the employer with the DHS and incorporated by reference on the LCA. If the I-129 indicates a range of hours for part-time employment, the employer is required to pay the nonproductive employee for at least the average number of hours normally worked by the H-1B nonimmigrant, provided that such average is within the range indicated; in no event shall the employee be paid for fewer than the minimum number of hours indicated for the range of part-time employment. In all cases the H-1B nonimmigrant must be paid the required wage for all hours performing work within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.

(ii) Circumstances where wages need not be paid. If an H-1B nonimmigrant experiences a period of nonproductive status due to conditions unrelated to employment which take the nonimmigrant away from his/her duties at his/her voluntary request and convenience (e.g., touring the U.S., caring for ill relative) or render the nonimmigrant unable to work (e.g., maternity leave, automobile accident which temporarily incapacitates the nonimmigrant), then the employer shall not be obligated to pay the required wage rate during that period, provided that such period is not subject to payment under the employer's benefit plan or other statutes such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.). Payment need not be made if there has been a bona fide termination of the employment relationship. DHS regulations require the employer to notify the DHS that the employment relationship has been terminated so that the petition is canceled (8 CFR 214.2(h)(11)), and require the employer to provide the employee with payment for transportation home under certain circumstances (8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(E)).

(8) If the employee works in an occupation other than that identified on the employer's LCA, the employer's required wage obligation is based on the occupation identified on the LCA, and not on whatever wage standards may be applicable in the occupation in which the employee may be working.

(9) “Authorized deductions,” for purposes of the employer's satisfaction of the H-1B required wage obligation, means a deduction from wages in complete compliance with one of the following three sets of criteria (i.e., paragraph (c)(9)(i), (ii), or (iii))—

(i) Deduction which is required by law (e.g., income tax; FICA); or

(ii) Deduction which is authorized by a collective bargaining agreement, or is reasonable and customary in the occupation and/or area of employment (e.g., union dues; contribution to premium for health insurance policy covering all employees; savings or retirement fund contribution for plan(s) in compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1001, et seq.), except that the deduction may not recoup a business expense(s) of the employer (including attorney fees and other costs connected to the performance of H-1B program functions which are required to be performed by the employer, e.g., preparation and filing of LCA and H-1B petition); the deduction must have been revealed to the worker prior to the commencement of employment and, if the deduction was a condition of employment, had been clearly identified as such; and the deduction must be made against wages of U.S. workers as well as H-1B nonimmigrants (where there are U.S. workers); or

(iii) Deduction which meets the following requirements:

(A) Is made in accordance with a voluntary, written authorization by the employee (Note to paragraph (c)(9)(iii)(A): an employee's mere acceptance of a job which carries a deduction as a condition of employment does not constitute voluntary authorization, even if such condition were stated in writing);

(B) Is for a matter principally for the benefit of the employee (Note to paragraph (c)(9)(iii)(B): housing and food allowances would be considered to meet this “benefit of employee” standard, unless the employee is in travel status, or unless the circumstances indicate that the arrangements for the employee's housing or food are principally for the convenience or benefit of the employer (e.g., employee living at worksite in “on call” status));

(C) Is not a recoupment of the employer's business expense (e.g., tools and equipment; transportation costs where such transportation is an incident of, and necessary to, the employment; living expenses when the employee is traveling on the employer's business; attorney fees and other costs connected to the performance of H-1B program functions which are required to be performed by the employer (e.g., preparation and filing of LCA and H-1B petition)). (For purposes of this section, initial transportation from, and end-of-employment travel, to the worker's home country shall not be considered a business expense.);

(D) Is an amount that does not exceed the fair market value or the actual cost (whichever is lower) of the matter covered (Note to paragraph (c)(9)(iii)(D): The employer must document the cost and value); and

(E) Is an amount that does not exceed the limits set for garnishment of wages in the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. 1673, and the regulations of the Secretary pursuant to that Act, 29 CFR part 870, under which garnishment(s) may not exceed 25 percent of an employee's disposable earnings for a workweek.

(10) A deduction from or reduction in the payment of the required wage is not authorized (and is therefore prohibited) for the following purposes (i.e., paragraphs (c)(10) (i) and (ii)):

(i) A penalty paid by the H-1B nonimmigrant for ceasing employment with the employer prior to a date agreed to by the nonimmigrant and the employer.

(A) The employer is not permitted to require (directly or indirectly) that the nonimmigrant pay a penalty for ceasing employment with the employer prior to an agreed date. Therefore, the employer shall not make any deduction from or reduction in the payment of the required wage to collect such a penalty.

(B) The employer is permitted to receive bona fide liquidated damages from the H-1B nonimmigrant who ceases employment with the employer prior to an agreed date. However, the requirements of paragraph (c)(9)(iii) of this section must be fully satisfied, if such damages are to be received by the employer via deduction from or reduction in the payment of the required wage.

(C) The distinction between liquidated damages (which are permissible) and a penalty (which is prohibited) is to be made on the basis of the applicable State law. In general, the laws of the various States recognize that liquidated damages are amounts which are fixed or stipulated by the parties at the inception of the contract, and which are reasonable approximations or estimates of the anticipated or actual damage caused to one party by the other party's breach of the contract. On the other hand, the laws of the various States, in general, consider that penalties are amounts which (although fixed or stipulated in the contract by the parties) are not reasonable approximations or estimates of such damage. The laws of the various States, in general, require that the relation or circumstances of the parties, and the purpose(s) of the agreement, are to be taken into account, so that, for example, an agreement to a payment would be considered to be a prohibited penalty where it is the result of fraud or where it cloaks oppression. Furthermore, as a general matter, the sum stipulated must take into account whether the contract breach is total or partial (i.e., the percentage of the employment contract completed). (See, e.g., Vanderbilt University v. DiNardo, 174 F.3d 751 (6th Cir. 1999) (applying Tennessee law); Overholt Crop Insurance Service Co. v. Travis, 941 F.2d 1361 (8th Cir. 1991) (applying Minnesota and South Dakota law); BDO Seidman v. Hirshberg, 712 N.E.2d 1220 (N.Y. 1999); Guiliano v. Cleo, Inc., 995 S.W.2d 88 (Tenn. 1999); Wojtowicz v. Greeley Anesthesia Services, P.C., 961 P.2d 520 (Colo.Ct.App. 1998); see generally, Restatement (Second) Contracts §356 (comment b); 22 Am.Jur.2d Damages §§683, 686, 690, 693, 703). In an enforcement proceeding under subpart I of this part, the Administrator shall determine, applying relevant State law (including consideration where appropriate to actions by the employer, if any, contributing to the early cessation, such as the employer's constructive discharge of the nonimmigrant or non-compliance with its obligations under the INA and its regulations) whether the payment in question constitutes liquidated damages or a penalty. (Note to paragraph (c)(10)(i)(C): The $500/$1,000 filing fee, if any, under section 214(c) of the INA can never be included in any liquidated damages received by the employer. See paragraph (c)(10)(ii), which follows.)

(ii) A rebate of the $500/$1,000 filing fee paid by the employer, if any, under section 214(c) of the INA. The employer may not receive, and the H-1B nonimmigrant may not pay, any part of the $500 additional filing fee (for a petition filed prior to December 18, 2000) or $1,000 additional filing fee (for a petition filed on or subsequent to December 18, 2000), whether directly or indirectly, voluntarily or involuntarily. Thus, no deduction from or reduction in wages for purposes of a rebate of any part of this fee is permitted. Further, if liquidated damages are received by the employer from the H-1B nonimmigrant upon the nonimmigrant's ceasing employment with the employer prior to a date agreed to by the nonimmigrant and the employer, such liquidated damages shall not include any part of the $500/$1,000 filing fee (see paragraph (c)(10)(i) of this section). If the filing fee is paid by a third party and the H-1B nonimmigrant reimburses all or part of the fee to such third party, the employer shall be considered to be in violation of this prohibition since the employer would in such circumstances have been spared the expense of the fee which the H-1B nonimmigrant paid.

(11) Any unauthorized deduction taken from wages is considered by the Department to be non-payment of that amount of wages, and in the event of an investigation, will result in back wage assessment (plus civil money penalties and/or disqualification from H-1B and other immigration programs, if willful).

(12) Where the employer depresses the employee's wages below the required wage by imposing on the employee any of the employer's business expenses(s), the Department will consider the amount to be an unauthorized deduction from wages even if the matter is not shown in the employer's payroll records as a deduction.

(13) Where the employer makes deduction(s) for repayment of loan(s) or wage advance(s) made to the employee, the Department, in the event of an investigation, will require the employer to establish the legitimacy and purpose(s) of the loan(s) or wage advance(s), with reference to the standards set out in paragraph (c)(9)(iii) of this section.

(d) Enforcement actions. (1) In the event that a complaint is filed pursuant to subpart I of this part, alleging a failure to meet the “prevailing wage” condition or a material misrepresentation by the employer regarding the payment of the required wage, or pursuant to such other basis for investigation as the Administrator may find, the Administrator shall determine whether the employer has the documentation required in paragraph (b)(3)of this section, and whether the documentation supports the employer's wage attestation. Where the documentation is either nonexistent or is insufficient to determine the prevailing wage (e.g., does not meet the criteria specified in this section, in which case the Administrator may find a violation of paragraph (b)(1), (2), or (3), of this section); or where, based on significant evidence regarding wages paid for the occupation in the area of intended employment, the Administrator has reason to believe that the prevailing wage finding obtained from an independent authoritative source or another legitimate source varies substantially from the wage prevailing for the occupation in the area of intended employment; or where the employer has been unable to demonstrate that the prevailing wage determined by another legitimate source is in accordance with the regulatory criteria, the Administrator may contact ETA, which shall provide the Administrator with a prevailing wage determination, which the Administrator shall use as the basis for determining violations and for computing back wages, if such wages are found to be owed. The 30-day investigatory period shall be suspended while ETA makes the prevailing wage determination and, in the event that the employer timely challenges the determination (see §655.731(d)(2)), shall be suspended until the challenge process is completed and the Administrator's investigation can be resumed.

(2) In the event the Administrator obtains a prevailing wage from ETA pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the employer desires review, including judicial review, the employer shall challenge the ETA prevailing wage only by filing a request for review under §656.41 of this chapter within 30 days of the employer's receipt of the PWD from the Administrator. If the request is timely filed, the decision of OFLC is suspended until the Center Director issues a determination on the employer's appeal. If the employer desires review, including judicial review, of the decision of the NPC Center Director, the employer shall make a request for review of the determination by the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) under §656.41(e) of this chapter within 30 days of the receipt of the decision of the Center Director. If a request for review is timely filed with the BALCA, the determination by the Center Director is suspended until the BALCA issues a determination on the employer's appeal. In any challenge to the wage determination, neither ETA nor the NPC shall divulge any employer wage data collected under the promise of confidentiality.

(i) Where an employer timely challenges an OFLC PWD obtained by the Administrator, the 30-day investigative period shall be suspended until the employer obtains a final ruling. Upon such a final ruling, the investigation and any subsequent enforcement proceeding shall continue, with the PWD as determined by the BALCA serving as the conclusive determination for all purposes.

(ii) [Reserved]

(3) For purposes of this paragraph (d), OFLC may consult with the NPC to ascertain the prevailing wage applicable under the circumstances of the particular complaint.

[65 FR 80214, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 66 FR 63302, Dec. 5, 2001; 69 FR 68228, Nov. 23, 2004; 69 FR 77384, Dec. 27, 2004; 71 FR 35521, June 21, 2006; 73 FR 19949, Apr. 11, 2008; 73 FR 78067, Dec. 19, 2008; 74 FR 45561, Sept. 3, 2009]

§655.732   What is the second LCA requirement, regarding working conditions?

An employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability shall state on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E that the employment of H-1B nonimmigrants will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment. For the purposes of this section, “H-1B” includes “E-3 and H-1B1” as well.

(a) Establishing the working conditions requirement. The second LCA requirement shall be satisfied when the employer affords working conditions to its H-1B nonimmigrant employees on the same basis and in accordance with the same criteria as it affords to its U.S. worker employees who are similarly employed, and without adverse effect upon the working conditions of such U.S. worker employees. Working conditions include matters such as hours, shifts, vacation periods, and benefits such as seniority-based preferences for training programs and work schedules. The employer's obligation regarding working conditions shall extend for the longer of two periods: the validity period of the certified LCA, or the period during which the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is(are) employed by the employer.

(b) Documentation of the working condition statement. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer shall produce documentation to show that it has afforded its H-1B nonimmigrant employees working conditions on the same basis and in accordance with the same criteria as it affords its U.S. worker employees who are similarly employed.

[65 FR 80221, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 66 FR 63302, Dec. 5, 2001; 73 FR 19949, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.733   What is the third LCA requirement, regarding strikes and lockouts?

An employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants shall state on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E that there is not at that time a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the occupational classification at the place of employment. A strike or lockout which occurs after the labor condition application is filed by the employer with DOL is covered by DHS regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(17). For the purposes of this section, “H-1B” includes “E-3 and H-1B1” as well.

(a) Establishing the no strike or lockout requirement. The third labor condition application requirement shall be satisfied when the employer signs the labor condition application attesting that, as of the date the application is filed, the employer is not involved in a strike, lockout, or work stoppage in the course of a labor dispute in the occupational classification in the area of intended employment. Labor disputes for the purpose of this section relate only to those disputes involving employees of the employer working at the place of employment in the occupational classification named in the labor condition application. See also DHS regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(17) for effects of strikes or lockouts in general on the H-1B nonimmigrant's employment.

(1) Strike or lockout subsequent to certification of labor condition application. In order to remain in compliance with the no strike or lockout labor condition statement, if a strike or lockout of workers in the same occupational classification as the H-1B nonimmigrant occurs at the place of employment during the validity of the labor condition application, the employer, within three days of the occurrence of the strike or lockout, shall submit to ETA, by U.S. mail, facsimile (FAX), or private carrier, written notice of the strike or lockout. Further, the employer shall not place, assign, lease, or otherwise contract out an H-1B nonimmigrant, during the entire period of the labor condition application's validity, to any place of employment where there is a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the same occupational classification as the H-1B nonimmigrant. Finally, the employer shall not use the labor condition application in support of any petition filings for H-1B nonimmigrants to work in such occupational classification at such place of employment until ETA determines that the strike or lockout has ended.

(2) ETA notice to DHS. Upon receiving from an employer a notice described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, ETA shall examine the documentation, and may consult with the union at the employer's place of business or other appropriate entities. If ETA determines that the strike or lockout is covered under DHS's “Effect of strike” regulation for “H” visa holders, ETA shall certify to DHS, in the manner set forth in that regulation, that a strike or other labor dispute involving a work stoppage of workers in the same occupational classification as the H-1B nonimmigrant is in progress at the place of employment. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(17).

(b) Documentation of the third labor condition statement. The employer need not develop nor maintain documentation to substantiate the statement referenced in paragraph (a) of this section. In the case of an investigation, however, the employer has the burden of proof to show that there was no strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute for the occupational classification in which an H-1B nonimmigrant is employed, either at the time the application was filed or during the validity period of the LCA.

[59 FR 65659, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, as amended at 66 FR 63302, Dec. 5, 2001; 73 FR 19949, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.734   What is the fourth LCA requirement, regarding notice?

An employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants shall state on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E that the employer has provided notice of the filing of the labor condition application to the bargaining representative of the employer's employees in the occupational classification in which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed or are intended to be employed in the area of intended employment, or, if there is no such bargaining representative, has posted notice of filing in conspicuous locations in the employer's establishment(s) in the area of intended employment, in the manner described in this section. For the purposes of this section, “H-1B” includes “E-3 and H-1B1” as well.

(a) Establishing the notice requirement. The fourth labor condition application requirement shall be established when the conditions of paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section are met.

(1)(i) Where there is a collective bargaining representative for the occupational classification in which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed, on or within 30 days before the date the labor condition application is filed with ETA, the employer shall provide notice to the bargaining representative that a labor condition application is being, or will be, filed with ETA. The notice shall identify the number of H-1B nonimmigrants the employer is seeking to employ; the occupational classification in which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed; the wages offered; the period of employment; and the location(s) at which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed. Notice under this paragraph (a)(1)(i) shall include the following statement: “Complaints alleging misrepresentation of material facts in the labor condition application and/or failure to comply with the terms of the labor condition application may be filed with any office of the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.”

(ii) Where there is no collective bargaining representative, the employer shall, on or within 30 days before the date the LCA is filed with ETA, provide a notice of the filing of the LCA. The notice shall indicate that H-1B nonimmigrants are sought; the number of such nonimmigrants the employer is seeking; the occupational classification; the wages offered; the period of employment; the location(s) at which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed; and that the LCA is available for public inspection at the H-1B employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the worksite. The notice shall also include the statement: “Complaints alleging misrepresentation of material facts in the labor condition application and/or failure to comply with the terms of the labor condition application may be filed with any office of the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.” If the employer is an H-1B-dependent employer or a willful violator, and the LCA is not being used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants, the notice shall also set forth the nondisplacement and recruitment obligations to which the employer has attested, and shall include the following additional statement: “Complaints alleging failure to offer employment to an equally or better qualified U.S. applicant or an employer's misrepresentation regarding such offers of employment may be filed with the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20530, Telephone: 1 (800) 255-8155 (employers), 1 (800) 255-7688 (employees); Web address: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc.” The notice shall be provided in one of the two following manners:

(A) Hard copy notice, by posting a notice in at least two conspicuous locations at each place of employment where any H-1B nonimmigrant will be employed (whether such place of employment is owned or operated by the employer or by some other person or entity).

(1) The notice shall be of sufficient size and visibility, and shall be posted in two or more conspicuous places so that workers in the occupational classification at the place(s) of employment can easily see and read the posted notice(s).

(2) Appropriate locations for posting the notices include, but are not limited to, locations in the immediate proximity of wage and hour notices required by 29 CFR 516.4 or occupational safety and health notices required by 29 CFR 1903.2(a).

(3) The notices shall be posted on or within 30 days before the date the labor condition application is filed and shall remain posted for a total of 10 days.

(B) Electronic notice, by providing electronic notification to employees in the occupational classification (including both employees of the H-1B employer and employees of another person or entity which owns or operates the place of employment) for which H-1B nonimmigrants are sought, at each place of employment where any H-1B nonimmigrant will be employed. Such notification shall be given on or within 30 days before the date the labor condition application is filed, and shall be available to the affected employees for a total of 10 days, except that if employees are provided individual, direct notice (as by e-mail), notification only need be given once during the required time period. Notification shall be readily available to the affected employees. An employer may accomplish this by any means it ordinarily uses to communicate with its workers about job vacancies or promotion opportunities, including through its “home page” or “electronic bulletin board” to employees who have, as a practical matter, direct access to these resources; or through e-mail or an actively circulated electronic message such as the employer's newsletter. Where affected employees at the place of employment are not on the “intranet” which provides direct access to the home page or other electronic site but do have computer access readily available, the employer may provide notice to such workers by direct electronic communication such as e-mail (i.e., a single, personal e-mail message to each such employee) or by arranging to have the notice appear for 10 days on an intranet which includes the affected employees (e.g., contractor arranges to have notice on customer's intranet accessible to affected employees). Where employees lack practical computer access, a hard copy must be posted in accordance with paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(A) of this section, or the employer may provide employees individual copies of the notice.

(2) Where the employer places any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at one or more worksites not contemplated at the time of filing the application, but which are within the area of intended employment listed on the LCA, the employer is required to post electronic or hard-copy notice(s) at such worksite(s), in the manner described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, on or before the date any H-1B nonimmigrant begins work.

(3) The employer shall, no later than the date the H-1B nonimmigrant reports to work at the place of employment, provide the H-1B nonimmigrant with a copy of the LCA (Form ETA 9035, or Form ETA 9035E) certified by ETA and signed by the employer (or by the employer's authorized agent or representative). Upon request, the employer shall provide the H-1B nonimmigrant with a copy of the cover pages, Form ETA 9035CP.

(b) Documentation of the fourth labor condition statement. The employer shall develop and maintain documentation sufficient to meet its burden of proving the validity of the statement referenced in paragraph (a) of this section and attested to on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E. Such documentation shall include a copy of the dated notice and the name and address of the collective bargaining representative to whom the notice was provided. Where there is no collective bargaining representative, the employer shall note and retain the dates when, and locations where, the notice was posted and shall retain a copy of the posted notice.

(c) Records retention; records availability. The employer's documentation shall not be submitted to ETA with the labor condition application, but shall be retained for the period of time specified in §655.760(c) of this part. The documentation shall be made available for public examination as required in §655.760(a) of this part, and shall be made available to DOL upon request.

[65 FR 65659, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, as amended at 65 FR 80221, Dec. 20, 2000; 66 FR 63302, Dec. 5, 2001; 70 FR 72563, Dec. 5, 2005; 73 FR 19949, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.735   What are the special provisions for short-term placement of H-1B nonimmigrants at place(s) of employment outside the area(s) of intended employment listed on the LCA?

This section does not apply to E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants.

(a) Subject to the conditions specified in this section, an employer may make short-term placements or assignments of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at worksite(s) (place(s) of employment) in areas not listed on the employer's approved LCA(s) without filing new labor condition application(s) for such area(s).

(b) The following conditions must be fully satisfied by an employer during all short-term placement(s) or assignment(s) of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at worksite(s) (place(s) of employment) in areas not listed on the employer's approved LCA(s):

(1) The employer has fully satisfied the requirements of §§655.730 through 655.734 with regard to worksite(s) located within the area(s) of intended employment listed on the employer's LCA(s).

(2) The employer shall not place, assign, lease, or otherwise contract out any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) to any worksite where there is a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the same occupational classification(s) as that of the H-1B nonimmigrant(s).

(3) For every day the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is placed or assigned outside the area(s) of employment listed on the approved LCA(s) for such worker(s), the employer shall:

(i) Continue to pay such worker(s) the required wage (based on the prevailing wage at such worker's(s') permanent worksite, or the employer's actual wage, whichever is higher);

(ii) Pay such worker(s) the actual cost of lodging (for both workdays and non-workdays); and

(iii) Pay such worker(s) the actual cost of travel, meals and incidental or miscellaneous expenses (for both workdays and non-workdays).

(c) An employer's short-term placement(s) or assignment(s) of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at any worksite(s) in an area of employment not listed on the employer's approved LCA(s) shall not exceed a total of 30 workdays in a one-year period for any H-1B nonimmigrant at any worksite or combination of worksites in the area, except that such placement or assignment of an H-1B nonimmigrant may be for longer than 30 workdays but for no more than a total of 60 workdays in a one-year period where the employer is able to show the following:

(1) The H-1B nonimmigrant continues to maintain an office or work station at his/her permanent worksite (e.g., the worker has a dedicated workstation and telephone line(s) at the permanent worksite);

(2) The H-1B nonimmigrant spends a substantial amount of time at the permanent worksite in a one-year period; and

(3) The H-1B nonimmigrant's U.S. residence or place of abode is located in the area of the permanent worksite and not in the area of the short-term worksite(s) (e.g., the worker's personal mailing address; the worker's lease for an apartment or other home; the worker's bank accounts; the worker's automobile driver's license; the residence of the worker's dependents).

(d) For purposes of this section, the term workday shall mean any day on which an H-1B nonimmigrant performs any work at any worksite(s) within the area of short-term placement or assignment. For example, three workdays would be counted where a nonimmigrant works three non-consecutive days at three different worksites (whether or not the employer owns or controls such worksite(s)), within the same area of employment. Further, for purposes of this section, the term one-year period shall mean the calendar year (i.e., January 1 through December 31) or the employer's fiscal year, whichever the employer chooses.

(e) The employer may not make short-term placement(s) or assignment(s) of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) under this section at worksite(s) in any area of employment for which the employer has a certified LCA for the occupational classification. Further, an H-1B nonimmigrant entering the U.S. is required to be placed at a worksite in accordance with the approved petition and supporting LCA; thus, the nonimmigrant's initial placement or assignment cannot be a short-term placement under this section. In addition, the employer may not continuously rotate H-1B nonimmigrants on short-term placement or assignment to an area of employment in a manner that would defeat the purpose of the short-term placement option, which is to provide the employer with flexibility in assignments to afford enough time to obtain an approved LCA for an area where it intends to have a continuing presence (e.g., an employer may not rotate H-1B nonimmigrants to an area of employment for 20-day periods, with the result that nonimmigrants are continuously or virtually continuously employed in the area of employment, in order to avoid filing an LCA; such an employer would violate the short-term placement provisions).

(f) Once any H-1B nonimmigrant's short-term placement or assignment has reached the workday limit specified in paragraph (c) of this section in an area of employment, the employer shall take one of the following actions:

(1) File an LCA and obtain ETA certification, and thereafter place any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) in that occupational classification at worksite(s) in that area pursuant to the LCA (i.e., the employer shall perform all actions required in connection with such LCA, including determination of the prevailing wage and notice to workers); or

(2) Immediately terminate the placement of any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) who reaches the workday limit in an area of employment. No worker may exceed the workday limit within the one-year period specified in paragraph (d) of this section, unless the employer first files an LCA for the occupational classification for the area of employment. Employers are cautioned that if any worker exceeds the workday limit within the one-year period, then the employer has violated the terms of its LCA(s) and the regulations in the subpart, and thereafter the short-term placement option cannot be used by the employer for H-1B nonimmigrants in that occupational classification in that area of employment.

(g) An employer is not required to use the short-term placement option provided by this section, but may choose to make each placement or assignment of an H-1B nonimmigrant at worksite(s) in a new area of employment pursuant to a new LCA for such area. Further, an employer which uses the short-term placement option is not required to continue to use the option. Such an employer may, at any time during the period identified in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, file an LCA for the new area of employment (performing all actions required in connection with such LCA); upon certification of such LCA, the employer's obligation to comply with this section concerning short-term placement shall terminate. (However, see §655.731(c)(9)(iii)(C) regarding payment of business expenses for employee's travel on employer's business.)

[65 FR 80222, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 73 FR 19949, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.736   What are H-1B-dependent employers and willful violators?

Two attestation obligations apply only to two types of employers: H-1B-dependent employers (as described in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section) and employers found to have willfully violated their H-1B obligations within a certain five-year period (as described in paragraph (f) of this section). These obligations apply only to certain labor condition applications filed by such employers (as described in paragraph (g) of this section), and do not apply to LCAs filed by such employers solely for the employment of “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants (as described in paragraph (g) of this section and §655.737). These obligations require that such employers not displace U.S. workers from jobs (as described in §655.738) and that such employers recruit U.S. workers before hiring H-1B nonimmigrants (as described in §655.739).

(a) What constitutes an “H-1B-dependent” employer? (1) “H-1B-dependent employer,” for purposes of THIS subpart H and subpart I of this part, means an employer that meets one of the three following standards, which are based on the ratio between the employer's total work force employed in the U.S. (including both U.S. workers and H-1B nonimmigrants, and measured according to full-time equivalent employees) and the employer's H-1B nonimmigrant employees (a “head count” including both full-time and part-time H-1B employees)—

(i)(A) The employer has 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees who are employed in the U.S.; and

(B) Employs more than seven H-1B nonimmigrants;

(ii)(A) The employer has at least 26 but not more than 50 full-time equivalent employees who are employed in the U.S.; and

(B) Employs more than 12 H-1B nonimmigrant; or

(iii)(A) The employer has at least 51 full-time equivalent employees who are employed in the U.S.; and

(B) Employs H-1B nonimmigrants in a number that is equal to at least 15 percent of the number of such full-time equivalent employees.

(2) “Full-time equivalent employees” (FTEs), for purposes of paragraph (a) of this section are to be determined according to the following standards:

(i) The determination of FTEs is to include only persons employed by the employer (as defined in §655.715), and does not include bona fide consultants and independent contractors. For purposes of this section, the Department will accept the employer's designation of persons as “employees,” provided that such persons are consistently treated as “employees” for all purposes including FICA, FLSA, etc.

(ii) The determination of FTEs is to be based on the following records:

(A) To determine the number of employees, the employer's quarterly tax statement (or similar document) is to be used (assuming there is no issue as to whether all employees are listed on the tax statement); and

(B) To determine the number of hours of work by part-time employees, for purposes of aggregating such employees to FTEs, the last payroll (or the payrolls over the previous quarter, if the last payroll is not representative) is to be used, or where hours of work records are not maintained, other available information is to be used to make a reasonable approximation of hours of work (such as a standard work schedule). (But see paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) of this section regarding the determination of FTEs for part-time employees without a computation of the hours worked by such employees.)

(iii) The FTEs employed by the employer means the total of the two numbers yielded by paragraphs (a)(2)(iii)(A) and (B), which follow:

(A) The number of full-time employees. A full-time employee is one who works 40 or more hours per week, unless the employer can show that less than 40 hours per week is full-time employment in its regular course of business (however, in no event would less than 35 hours per week be considered to be full-time employment). Each full-time employee equals one FTE (e.g., 50 full-time employees would yield 50 FTEs). (Note to paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(A): An employee who commonly works more than the number of hours constituting full-time employment cannot be counted as more than one FTE.); plus

(B) The part-time employees aggregated to a number of full-time equivalents, if the employer has part-time employees. For purposes of this determination, a part-time employee is one who regularly works fewer than the number of hours per week which constitutes full-time employment (e.g., employee regularly works 20 hours, where full-time employment is 35 hours per week). The aggregation of part-time employees to FTEs may be performed by either of the following methods (i.e., paragraphs (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) or (2)):

(1) Each employee working fewer than full-time hours counted as one-half of an FTE, with the total rounded to the next higher whole number (e.g., three employees working fewer than 35 hours per week, where full-time employment is 35 hours, would yield two FTEs (i.e., 1.5 rounded to 2)); or

(2) The total number of hours worked by all part-time employees in the representative pay period, divided by the number of hours per week that constitute full-time employment, with the quotient rounded to the nearest whole number (e.g., 72 total hours of work by three part-time employees, divided by 40 (hours per week constituting full-time employment), would yield two FTEs (i.e., 1.8 rounded to 2)).

(iv) Examples of determinations of FTEs: Employer A has 100 employees, 70 of whom are full-time (with full-time employment shown to be 44 hours of work per week) and 30 of whom are part-time (with a total of 1004 hours of work by all 30 part-time employees during the representative pay period). Utilizing the method in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) of this section, this employer would have 85 FTEs: 70 FTEs for full-time employees, plus 15 FTEs for part-time employees (i.e., each of the 30 part-time employees counted as one-half of a full-time employee, as described in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) of this section). (This employer would have 23 FTEs for part-time employees, if these FTEs were computed as described in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(2) of this section: 1004 total hours of work by part-time employees, divided by 44 (full-time employment), yielding 22.8, rounded to 23)). Employer B has 100 employees, 80 of whom are full-time (with full-time employment shown to be 40 hours of work per week) and 20 of whom are part-time (with a total of 630 hours of work by all 30 part-time employees during the representative pay period). This employer would have 90 FTEs: 80 FTEs for full-time employees, plus 10 FTEs for part-time employees (i.e., each of the 20 part-time employees counted as one-half of a full-time employee, as described in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) of this section) (This employer would have 16 FTEs for part-time employees, if these FTEs were computed as described in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(2) of this section: 630 total hours of work by part-time employees, divided by 40 (full-time employment), yielding 15.7, rounded to 16)).

(b) What constitutes an “employer” for purposes of determining H-1B-dependency status? Any group treated as a single employer under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) at 26 U.S.C. 414(b), (c), (m) or (o) shall be treated as a single employer for purposes of the determination of H-1B-dependency. Therefore, if an employer satisfies the requirements of the IRC and relevant regulations with respect to the following groups of employees, those employees will be treated as employees of a single employer for purposes of determining whether that employer is an H-1B-dependent employer.

(1) Pursuant to section 414(b) of the IRC and related regulations, all employees “within a controlled group of corporations” (within the meaning of section 1563(a) of the IRC, determined without regard to section 1563(a)(4) and (e)(3)(C)), will be treated as employees of a single employer. A controlled group of corporations is a parent-subsidiary-controlled group, a brother-sister-controlled group, or a combined group. 26 U.S.C. 1563(a), 26 CFR 1.414(b)-1(a).

(i) A parent-subsidiary-controlled group is one or more chains of corporations connected through stock ownership with a common parent corporation where at least 80 percent of the stock (by voting rights or value) of each subsidiary corporation is owned by one or more of the other corporations (either another subsidiary or the parent corporation), and the common parent corporation owns at least 80 percent of the stock of at least one subsidiary.

(ii) A brother-sister-controlled group is a group of corporations in which five or fewer persons (individuals, estates, or trusts) own 80 percent or more of the stock of the corporations and certain other ownership criteria are satisfied.

(iii) A combined group is a group of three or more corporations, each of which is a member of a parent-subsidiary controlled group or a brother-sister-controlled group and one of which is a common parent corporation of a parent-subsidiary-controlled group and is also included in a brother-sister-controlled group.

(2) Pursuant to section 414(c) of the IRC and related regulations, all employees of trades or businesses (whether or not incorporated) that are under common control are treated as employees of a single employer. 26 U.S.C. 414(c), 26 CFR 1.414(c)-2.

(i) Trades or businesses are under common control if they are included in:

(A) A parent-subsidiary group of trades or businesses;

(B) A brother-sister group of trades or businesses; or

(C) A combined group of trades or businesses.

(ii) Trades or businesses include sole proprietorships, partnerships, estates, trusts or corporations.

(iii) The standards for determining whether trades or businesses are under common control are similar to standards that apply to controlled groups of corporations. However, pursuant to 26 CFR 1.414(c)-2(b)(2), ownership of at least an 80 percent interest in the profits or capital interest of a partnership or the actuarial value of a trust or estate constitutes a controlling interest in a trade or business.

(3) Pursuant to section 414(m) of the IRC and related regulations, all employees of the members of an affiliated service group are treated as employees of a single employer. 26 U.S.C. 414(m).

(i) An affiliated service group is, generally, a group consisting of a service organization (the “first organization”), such as a health care organization, a law firm or an accounting firm, and one or more of the following:

(A) A second service organization that is a shareholder or partner in the first organization and that regularly performs services for the first organization (or is regularly associated with the first organization in performing services for third persons); or

(B) Any other organization if :

(1) A significant portion of the second organization's business is the performance of services for the first organization (or an organization described in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section or for both) of a type historically performed in such service field by employees, and

(2) Ten percent or more of the interest in the second organization is held by persons who are highly compensated employees of the first organization (or an organization described in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section).

(ii) [Reserved]

(4) Section 414(o) of the IRC provides that the Department of the Treasury may issue regulations addressing other business arrangements, including employee leasing, in which a group of employees are treated as employed by the same employer. However, the Department of the Treasury has not issued any regulations under this provision. Therefore, that section of the IRC will not be taken into account in determining what groups of employees are considered employees of a single employer for purposes of H-1B dependency determinations, unless regulations are issued by the Treasury Department during the period the dependency provisions of the ACWIA are effective.

(5) The definitions of “single employer” set forth in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3) of this section are established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in regulations located at 26 CFR 1.414(b)-1(a), (c)-2 and (m)-5. Guidance on these definitions should be sought from those regulations or from the IRS.

(c) Which employers are required to make determinations of H-1B-dependency status? Every employer that intends to file an LCA regarding H-1B nonimmigrants or to file H-1B petition(s) or request(s) for extension(s) of H-1B status from January 19, 2001 through September 30, 2003, and after March 7, 2005, is required to determine whether it is an H-1B-dependent employer or a willful violator which, except as provided in §655.737, will be subject to the additional obligations for H-1B-dependent employers (see paragraph (g) of this section). No H-1B-dependent employer or willful violator may use an LCA filed before January 19, 2001, and during the period of October 1, 2003 through March 7, 2005, to support a new H-1B petition or request for an extension of status. Furthermore, on all H-1B LCAs filed from January 19, 2001 through September 30, 2003, and on or after March 8, 2005, an employer will be required to attest whether it is an H-1B-dependent employer or willful violator. An employer that attests it is non-H-1B-dependent but does not meet the “snap shot” test set forth in paragraph (c)(2) of this section shall make and document a full calculation of its status. However, as explained in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of this section, which follow, most employers would not be required to make any calculations or to create any documentation as to the determination of their H-1B status.

(1) Employers with readily apparent status concerning H-1B-dependency need not calculate that status. For most employers, regardless of their size, H-1B-dependency status (i.e., H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent) is readily apparent and would require no calculations, in that the ratio of H-1B employees to the total workforce is obvious and can easily be compared to the definition of “H-1B-dependency” (see definition set out in paragraph (a)(1) of this section).

For example: Employer A with 20 employees, only one of whom is an H-1B non-immigrant, would obviously not be H-1B-dependent and would not need to make calculations to confirm that status. Employer B with 45 employees, 30 of whom are H-1B nonimmigrants, would obviously be H-1B-dependent and would not need to make calculations. Employer C with 500 employees, only 30 of whom are H-1B nonimmigrants, would obviously not be H-1B-dependent and would not need to make calculations. Employer D with 1,000 employees, 850 of whom are H-1B nonimmigrants, would obviously be H-1B-dependent and would not have to make calculations.

(2) Employers with borderline H-1B-dependency status may use a “snap-shot” test to determine whether calculation of that status is necessary. Where an employer's H-1B-dependency status (i.e., H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent) is not readily apparent, the employer may use one of the following tests to determine whether a full calculation of the status is needed:

(i) Small employer (50 or fewer employees). If the employer has 50 or fewer employees (both full-time and part-time, including H-1B nonimmigrants and U.S. workers), then the employer may compare the number of its H-1B nonimmigrant employees (both full-time and part-time) to the numbers specified in the definition set out in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and shall fully calculate its H-1B-dependency status (i.e., calculate FTEs) where the number of its H-1B nonimmigrant employees is above the number specified in the definition. In other words, if the employer has 25 or fewer employees, and more than seven of them are H-1B nonimmigrants, then the employer shall fully calculate its status; if the employer has at least 26 but no more than 50 employees, and more than 12 of them are H-1B nonimmigrants, then the employer shall fully calculate its status.

(ii) Large employer (51 or more employees). If the number of H-1B nonimmigrant employees (both full-time and part-time), divided by the number of full-time employees (including H-1B nonimmigrants and U.S. workers), is 0.15 or more, then an employer which believes itself to be non-H-1B-dependent shall fully calculate its H-1B-dependency status (including the calculation of FTEs). In other words, if the number of full-time employees (including H-1B nonimmigrants and U.S. workers) multiplied by 0.15 yields a number that is equal to or less than the number of H-1B nonimmigrant employees (both full-time and part-time), then the employer shall attest that it is H-1B-dependent or shall fully calculate its H-1B dependency status (including the calculation of FTEs).

(d) What documentation is the employer required to make or maintain, concerning its determination of H-1B-dependency status? All employers are required to retain copies of H-1B petitions and requests for extensions of H-1B status filed with the DHS, as well as the payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1). The nature of any additional documentation would depend upon the general characteristics of the employer's workforce, as described in paragraphs (d)(1) through (4), which follow.

(1) Employer with readily apparent status concerning H-1B-dependency. If an employer's H-1B-dependency status (i.e., H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent) is readily apparent (as described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section), then that status must be reflected on the employer's LCA but the employer is not required to make or maintain any particular documentation. The public access file maintained in accordance with §655.760 would show the H-1B-dependency status, by means of copy(ies) of the LCA(s). In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's readily apparent status could be verified through records to be made available to the Administrator (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

(2) Employer with borderline H-1B-dependency status. An employer which uses a “snap-shot” test to determine whether it should undertake a calculation of its H-1B-dependency status (as described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section) is not required to make or maintain any documentation of that “snap-shot” test. The employer's status must be reflected on the LCA(s), which would be available in the public access file. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the “snap-shot” test (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)) .

(3) Employer with H-1B-dependent status. An employer which attests that it is H-1B-dependent—whether that status is readily apparent or is determined through calculations—is not required to make or maintain any documentation of the calculation. The employer's status must be reflected on the LCA(s), which would be available in the public access file. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's designation of H-1B-dependent status on the LCA(s) would be conclusive and sufficient documentation of that status (except where the employer's status had altered to non-H-1B-dependent and had been appropriately documented, as described in paragraph (d)(5)(ii) of this section).

(4) Employer with non-H-1B-dependent status who is required to perform full calculation. An employer which attests that it is non-H-1B-dependent and does not meet the “snap shot” test set forth in paragraph (c)(2) of this section shall retain in its records a dated copy of its calculation that it is not H-1B-dependent. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the employer's determination (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

(5) Employer which changes its H-1B-dependency status due to changes in workforce. An employer may experience a change in its H-1B-dependency status, due to changes in the ratio of H-1B nonimmigrant to U.S. workers in its workforce. Thus it is important that employers who wish to file a new LCA or a new H-1B petition or request for extension of status remain cognizant of their dependency status and do a recheck of such status if the make-up of their workforce changes sufficiently that their dependency status might possibly change. In the event of such a change of status, the following standards will apply:

(i) Change from non-H-1B-dependent to H-1B-dependent. An employer which experiences this change in its workforce is not required to make or maintain any record of its determination of the change of its H-1B-dependency status. The employer is not required to file new LCA(s) (which would accurately state its H-1B-dependent status), unless it seeks to hire new H-1B nonimmigrants or extend the status of existing H-1B nonimmigrants (see paragraph (g) of this section).

(ii) Change from H-1B-dependent to non-H-1B-dependent. An employer which experiences this change in its workforce is required to perform a full calculation of its status (as described in paragraph (c) of this section) and to retain a copy of such calculation in its records. If the employer seeks to hire new H-1B nonimmigrants or extend the status of existing H-1B nonimmigrants (see paragraph (g) of this section), the employer shall either file new LCAs reflecting its non-H-1B-dependent status or use its existing certified LCAs reflecting an H-1B-dependency status, in which case it shall continue to be bound by the dependent-employer attestations on such LCAs. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the employer's determination (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

(6) Change in corporate structure or identity of employer. If an employer which experiences a change in its corporate structure as the result of an acquisition, merger, “spin-off,” or other such action wishes to file a new LCA or a new H-1B petition or request for extension of status, the new employing entity shall redetermine its H-1B-dependency status in accordance with paragraphs (a) and (c) of this section (see paragraph (g) of this section). (See §655.730(e), regarding change in corporate structure or identity of employer.) In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's calculations where required under paragraph (c) of this section and its records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the employer's determination (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

(7) “Single employer” under IRC test. If an employer utilizes the IRC single-employer definition and concludes that it is non-H-1B-dependent, the employer shall perform the “snap-shot” test set forth in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, and if it fails to meet that test, shall attest that it is H-1B-dependent or shall perform the full calculation of dependency status in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section. The employer shall place a list of the entities included as a “single employer” in the public access file maintained in accordance with §766.760. In addition, the employer shall retain in its records the “snap-shot” or full calculation of its status, as appropriate (showing the number of employees of each entity who are included in the numerator and denominator of the equation, whether the employer utilizes the “snap shot” test or a complete calculation as described in paragraph (c) of this section). In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the employer's determination (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

(e) How is an employer's H-1B-dependency status to be shown on the LCA? The employer is required to designate its status by marking the appropriate box on the Form ETA-9035 or 9035E (i.e., either H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent). An employer which marks the designation of “H-1B-dependent” may also mark the designation of its intention to seek only “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants on the LCA (see paragraph (g) of this section, and §655.737). In the event that an employer has filed an LCA designating its H-1B-dependency status (either H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent) and thereafter experiences a change of status, the employer cannot use that LCA to support H-1B petitions for new nonimmigrants or requests for extension of H-1B status for existing nonimmigrants. Similarly, an employer that is or becomes H-1B-dependent cannot continue to use an LCA filed before January 19, 2001 to support new H-1B petitions or requests for extension of status. In such circumstances, the employer shall file a new LCA accurately designating its status and shall use that new LCA to support new petitions or requests for extensions of status.

(f) What constitutes a “willful violator” employer and what are its special obligations? (1) “Willful violator” or “willful violator employer,” for purposes of this subpart H and subpart I of this part means an employer that meets all of the following standards (i.e., paragraphs (f)(1)(i) through (iii))—

(i) A finding of violation by the employer (as described in paragraph (f)(1) (ii)) is entered in either of the following two types of enforcement proceeding:

(A) A Department of Labor proceeding under section 212(n)(2) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)(C) and subpart I of this part; or

(B) A Department of Justice proceeding under section 212(n)(5) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(5).

(ii) The agency finds that the employer has committed either a willful failure or a misrepresentation of a material fact during the five-year period preceding the filing of the LCA; and

(iii) The agency's finding is entered on or after October 21, 1998.

(2) For purposes of this paragraph, “willful failure” means a violation which is a “willful failure” as defined in §655.805(c).

(g) What LCAs are subject to the additional attestation obligations? (1) An employer that is “H-1B-dependent” (under the standards described in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section) or is a “willful violator” (under the standards described in paragraph (f) of this section) is subject to the attestation obligations regarding displacement of U.S. workers and recruitment of U.S. workers (under the standards described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively) for all LCAs that are filed during the time period specified in paragraph (g)(2) of this section, to be used to support any petitions for new H-1B nonimmigrants or any requests for extensions of status for existing H-1B nonimmigrants. An LCA which does not accurately indicate the employer's H-1B-dependency status or willful violator status shall not be used to support H-1B petitions or requests for extensions. Further, an employer which falsely attests to non-H-1B-dependency status, or which experiences a change of status to H-1B-dependency but continues to use the LCA to support new H-1B petitions or requests for extension of status shall—despite the LCA designation of non-H-1B-dependency—be held to its obligations to comply with the attestation requirements concerning nondisplacement of U.S. workers and recruitment of U.S. workers (as described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively), as explicitly acknowledged and agreed on the LCA.

(2) During the period between January 19, 2001 through September 30, 2003, and on or after March 8, 2005, any employer that is “H-1B-dependent” (under the standards described in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section) or is a “willful violator” (under the standards described in paragraph (f) of this section) shall file a new LCA accurately indicating that status in order to be able to file petition(s) for new H-1B nonimmigrant(s) or request(s) for extension(s) of status for existing H-1B nonimmigrant(s). An LCA filed during a period when the special attestation obligations for H-1B dependent employers and willful violators were not in effect (that is before January 19, 2001, and from October 1, 2003 through March 7, 2005) may not be used by an H-1B dependent employer or willful violator to support petition(s) for new H-1B nonimmigrant(s) or request(s) for extension(s) of status for existing H-1B nonimmigrants.

(3) An employer that files an LCA indicating “H-1B-dependent” and/or “willful violator” status may also indicate on the LCA that all the H-1B nonimmigrants to be employed pursuant to that LCA will be “exempt H-1B nonimmigrants” as described in §655.737. Such an LCA is not subject to the additional LCA attestation obligations, provided that all H-1B nonimmigrants employed under it are, in fact, exempt. An LCA which indicates that it will be used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants shall not be used to support H-1B petitions or requests for extensions of status for H-1B nonimmigrants who are not, in fact, exempt. Further, an employer which attests that the LCA will be used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants but uses the LCA to employ non-exempt H-1B nonimmigrants (through petitions and/or extensions of status) shall—despite the LCA designation of exempt H-1B nonimmigrants—be held to its obligations to comply with the attestation requirements concerning nondisplacement of U.S. workers and recruitment of U.S. workers (as described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively), as explicitly acknowledged and agreed on the LCA.

(4) The special provisions for H-1B-dependent employers and willful violator employers do not apply to LCAs filed from October 1, 2003 through March 7, 2005, or before January 19, 2001. However, all LCAs filed before October 1, 2003, and containing the additional attestation obligations described in this section and §§655.737 through 655.739, will remain in effect with regard to those obligations, for so long as any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) employed pursuant to the LCA(s) remain employed by the employer.

[65 FR 80223, Dec. 20, 2000; 66 FR 1375, Jan. 8, 2001, as amended at 66 FR 63302, Dec. 5, 2001; 70 FR 72563, Dec. 5, 2005]

§655.737   What are “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants, and how does their employment affect the additional attestation obligations of H-1B-dependent employers and willful violator employers?

(a) An employer that is H-1B-dependent or a willful violator of the H-1B program requirements (as described in §655.736) is subject to the attestation obligations regarding displacement of U.S. workers and recruitment of U.S. workers (as described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively) for all LCAs that are filed during the time period specified in §655.736(g). However, these additional obligations do not apply to an LCA filed by such an employer if the LCA is used only for the employment of “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants (through petitions and/or extensions of status) as described in this section.

(b) What is the test or standard for determining an H-1B nonimmigrant's “exempt” status? An H-1B nonimmigrant is “exempt” for purposes of this section if the nonimmigrant meets either of the two following criteria:

(1) Receives wages (including cash bonuses and similar compensation) at an annual rate equal to at least $60,000; or

(2) Has attained a master's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specialty related to the intended employment.

(c) How is the $60,000 annual wage to be determined? The H-1B nonimmigrant can be considered to be an “exempt” worker, for purposes of this section, if the nonimmigrant actually receives hourly wages or annual salary totaling at least $60,000 in the calendar year. The standards applicable to the employer's satisfaction of the required wage obligation are applicable to the determination of whether the $60,000 wages or salary are received (see §655.731(c)(2) and (3)). Thus, employer contributions or costs for benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, and pension plans cannot be counted toward this $60,000. The compensation to be counted or credited for these purposes could include cash bonuses and similar payments, provided that such compensation is paid to the worker “cash in hand, free and clear, when due” (§655.731(c)(1)), meaning that the compensation has readily determinable market value, is readily convertible to cash tender, and is actually received by the employee when due (which must be within the year for which the employer seeks to count or credit the compensation toward the employee's $60,000 earnings to qualify for exempt status). Cash bonuses and similar compensation can be counted or credited toward the $60,000 for “exempt” status only if payment is assured (i.e., if the payment is contingent or conditional on some event such as the employer's annual profits, the employer must guarantee payment even if the contingency is not met). The full $60,000 annual wages or salary must be received by the employee in order for the employee to have “exempt” status. The wages or salary required for “exempt” status cannot be decreased or pro rated based on the employee's part-time work schedule; an H-1B nonimmigrant working part-time, whose actual annual compensation is less than $60,000, would not qualify as exempt on the basis of wages, even if the worker's earnings, if projected to a full-time work schedule, would theoretically exceed $60,000 in a year. Where an employee works for less than a full year, the employee must receive at least the appropriate pro rata share of the $60,000 in order to be “exempt” (e.g., an employee who resigns after three months must be paid at least $15,000). In the event of an investigation pursuant to subpart I of this part, the Administrator will determine whether the employee has received the required $60,000 per year, using the employee's anniversary date to determine the one-year period; for an employee who had worked for less than a full year (either at the beginning of employment, or after his/her last anniversary date), the determination as to the $60,000 annual wages will be on a pro rata basis (i.e., whether the employee had been paid at a rate of $60,000 per year (or $5,000 per month) including any unpaid, guaranteed bonuses or similar compensation).

(d) How is the “master's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specialty related to the intended employment” to be determined? (1) “Master's or higher degree (or its equivalent),” for purposes of this section means a foreign academic degree from an institution which is accredited or recognized under the law of the country where the degree was obtained, and which is equivalent to a master's or higher degree issued by a U.S. academic institution. The equivalence to a U.S. academic degree cannot be established through experience or through demonstration of expertise in the academic specialty (i.e., no “time equivalency” or “performance equivalency” will be recognized as substituting for a degree issued by an academic institution). The DHS and the Department will consult appropriate sources of expertise in making the determination of equivalency between foreign and U.S. academic degrees. Upon the request of the DHS or the Department, the employer shall provide evidence to establish that the H-1B nonimmigrant has received the degree, that the degree was earned in the asserted field of study, including an academic transcript of courses, and that the institution from which the degree was obtained was accredited or recognized.

(2) “Specialty related to the intended employment,” for purposes of this section, means that the academic degree is in a specialty which is generally accepted in the industry or occupation as an appropriate or necessary credential or skill for the person who undertakes the employment in question. A “specialty” which is not generally accepted as appropriate or necessary to the employment would not be considered to be sufficiently “related' to afford the H-1B nonimmigrant status as an “exempt H-1B nonimmigrant.”

(e) When and how is the determination of the H-1B nonimmigrant's “exempt” status to be made? An employer that is H-1B-dependent or a willful violator (as described in §655.736) may designate on the LCA that the LCA will be used only to support H-1B petition(s) and/or request(s) for extension of status for “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants.

(1) If the employer makes the designation of “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrant(s) on the LCA, then the DHS—as part of the adjudication of the H-1B petition or request for extension of status—will determine the worker's “exempt” status, since an H-1B petition must be supported by an LCA consistent with the petition (i.e., occupation, area of intended employment, exempt status). The employer shall maintain, in the public access file maintained in accordance with §755.760, a list of the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) whose petition(s) and/or request(s) are supported by LCA(s) which the employer has attested will be used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants. In the event of an investigation under subpart I of this part, the Administrator will give conclusive effect to an DHS determination of “exempt” status based on the nonimmigrant's educational attainments (i.e., master's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specialty related to the intended employment) unless the determination was based on false information. If the DHS determination of “exempt” status was based on the assertion that the nonimmigrant would receive wages (including cash bonuses and similar compensation) at an annual rate equal to at least $60,000, the employer shall provide evidence to show that such wages actually were received by the nonimmigrant (consistent with paragraph (c) of this section and the regulatory standards for satisfaction or payment of the required wages as described in §655.731(c)(3)).

(2) If the employer makes the designation of “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants on the LCA, but is found in an enforcement action under subpart I of this part to have used the LCA to employ nonimmigrants who are, in fact, not exempt, then the employer will be subject to a finding that it failed to comply with the nondisplacement and recruitment obligations (as described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively) and may be assessed appropriate penalties and remedies.

(3) If the employer does not make the designation of “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants on the LCA, then the employer has waived the option of not being subject to the additional LCA attestation obligations on the basis of employing only exempt H-1B nonimmigrants under the LCA. In the event of an investigation under subpart I of this part, the Administrator will not consider the question of the nonimmigrant(s)'s “exempt” status in determining whether an H-1B-dependent employer or willful violator employer has complied with such additional LCA attestation obligations.

[65 FR 80227, Dec. 20, 2000]

§655.738   What are the “non-displacement of U.S. workers” obligations that apply to H-1B-dependent employers and willful violators, and how do they operate?

An employer that is subject to these additional attestation obligations (under the standards described in §655.736) is prohibited from displacement of any U.S. worker(s)—whether directly (in its own workforce) or secondarily (at a worksite of a second employer)—under the standards set out in this section.

(a) United States worker (U.S. worker) is defined in §655.715.

(b) Displacement, for purposes of this section, has two components: “lay off” of U.S. worker(s), and “essentially equivalent jobs” held by U.S. worker(s) and H-1B nonimmigrant(s).

(1) Lay off of a U.S. worker means that the employer has caused the worker's loss of employment, other than through—

(i) Discharge of a U.S. worker for inadequate performance, violation of workplace rules, or other cause related to the worker's performance or behavior on the job;

(ii) A U.S. worker's voluntary departure or voluntary retirement (to be assessed in light of the totality of the circumstances, under established principles concerning “constructive discharge” of workers who are pressured to leave employment);

(iii) Expiration of a grant or contract under which a U.S. worker is employed, other than a temporary employment contract entered into in order to evade the employer's non-displacement obligation. The question is whether the loss of the contract or grant has caused the worker's loss of employment. It would not be a layoff where the job loss results from the expiration of a grant or contract without which there is no alternative funding or need for the U.S. worker's position on that or any other grant or contract (e.g., the expiration of a research grant that funded a project on which the worker was employed at an academic or research institution; the expiration of a staffing firm's contract with a customer where the U.S. worker was hired expressly to work pursuant to that contract and the employer has no practice of moving workers to other customers or projects upon the expiration of contract(s)). On the other hand, it would be a layoff where the employer's normal practice is to move the U.S. worker from one contract to another when a contract expires, and work on another contract for which the worker is qualified is available (e.g., staffing firm's contract with one customer ends and another contract with a different customer begins); or

(iv) A U.S. worker who loses employment is offered, as an alternative to such loss, a similar employment opportunity with the same employer (or, in the case of secondary displacement at a worksite of a second employer, as described in paragraph (d) of this section, a similar employment opportunity with either employer) at equivalent or higher compensation and benefits than the position from which the U.S. worker was discharged, regardless of whether or not the U.S. worker accepts the offer. The validity of the offer of a similar employment opportunity will be assessed in light of the following factors:

(A) The offer is a bona fide offer, rather than an offer designed to induce the U.S. worker to refuse or an offer made with the expectation that the worker will refuse;

(B) The offered job provides the U.S. worker an opportunity similar to that provided in the job from which he/she is discharged, in terms such as a similar level of authority, discretion, and responsibility, a similar opportunity for advancement within the organization, and similar tenure and work scheduling;

(C) The offered job provides the U.S. worker equivalent or higher compensation and benefits to those provided in the job from which he/she is discharged. The comparison of compensation and benefits includes all forms of remuneration for employment, whether or not called wages and irrespective of the time of payment (e.g., salary or hourly wage rate; profit sharing; retirement plan; expense account; use of company car). The comparison also includes such matters as cost of living differentials and relocation expenses (e.g., a New York City “opportunity” at equivalent or higher compensation and benefits offered to a worker discharged from a job in Kansas City would provide a wage adjustment from the Kansas City pay scale and would include relocation costs).

(2) Essentially equivalent jobs. For purposes of the displacement prohibition, the job from which the U.S. worker is laid off must be essentially equivalent to the job for which an H-1B nonimmigrant is sought. To determine whether the jobs of the laid off U.S. worker(s) and the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) are essentially equivalent, the comparison(s) shall be on a one-to-one basis where appropriate (i.e., one U.S. worker left employment and one H-1B nonimmigrant joined the workforce) but shall be broader in focus where appropriate (e.g., an employer, through reorganization, eliminates an entire department with several U.S. workers and then staffs this department's function(s) with H-1B nonimmigrants). The following comparisons are to be made:

(i) Job responsibilities. The job of the H-1B nonimmigrant must involve essentially the same duties and responsibilities as the job from which the U.S. worker was laid off. The comparison focuses on the core elements of and competencies for the job, such as supervisory duties, or design and engineering functions, or budget and financial accountability. Peripheral, non-essential duties that could be tailored to the particular abilities of the individual workers would not be determinative in this comparison. The job responsibilities must be similar and both workers capable of performing those duties.

(ii) Qualifications and experience of the workers. The qualifications of the laid off U.S. worker must be substantially equivalent to the qualifications of the H-1B nonimmigrant. The comparison is to be confined to the experience and qualifications (e.g., training, education, ability) of the workers which are directly relevant to the actual performance requirements of the job, including the experience and qualifications that would materially affect a worker's relative ability to perform the job better or more efficiently. While it would be appropriate to compare whether the workers in question have “substantially equivalent” qualifications and experience, the workers need not have identical qualifications and experience (e.g., a bachelor's degree from one accredited university would be considered to be substantially equivalent to a bachelor's degree from another accredited university; 15 years experience in an occupation would be substantially equivalent to 10 years experience in that occupation). It would not be appropriate to compare the workers' relative ages, their sexes, or their ethnic or religious identities.

(iii) Area of employment. The job of the H-1B nonimmigrant must be located in the same area of employment as the job from which the U.S. worker was laid off. The comparison of the locations of the jobs is confined to the area within normal commuting distance of the worksite or physical location where the work of the H-1B nonimmigrant is or will be performed. For purposes of this comparison, if both such worksites or locations are within a Metropolitan Statistical Area or a Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, they will be deemed to be within the same area of employment.

(3) The worker's rights under a collective bargaining agreement or other employment contract are not affected by the employer's LCA obligations as to non-displacement of such worker.

(c) Direct displacement. An H-1B-dependent or willful-violator employer (as described in §655.736) is prohibited from displacing a U.S. worker in its own workforce (i.e., a U.S. worker “employed by the employer”) within the period beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after the filing date of an H-1B petition supported by an LCA described in §655.736(g). The following standards and guidance apply under the direct displacement prohibition:

(1) Which U.S. workers are protected against “direct displacement”? This prohibition covers the H-1B employer's own workforce—U.S. workers “employed by the employer”—who are employed in jobs that are essentially equivalent to the jobs for which the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) are sought (as described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section). The term “employed by the employer” is defined in §655.715.

(2) When does the “direct displacement” prohibition apply? The H-1B employer is prohibited from displacing a U.S. worker during a specific period of time before and after the date on which the employer files any H-1B petition supported by the LCA which is subject to the non-displacement obligation (as described in §655.736(g)). This protected period is from 90 days before until 90 days after the petition filing date.

(3) What constitutes displacement of a U.S. worker? The H-1B employer is prohibited from laying off a U.S. worker from a job that is essentially the equivalent of the job for which an H-1B nonimmigrant is sought (as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section).

(d) Secondary displacement. An H-1B-dependent or willful-violator employer (as described in §655.736) is prohibited from placing certain H-1B nonimmigrant(s) with another employer where there are indicia of an employment relationship between the nonimmigrant and that other employer (thus possibly affecting the jobs of U.S. workers employed by that other employer), unless and until the H-1B employer makes certain inquiries and/or has certain information concerning that other employer's displacement of similarly employed U.S. workers in its workforce. Employers are cautioned that even if the required inquiry of the secondary employer is made, the H-1B-dependent or willful violator employer shall be subject to a finding of a violation of the secondary displacement prohibition if the secondary employer, in fact, displaces any U.S. worker(s) during the applicable time period (see §655.810(d)). The following standards and guidance apply under the secondary displacement prohibition:

(1) Which U.S. workers are protected against “secondary displacement”? This provision applies to U.S. workers employed by the other or “secondary” employer (not those employed by the H-1B employer) in jobs that are essentially equivalent to the jobs for which certain H-1B nonimmigrants are placed with the other/secondary employer (as described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section). The term “employed by the employer” is defined in §655.715.

(2) Which H-1B nonimmigrants activate the secondary displacement prohibition? Not every placement of an H-1B nonimmigrant with another employer will activate the prohibition and—depending upon the particular facts—an H-1B employer (such as a service provider) may be able to place H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at a client or customer's worksite without being subject to the prohibition. The prohibition applies to the placement of an H-1B nonimmigrant whose H-1B petition is supported by an LCA described in §655.736(g) and whose placement with the other/secondary employer meets both of the following criteria:

(i) The nonimmigrant performs duties in whole or in part at one or more worksites owned, operated, or controlled by the other/secondary employer; and

(ii) There are indicia of an employment relationship between the nonimmigrant and the other/secondary employer. The relationship between the H-1B-nonimmigrant and the other/secondary need not constitute an “employment” relationship (as defined in §655.715), and the applicability of the secondary displacement provision does not establish such a relationship. Relevant indicia of an employment relationship include:

(A) The other/secondary employer has the right to control when, where, and how the nonimmigrant performs the job (the presence of this indicia would suggest that the relationship between the nonimmigrant and the other/secondary employer approaches the relationship which triggers the secondary displacement provision);

(B) The other/secondary employer furnishes the tools, materials, and equipment;

(C) The work is performed on the premises of the other/secondary employer (this indicia alone would not trigger the secondary displacement provision);

(D) There is a continuing relationship between the nonimmigrant and the other/secondary employer;

(E) The other/secondary employer has the right to assign additional projects to the nonimmigrant;

(F) The other/secondary employer sets the hours of work and the duration of the job;

(G) The work performed by the nonimmigrant is part of the regular business (including governmental, educational, and non-profit operations) of the other/secondary employer;

(H) The other/secondary employer is itself in business; and

(I) The other/secondary employer can discharge the nonimmigrant from providing services.

(3) What other/secondary employers are included in the prohibition on secondary displacement of U.S. workers by the H-1B employer? The other/secondary employer who accepts the placement and/or services of the H-1B employer's nonimmigrant employee(s) need not be an H-1B employer. The other/secondary employer would often be (but is not limited to) the client or customer of an H-1B employer that is a staffing firm or a service provider which offers the services of H-1B nonimmigrants under a contract (e.g., a medical staffing firm under contract with a nursing home provides H-1B nonimmigrant physical therapists; an information technology staffing firm under contract with a bank provides H-1B nonimmigrant computer engineers). Only the H-1B employer placing the nonimmigrant with the secondary employer is subject to the non-displacement obligation on the LCA, and only that employer is liable in an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part if the other/secondary employer, in fact, displaces any of its U.S. worker(s) during the applicable time period. The other/secondary employer will not be subject to sanctions in an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part (except in circumstances where such other/secondary employer is, in fact, an H-1B employer and is found to have failed to comply with its own obligations). (Note to paragraph (d)(3): Where the other/secondary employer's relationship to the H-1B nonimmigrant constitutes “employment” for purposes of a statute other than the H-1B provision of the INA, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.), the other/secondary employer would be subject to all obligations of an employer of the nonimmigrant under such other statute.)

(4) When does the “secondary displacement” prohibition apply? The H-1B employer's obligation of inquiry concerns the actions of the other/secondary employer during the specific period beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after the date of the placement of the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) with such other/secondary employer.

(5) What are the H-1B employer's obligations concerning inquiry and/or information as to the other/secondary employer's displacement of U.S. workers? The H-1B employer is prohibited from placing the H-1B nonimmigrant with another employer, unless the H-1B employer has inquired of the other/secondary employer as to whether, and has no knowledge that, within the period beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after the date of such placement, the other/secondary employer has displaced or intends to displace a similarly-employed U.S. worker employed by such other/secondary employer. The following standards and guidance apply to the H-1B employer's obligation:

(i) The H-1B employer is required to exercise due diligence and to make a reasonable effort to enquire about potential secondary displacement, through methods which may include (but are not limited to)—

(A) Securing and retaining a written assurance from the other/secondary employer that it has not and does not intend to displace a similarly-employed U.S. worker within the prescribed period;

(B) Preparing and retaining a memorandum to the file, prepared at the same time or promptly after receiving the other/secondary employer's oral statement that it has not and does not intend to displace a similarly-employed U.S. worker within the prescribed period (such memorandum shall include the substance of the conversation, the date of the communication, and the names of the individuals who participated in the conversation, including the person(s) who made the inquiry on behalf of the H-1B employer and made the statement on behalf of the other/secondary employer); or

(C) including a secondary displacement clause in the contract between the H-1B employer and the other/secondary employer, whereby the other/secondary employer would agree that it has not and will not displace similarly-employed U.S. workers within the prescribed period.

(ii) The employer's exercise of due diligence may require further, more particularized inquiry of the other/secondary employer in circumstances where there is information which indicates that U.S. worker(s) have been or will be displaced (e.g., where the H-1B nonimmigrants will be performing functions that the other/secondary employer performed with its own workforce in the past). The employer is not permitted to disregard information which would provide knowledge about potential secondary displacement (e.g., newspaper reports of relevant lay-offs by the other/secondary employer) if such information becomes available before the H-1B employer's placement of H-1B nonimmigrants with such employer. Under such circumstances, the H-1B employer would be expected to recontact the other/secondary employer and receive credible assurances that no lay-offs of similarly-employed U.S. workers are planned or have occurred within the prescribed period.

(e) What documentation is required of H-1B employers concerning the non-displacement obligation? The H-1B employer is responsible for demonstrating its compliance with the non-displacement obligation (whether direct or indirect), if applicable.

(1) Concerning direct displacement (as described in paragraph (c) of this section), the employer is required to retain all records the employer creates or receives concerning the circumstances under which each U.S. worker, in the same locality and same occupation as any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) hired, left its employ in the period from 90 days before to 90 days after the filing date of the employer's petition for the H-1B nonimmigrant(s), and for any such U.S. worker(s) for whom the employer has taken any action during the period from 90 days before to 90 days after the filing date of the H-1B petition to cause the U.S. worker's termination (e.g., a notice of future termination of the employee's job). For all such employees, the H-1B employer shall retain at least the following documents: the employee's name, last-known mailing address, occupational title and job description; any documentation concerning the employee's experience and qualifications, and principal assignments; all documents concerning the departure of such employees, such as notification by the employer of termination of employment prepared by the employer or the employee and any responses thereto, and evaluations of the employee's job performance. Finally, the employer is required to maintain a record of the terms of any offers of similar employment to such U.S. workers and the employee's response thereto.

(2) Concerning secondary displacement (as described in paragraph (d) of this section), the H-1B employer is required to maintain documentation to show the manner in which it satisfied its obligation to make inquiries as to the displacement of U.S. workers by the other/secondary employer with which the H-1B employer places any H-1B nonimmigrants (as described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section).

[65 FR 80228, Dec. 20, 2000]

§655.739   What is the “recruitment of U.S. workers” obligation that applies to H-1B-dependent employers and willful violators, and how does it operate?

An employer that is subject to this additional attestation obligation (under the standards described in §655.736) is required—prior to filing the LCA or any petition or request for extension of status supported by the LCA—to take good faith steps to recruit U. S. workers in the United States for the job(s) in the United States for which the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is/are sought. The recruitment shall use procedures that meet industry-wide standards and offer compensation that is at least as great as the required wage to be paid to H-1B nonimmigrants pursuant to §655.731(a) (i.e., the higher of the local prevailing wage or the employer's actual wage). The employer may use legitimate selection criteria relevant to the job that are normal or customary to the type of job involved, so long as such criteria are not applied in a discriminatory manner. This section provides guidance for the employer's compliance with the recruitment obligation.

(a) “United States worker” (“U.S. worker”) is defined in §655.715.

(b) “Industry,” for purposes of this section, means the set of employers which primarily compete for the same types of workers as those who are the subjects of the H-1B petitions to be filed pursuant to the LCA. Thus, a hospital, university, or computer software development firm is to use the recruitment standards utilized by the health care, academic, or information technology industries, respectively, in hiring workers in the occupations in question. Similarly, a staffing firm, which places its workers at job sites of other employers, is to use the recruitment standards of the industry which primarily employs such workers (e.g., the health care industry, if the staffing firm is placing physical therapists (whether in hospitals, nursing homes, or private homes); the information technology industry, if the staffing firm is placing computer programmers, software engineers, or other such workers).

(c) “Recruitment,” for purposes of this section, means the process by which an employer seeks to contact or to attract the attention of person(s) who may apply for employment, solicits applications from person(s) for employment, receives applications, and reviews and considers applications so as to present the appropriate candidates to the official(s) who make(s) the hiring decision(s) (i.e., pre-selection treatment of applications and applicants).

(d) “Solicitation methods,” for purposes of this section, means the techniques by which an employer seeks to contact or to attract the attention of potential applicants for employment, and to solicit applications from person(s) for employment.

(1) Solicitation methods may be either external or internal to the employer's workforce (with internal solicitation to include current and former employees).

(2) Solicitation methods may be either active (where an employer takes positive, proactive steps to identify potential applicants and to get information about its job openings into the hands of such person(s)) or passive (where potential applicants find their way to an employer's job announcements).

(i) Active solicitation methods include direct communication to incumbent workers in the employer's operation and to workers previously employed in the employer's operation and elsewhere in the industry; providing training to incumbent workers in the employer's organization; contact and outreach through collective bargaining organizations, trade associations and professional associations; participation in job fairs (including at minority-serving institutions, community/junior colleges, and vocational/technical colleges); use of placement services of colleges, universities, community/junior colleges, and business/trade schools; use of public and/or private employment agencies, referral agencies, or recruitment agencies (“headhunters”).

(ii) Passive solicitation methods include advertising in general distribution publications, trade or professional journals, or special interest publications (e.g., student-oriented; targeted to underrepresented groups, including minorities, persons with disabilities, and residents of rural areas); America's Job Bank or other Internet sites advertising job vacancies; notices at the employer's worksite(s) and/or on the employer's Internet “home page.”

(e) How are “industry-wide standards for recruitment” to be identified? An employer is not required to utilize any particular number or type of recruitment methods, and may make a determination of the standards for the industry through methods such as trade organization surveys, studies by consultative groups, or reports/statements from trade organizations. An employer which makes such a determination should be prepared to demonstrate the industry-wide standards in the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part. An employer's recruitment shall be at a level and through methods and media which are normal, common or prevailing in the industry, including those strategies that have been shown to be successfully used by employers in the industry to recruit U.S. workers. An employer may not utilize only the lowest common denominator of recruitment methods used in the industry, or only methods which could reasonably be expected to be likely to yield few or no U.S. worker applicants, even if such unsuccessful recruitment methods are commonly used by employers in the industry. An employer's recruitment methods shall include, at a minimum, the following:

(1) Both internal and external recruitment (i.e., both within the employer's workforce (former as well as current workers) and among U.S. workers elsewhere in the economy); and

(2) At least some active recruitment, whether internal (e.g., training the employer's U.S. worker(s) for the position(s)) or external (e.g., use of recruitment agencies or college placement services).

(f) How are “legitimate selection criteria relevant to the job that are normal or customary to the type of job involved” to be identified? In conducting recruitment of U.S. workers (i.e., in soliciting applications and in pre-selection screening or considering of applicants), an employer shall apply selection criteria which satisfy all of the following three standards (i.e., paragraph (b) (1) through (3)). Under these standards, an employer would not apply spurious criteria that discriminate against U.S. worker applicants in favor of H-1B nonimmigrants. An employer that uses criteria which fail to meet these standards would be considered to have failed to conduct its recruitment of U.S. workers in good faith.

(1) Legitimate criteria, meaning criteria which are legally cognizable and not violative of any applicable laws (e.g., employer may not use age, sex, race or national origin as selection criteria);.

(2) Relevant to the job, meaning criteria which have a nexus to the job's duties and responsibilities; and

(3) Normal and customary to the type of job involved, meaning criteria which would be necessary or appropriate based on the practices and expectations of the industry, rather than on the preferences of the particular employer.

(g) What actions would constitute a prohibited “discriminatory manner” of recruitment? The employer shall not apply otherwise-legitimate screening criteria in a manner which would skew the recruitment process in favor of H-1B nonimmigrants. In other words, the employer's application of its screening criteria shall provide full and fair solicitation and consideration of U.S. applicants. The recruitment would be considered to be conducted in a discriminatory manner if the employer applied its screening criteria in a disparate manner (whether between H-1B and U.S. workers, or between jobs where H-1B nonimmigrants are involved and jobs where such workers are not involved). The employer would also be considered to be recruiting in a discriminatory manner if it used screening criteria that are prohibited by any applicable discrimination law (e.g., sex, race, age, national origin). The employer that conducts recruitment in a discriminatory manner would be considered to have failed to conduct its recruitment of U.S. workers in good faith.

(h) What constitute “good faith steps” in recruitment of U.S. workers? The employer shall perform its recruitment, as described in paragraphs (d) through (g) of this section, so as to offer fair opportunities for employment to U.S. workers, without skewing the recruitment process against U.S. workers or in favor of H-1B nonimmigrants. No specific regimen is required for solicitation methods seeking applicants or for pre-selection treatment screening applicants. The employer's recruitment process, including pre-selection treatment, must assure that U.S. workers are given a fair chance for consideration for a job, rather than being ignored or rejected through a process that serves the employer's preferences with respect to the make up of its workforce (e.g., the Department would look with disfavor on a practice of interviewing H-1B applicants but not U.S. applicants, or a practice of screening the applications of H-1B nonimmigrants differently from the applications of U.S. workers). The employer shall not exercise a preference for its incumbent nonimmigrant workers who do not yet have H-1B status (e.g., workers on student visas). The employer shall recruit in the United States, seeking U.S. worker(s), for the job(s) in the United States for which H-1B nonimmigrant(s) are or will be sought.

(i) What documentation is the employer required to make or maintain, concerning its recruitment of U.S. workers?

(1) The employer shall maintain documentation of the recruiting methods used, including the places and dates of the advertisements and postings or other recruitment methods used, the content of the advertisements and postings, and the compensation terms (if such are not included in the content of the advertisements and postings). The documentation may be in any form, including copies of advertisements or proofs from the publisher, the order or confirmation from the publisher, an electronic or printed copy of the Internet posting, or a memorandum to the file.

(2) The employer shall retain any documentation it has received or prepared concerning the treatment of applicants, such as copies of applications and/or related documents, test papers, rating forms, records regarding interviews, and records of job offers and applicants' responses. To comply with this requirement, the employer is not required to create any documentation it would not otherwise create.

(3) The documentation maintained by the employer shall be made available to the Administrator in the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part. The documentation shall be maintained for the period of time specified in §655.760.

(4) The employer's public access file maintained in accordance with §655.760 shall contain information summarizing the principal recruitment methods used and the time frame(s) in which such recruitment methods were used. This may be accomplished either through a memorandum or through copies of pertinent documents.

(j) In addition to conducting good faith recruitment of U.S. workers (as described in paragraphs (a) through (h) of this section), the employer is required to have offered the job to any U.S. worker who applies and is equally or better qualified for the job than the H-1B nonimmigrant (see 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(G)(i)(II)); this requirement is enforced by the Department of Justice (see 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(5); 20 CFR 655.705(c)).

[65 FR 80231, Dec. 20, 2000]

§655.740   What actions are taken on labor condition applications?

(a) Actions on labor condition applications submitted for filing. Once a labor condition application has been received from an employer, a determination shall be made by the ETA Certifying Officer whether to certify the labor condition application or return it to the employer not certified.

(1) Certification of labor condition application. Where all items on Form ETA 9035 or Form ETA 9035E have been completed, the form is not obviously inaccurate, and in the case of Form ETA 9035, it contains the signature of the employer or its authorized agent or representative, the Certifying Officer shall certify the labor condition application unless it falls within one of the categories set forth in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. The Certifying Officer shall make a determination to certify or not certify the labor condition application within 7 working days of the date the application is received and date-stamped by the Department. If the labor condition application is certified, the Certifying Officer shall return a certified copy of the labor condition application to the employer or the employer's authorized agent or representative. The employer shall file the certified labor condition application with the appropriate DHS office in the manner prescribed by DHS. The DHS shall determine whether each occupational classification named in the certified labor condition application is a specialty occupation or is a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.

(2) Determinations not to certify labor condition applications. ETA shall not certify a labor condition application and shall return such application to the employer or the employer's authorized agent or representative, when either or both of the following two conditions exists:

(i) When the Form ETA 9035 or 9035E is not properly completed. Examples of a Form ETA 9035 or 9035E which is not properly completed include instances where the employer has failed to check all the necessary boxes; or where the employer has failed to state the occupational classification, number of nonimmigrants sought, wage rate, period of intended employment, place of intended employment, or prevailing wage and its source; or, in the case of Form ETA 9035, where the application does not contain the signature of the employer or the employer's authorized representative.

(ii) When the Form ETA 9035 or ETA 9035E contains obvious inaccuracies. An obvious inaccuracy will be found if the employer files an application in error—e.g., where the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, after notice and opportunity for a hearing pursuant to subpart I of this part, has notified ETA in writing that the employer has been disqualified from employing H-1B nonimmigrants under section 212(n)(2) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)) or from employing H-1B1 or E-3 nonimmigrants under section 212(t)(3) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(t)(3)). Examples of other obvious inaccuracies include stating a wage rate below the FLSA minimum wage, submitting an LCA earlier than six months before the beginning date of the period of intended employment, identifying multiple occupations on a single LCA, identifying a wage which is below the prevailing wage listed on the LCA, or identifying a wage range where the bottom of such wage range is lower than the prevailing wage listed on the LCA.

(3) Correction and resubmission of labor condition application. If the labor condition application is not certified pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) (i) or (ii) of this section, ETA shall return it to the employer, or the employer's authorized agent or representative, explaining the reasons for such return without certification. The employer may immediately submit a corrected application to ETA. A “resubmitted” or “corrected” labor condition application shall be treated as a new application by ETA (i.e., on a “first come, first served” basis) except that if the labor condition application is not certified pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section because of notification by the Administrator of the employer's disqualification, such action shall be the final decision of the Secretary and no application shall be resubmitted by the employer.

(b) Challenges to labor condition applications. ETA shall not consider information contesting a labor condition application received by ETA prior to the determination on the application. Such information shall not be made part of ETA's administrative record on the application, but shall be referred to ESA to be processed as a complaint pursuant to subpart I of this part, and, if such application is certified by ETA, the complaint will be handled by ESA under subpart I of this part.

(c) Truthfulness and adequacy of information. DOL is not the guarantor of the accuracy, truthfulness or adequacy of a certified labor condition application. The burden of proof is on the employer to establish the truthfulness of the information contained on the labor condition application.

[59 FR 65659, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, as amended at 65 FR 80232, Dec. 20, 2000; 66 FR 63302, Dec. 5, 2001; 69 FR 68228, Nov. 23, 2004; 70 FR 72563, Dec. 5, 2005; 73 FR 19949, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.750   What is the validity period of the labor condition application?

(a) Validity of certified labor condition applications. A labor condition application (LCA) certified under §655.740 is valid for the period of employment indicated by the authorized DOL official on Form ETA 9035E or ETA 9035. The validity period of an LCA will not begin before the application is certified. If the approved LCA is the initial LCA issued for the nonimmigrant, the period of authorized employment must not exceed 3 years for an LCA issued on behalf of an H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrant and must not exceed 2 years for an LCA issued on behalf of an E-3 nonimmigrant. If the approved LCA is for an extension of an H-1B1 it must not exceed two years. The period of authorized employment in the aggregate is based on the first date of employment and ends:

(1) In the case of an H-1B or initial H-1B1 LCA, on the latest date indicated or three years after the employment start date under the LCA, whichever comes first; or

(2) In the case of an E-3 or an H-1B1 extension LCA, on the latest date indicated or two years after the employment start date under the LCA, whichever comes first.

(b) Withdrawal of certified labor condition applications. (1) An employer who has filed a labor condition application which has been certified pursuant to §655.740 of this part may withdraw such labor condition application at any time before the expiration of the validity period of the application, provided that:

(i) H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants are not employed at the place of employment pursuant to the LCA; and

(ii) The Administrator has not commenced an investigation of the particular application. Any such request for withdrawal shall be null and void; and the employer shall remain bound by the labor condition application until the enforcement proceeding is completed, at which time the application may be withdrawn.

(2) Requests for withdrawals must be in writing and must be sent to ETA, Office of Foreign Labor Certification. ETA will publish the mailing address, and any future mailing address changes, in the Federal Register, and will also post the address on the DOL Web site at http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/.

(3) An employer shall comply with the “required wage rate” and “prevailing working conditions” statements of its labor condition application required under §§655.731 and 655.732 of this part, respectively, even if such application is withdrawn, at any time H-1B nonimmigrants are employed pursuant to the application, unless the application is superseded by a subsequent application which is certified by ETA.

(4) An employer's obligation to comply with the “no strike or lockout” and “notice” statements of its labor condition application (required under §§655.733 and 655.734 of this part, respectively), shall remain in effect and the employer shall remain subject to investigation and sanctions for misrepresentation on these statements even if such application is withdrawn, regardless of whether H-1B nonimmigrants are actually employed, unless the application is superseded by a subsequent application which is certified by ETA.

(5) Only for the purpose of assuring the labor standards protections afforded under the H-1B program, where an employer files a petition with DHS under the H-1B classification pursuant to a certified LCA that had been withdrawn by the employer, such petition filing binds the employer to all obligations under the withdrawn LCA immediately upon receipt of such petition by DHS.

(c) Invalidation or suspension of a labor condition application. (1) Invalidation of a labor condition application shall result from enforcement action(s) by the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, under subpart I of this part—e.g., a final determination finding the employer's failure to meet the application's condition regarding strike or lockout; or the employer's willful failure to meet the wage and working conditions provisions of the application; or the employer's substantial failure to meet the notice of specification requirements of the application; see §§655.734 and 655.760 of this part; or the misrepresentation of a material fact in an application. Upon notice by the Administrator of the employer's disqualification, ETA shall invalidate the application and notify the employer, or the employer's authorized agent or representative. ETA shall notify the employer in writing of the reason(s) that the application is invalidated. When a labor condition application is invalidated, such action shall be the final decision of the Secretary.

(2) Suspension of a labor condition application may result from a discovery by ETA that it made an error in certifying the application because such application is incomplete, contains one or more obvious inaccuracies, or has not been signed. In such event, ETA shall immediately notify DHS and the employer. When an application is suspended, the employer may immediately submit to the certifying officer a corrected or completed application. If ETA does not receive a corrected application within 30 days of the suspension, or if the employer was disqualified by the Administrator, the application shall be immediately invalidated as described in paragraph (c) of this section.

(3) An employer shall comply with the “required wages rate” and “prevailing working conditions” statements of its labor condition application required under §§655.731 and 655.732 of this part, respectively, even if such application is suspended or invalidated, at any time H-1B nonimmigrants are employed pursuant to the application, unless the application is superseded by a subsequent application which is certified by ETA.

(4) An employer's obligation to comply with the “no strike or lockout” and “notice” statements of its labor condition application (required under §§655.733 and 655.734 of this part, respectively), shall remain in effect and the employer shall remain subject to investigation and sanctions for misrepresentation on these statements even if such application is suspended or invalidated, regardless of whether H-1B nonimmigrants are actually employed, unless the application is superseded by a subsequent application which is certified by ETA.

(d) Employers subject to disqualification. No labor condition application shall be certified for an employer which has been found to be disqualified from participation, in the H-1B program as determined in a final agency action following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division pursuant to subpart I of this part.

[59 FR 65659, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, as amended at 65 FR 80232, Dec. 20, 2000; 66 FR 63302, Dec. 5, 2001; 70 FR 72563, Dec. 5, 2005; 73 FR 19949, Apr. 11, 2008]

§655.760   What records are to be made available to the public, and what records are to be retained?

Paragraphs (a)(1) thru (a)(6) and paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section also apply to the H-1B1 and E-3 visa categories.

(a) Public examination. The employer shall make a filed labor condition application and necessary supporting documentation available for public examination at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment within one working day after the date on which the labor condition application is filed with DOL. The following documentation shall be necessary:

(1) A copy of the certified labor condition application (Form ETA 9035E or Form ETA 9035) and cover pages (Form ETA 9035CP). If the Form ETA 9035E is submitted electronically, a printout of the certified application shall be signed by the employer and maintained in its files and included in the public examination file.

(2) Documentation which provides the wage rate to be paid the H-1B nonimmigrant;

(3) A full, clear explanation of the system that the employer used to set the “actual wage” the employer has paid or will pay workers in the occupation for which the H-1B nonimmigrant is sought, including any periodic increases which the system may provide—e.g., memorandum summarizing the system or a copy of the employer's pay system or scale (payroll records are not required, although they shall be made available to the Department in an enforcement action).

(4) A copy of the documentation the employer used to establish the “prevailing wage” for the occupation for which the H-1B nonimmigrant is sought (a general description of the source and methodology is all that is required to be made available for public examination; the underlying individual wage data relied upon to determine the prevailing wage is not a public record, although it shall be made available to the Department in an enforcement action); and

(5) A copy of the document(s) with which the employer has satisfied the union/employee notification requirements of §655.734 of this part.

(6) A summary of the benefits offered to U.S. workers in the same occupational classifications as H-1B nonimmigrants, a statement as to how any differentiation in benefits is made where not all employees are offered or receive the same benefits (such summary need not include proprietary information such as the costs of the benefits to the employer, or the details of stock options or incentive distributions), and/or, where applicable, a statement that some/all H-1B nonimmigrants are receiving “home country” benefits (see §655.731(c)(3));

(7) Where the employer undergoes a change in corporate structure, a sworn statement by a responsible official of the new employing entity that it accepts all obligations, liabilities and undertakings under the LCAs filed by the predecessor employing entity, together with a list of each affected LCA and its date of certification, and a description of the actual wage system and FEIN of the new employing entity (see §655.730(e)(1)).

(8) Where the employer utilizes the definition of “single employer”in the IRC, a list of any entities included as part of the single employer in making the determination as to its H-1B-dependency status (see §655.736(d)(7));

(9) Where the employer is H-1B-dependent and/or a willful violator, and indicates on the LCA(s) that only “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed, a list of such “exempt” H-1B nonimmigrants (see §655.737(e)(1));

(10) Where the employer is H-1B-dependent or a willful violator, a summary of the recruitment methods used and the time frames of recruitment of U.S. workers (or copies of pertinent documents showing this information) (see §655.739(i)(4).

(b) National lists of applications and attestations. ETA shall compile and maintain on a current basis a list of the labor condition applications filed under INA section 212(n) regarding H-1B nonimmigrants and a list of labor attestations filed under INA section 212(t) regarding H-1B1 nonimmigrants. Each list shall be by employer, showing the occupational classification, wage rate(s), number of nonimmigrants sought, period(s) of intended employment, and date(s) of need for each employer's application. The list shall be available for public examination at the Office of Foreign Labor Certification, Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room C-4312, Washington, DC 20210.

(c) Retention of records. Either at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment, the employer shall retain copies of the records required by this subpart for a period of one year beyond the last date on which any H-1B nonimmigrant is employed under the labor condition application or, if no nonimmigrants were employed under the labor condition application, one year from the date the labor condition application expired or was withdrawn. Required payroll records for the H-1B employees and other employees in the occupational classification shall be retained at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment for a period of three years from the date(s) of the creation of the record(s), except that if an enforcement action is commenced, all payroll records shall be retained until the enforcement proceeding is completed through the procedures set forth in subpart I of this part.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1205-0310)

[59 FR 65659, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, as amended at 60 FR 4029, Jan. 19, 1995; 65 FR 80232, Dec. 20, 2000; 66 FR 63302, Dec. 5, 2001; 69 FR 68228, Nov. 23, 2004; 70 FR 72563, Dec. 5, 2005; 71 FR 35521, June 21, 2006; 73 FR 19950, Apr. 11, 2008]

Subpart I—Enforcement of H-1B Labor Condition Applications and H-1B1 and E-3 Labor Attestations

Source: 59 FR 65672, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, unless otherwise noted.

§655.800   Who will enforce the LCAs and how will they be enforced?

(a) Authority of Administrator. Except as provided in §655.807, the Administrator shall perform all the Secretary's investigative and enforcement functions under sections 212(n) and (t) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(n) and (t)) and this subpart I and subpart H of this part.

(b) Conduct of investigations. The Administrator, either pursuant to a complaint or otherwise, shall conduct such investigations as may be appropriate and, in connection therewith, enter and inspect such places and such records (and make transcriptions or copies thereof), question such persons and gather such information as deemed necessary by the Administrator to determine compliance regarding the matters which are the subject of the investigation.

(c) Employer cooperation/availability of records. An employer shall at all times cooperate in administrative and enforcement proceedings. An employer being investigated shall make available to the Administrator such records, information, persons, and places as the Administrator deems appropriate to copy, transcribe, question, or inspect. No employer subject to the provisions of sections 212(n) or (t) of the INA and/or this subpart I or subpart H of this part shall interfere with any official of the Department of Labor performing an investigation, inspection or law enforcement function pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1182(n) or (t) or this subpart I or subpart H of this part. Any such interference shall be a violation of the labor condition application and this subpart I and subpart H of this part, and the Administrator may take such further actions as the Administrator considers appropriate. (Federal criminal statutes prohibit certain interference with a Federal officer in the performance of official duties. 18 U.S.C. 111 and 18 U.S.C. 1114.)

(d) Confidentiality. The Administrator shall, to the extent possible under existing law, protect the confidentiality of any person who provides information to the Department in confidence in the course of an investigation or otherwise under this subpart I or subpart H of this part.

[65 FR 80233, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 69 FR 68228, Nov. 23, 2004]

§655.801   What protection do employees have from retaliation?

(a) No employer subject to this subpart I or subpart H of this part shall intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee (which term includes a former employee or an applicant for employment) because the employee has—

(1) Disclosed information to the employer, or to any other person, that the employee reasonably believes evidences a violation of sections 212(n) or (t) of the INA or any regulation relating to sections 212(n) or (t), including this subpart I and subpart H of this part and any pertinent regulations of DHS or the Department of Justice; or

(2) Cooperated or sought to cooperate in an investigation or other proceeding concerning the employer's compliance with the requirements of sections 212(n) or (t) of the INA or any regulation relating to sections 212(n) or (t).

(b) It shall be a violation of this section for any employer to engage in the conduct described in paragraph (a) of this section. Such conduct shall be subject to the penalties prescribed by sections 212(n)(2)(C)(ii) or (t)(3)(C)(ii) of the INA and §655.810(b)(2), i.e., a fine of up to $7,846, disqualification from filing petitions under section 204 or section 214(c) of the INA for at least two years, and such further administrative remedies as the Administrator considers appropriate.

(c) Pursuant to sections 212(n)(2)(C)(v) and (t)(3)(C)(v) of the INA, an H-1B nonimmigrant who has filed a complaint alleging that an employer has discriminated against the employee in violation of paragraph (a)(1) of this section may be allowed to seek other appropriate employment in the United States, provided the employee is otherwise eligible to remain and work in the United States. Such employment may not exceed the maximum period of stay authorized for a nonimmigrant classified under sections 212(n) or (t) of the INA, as applicable. Further information concerning this provision should be sought from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security.

[65 FR 80233, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 69 FR 68229, Nov. 23, 2004; 71 FR 35521, June 21, 2006; 81 FR 43448, July 1, 2016; 82 FR 5380, Jan. 18, 2017; 83 FR 11, Jan. 2, 2018; 84 FR 217, Jan. 23, 2019; 85 FR 2296, Jan. 15, 2020]

§655.805   What violations may the Administrator investigate?

(a) The Administrator, through investigation, shall determine whether an H-1B employer has—

(1) Filed a labor condition application with ETA which misrepresents a material fact (Note to paragraph (a)(1): Federal criminal statutes provide penalties of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years for knowing and willful submission of false statements to the Federal Government. 18 U.S.C. 1001; see also 18 U.S.C. 1546);

(2) Failed to pay wages (including benefits provided as compensation for services), as required under §655.731 (including payment of wages for certain nonproductive time);

(3) Failed to provide working conditions as required under §655.732;

(4) Filed a labor condition application for H-1B nonimmigrants during a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the occupational classification at the place of employment, as prohibited by §655.733;

(5) Failed to provide notice of the filing of the labor condition application, as required in §655.734;

(6) Failed to specify accurately on the labor condition application the number of workers sought, the occupational classification in which the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) will be employed, or the wage rate and conditions under which the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) will be employed;

(7) Displaced a U.S. worker (including displacement of a U.S. worker employed by a secondary employer at the worksite where an H-1B worker is placed), as prohibited by §655.738 (if applicable);

(8) Failed to make the required displacement inquiry of another employer at a worksite where H-1B nonimmigrant(s) were placed, as set forth in §655.738 (if applicable);

(9) Failed to recruit in good faith, as required by §655.739 (if applicable);

(10) Displaced a U.S. worker in the course of committing a willful violation of any of the conditions in paragraphs (a)(2) through (9) of this section, or willful misrepresentation of a material fact on a labor condition application;

(11) Required or accepted from an H-1B nonimmigrant payment or remittance of the additional $500/$1,000 fee incurred in filing an H-1B petition with the DHS, as prohibited by §655.731(c)(10)(ii);

(12) Required or attempted to require an H-1B nonimmigrant to pay a penalty for ceasing employment prior to an agreed upon date, as prohibited by §655.731(c)(10)(i);

(13) Discriminated against an employee for protected conduct, as prohibited by §655.801;

(14) Failed to make available for public examination the application and necessary document(s) at the employer's principal place of business or worksite, as required by §655.760(a);

(15) Failed to maintain documentation, as required by this part; and

(16) Failed otherwise to comply in any other manner with the provisions of this subpart I or subpart H of this part.

(b) The determination letter setting forth the investigation findings (see §655.815) shall specify if the violations were found to be substantial or willful. Penalties may be assessed and disqualification ordered for violation of the provisions in paragraphs (a)(5), (6), or (9) of this section only if the violation was found to be substantial or willful. The penalties may be assessed and disqualification ordered for violation of the provisions in paragraphs (a)(2) or (3) of this section only if the violation was found to be willful, but the Secretary may order payment of back wages (including benefits) due for such violation whether or not the violation was willful.

(c) For purposes of this part, “willful failure” means a knowing failure or a reckless disregard with respect to whether the conduct was contrary to sections 212(n)(1)(A)(i) or (ii), or 212(t)(1)(A)(i) or (ii) of the INA, or §§655.731 or 655.732. See McLaughlin v. Richland Shoe Co., 486 U.S. 128 (1988); see also Trans World Airlines v. Thurston, 469 U.S. 111 (1985).

(d) The provisions of this part become applicable upon the date that the employer's LCA is certified pursuant to §§655.740 and 655.750, or upon the date employment commences pursuant to section 214(m) of the INA, whichever is earlier. The employer's submission and signature on the LCA (whether Form ETA 9035 or Form ETA 9035E) each constitutes the employer's representation that the statements on the LCA are accurate and its acknowledgment and acceptance of the obligations of the program. The employer's acceptance of these obligations is re-affirmed by the employer's submission of the petition (Form I-129) to the DHS, supported by the LCA. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(B)(2), which specifies that the employer will comply with the terms of the LCA for the duration of the H-1B nonimmigrant's authorized period of stay. If the period of employment specified in the LCA expires or the employer withdraws the application in accordance with §655.750(b), the provisions of this part will no longer apply with respect to such application, except as provided in §655.750(b)(3) and (4).

[65 FR 80233, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 66 FR 63302, Dec. 5, 2001; 69 FR 68229, Nov. 23, 2004]

§655.806   Who may file a complaint and how is it processed?

(a) Any aggrieved party, as defined in §655.715, may file a complaint alleging a violation described in §655.805(a). The procedures for filing a complaint by an aggrieved party and its processing by the Administrator are set forth in this section. The procedures for filing and processing information alleging violations from persons or organizations that are not aggrieved parties are set forth in §655.807. With regard to complaints filed by any aggrieved person or organization—

(1) No particular form of complaint is required, except that the complaint shall be written or, if oral, shall be reduced to writing by the Wage and Hour Division official who receives the complaint.

(2) The complaint shall set forth sufficient facts for the Administrator to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation as described in §655.805 has been committed, and therefore that an investigation is warranted. This determination shall be made within 10 days of the date that the complaint is received by a Wage and Hour Division official. If the Administrator determines that the complaint fails to present reasonable cause for an investigation, the Administrator shall so notify the complainant, who may submit a new complaint, with such additional information as may be necessary. No hearing or appeal pursuant to this subpart shall be available where the Administrator determines that an investigation on a complaint is not warranted.

(3) If the Administrator determines that an investigation on a complaint is warranted, the complaint shall be accepted for filing; an investigation shall be conducted and a determination issued within 30 calendar days of the date of filing. The time for the investigation may be increased with the consent of the employer and the complainant, or if, for reasons outside of the control of the Administrator, the Administrator needs additional time to obtain information needed from the employer or other sources to determine whether a violation has occurred. No hearing or appeal pursuant to this subpart shall be available regarding the Administrator's determination that an investigation on a complaint is warranted.

(4) In the event that the Administrator seeks a prevailing wage determination from ETA pursuant to §655.731(d), or advice as to prevailing working conditions from ETA pursuant to §655.732(c)(2), the 30-day investigation period shall be suspended from the date of the Administrator's request to the date of the Administrator's receipt of the wage determination (or, in the event that the employer challenges the wage determination through the Employment Service complaint system, to the date of the completion of such complaint process).

(5) A complaint must be filed not later than 12 months after the latest date on which the alleged violation(s) were committed, which would be the date on which the employer allegedly failed to perform an action or fulfill a condition specified in the LCA, or the date on which the employer, through its action or inaction, allegedly demonstrated a misrepresentation of a material fact in the LCA. This jurisdictional bar does not affect the scope of the remedies which may be assessed by the Administrator. Where, for example, a complaint is timely filed, back wages may be assessed for a period prior to one year before the filing of a complaint.

(6) A complaint may be submitted to any local Wage and Hour Division office. The addresses of such offices are found in local telephone directories, and on the Department's informational site on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/dol/esa/public/contacts/whd/america2.htm. The office or person receiving such a complaint shall refer it to the office of the Wage and Hour Division administering the area in which the reported violation is alleged to have occurred.

(b) When an investigation has been conducted, the Administrator shall, pursuant to §655.815, issue a written determination as described in §655.805(a).

[65 FR 80234, Dec. 20, 2000]

§655.807   How may someone who is not an “aggrieved party” allege violations, and how will those allegations be processed?

(a) Persons who are not aggrieved parties may submit information concerning possible violations of the provisions described in §655.805(a)(1) through (4) and (a)(7) through (9). No particular form is required to submit the information, except that the information shall be submitted in writing or, if oral, shall be reduced to writing by the Wage and Hour Division official who receives the information. An optional form shall be available to be used in setting forth the information. The information provided shall include:

(1) The identity of the person submitting the information and the person's relationship, if any, to the employer or other information concerning the person's basis for having knowledge of the employer's employment practices or its compliance with the requirements of this subpart I and subpart H of this part; and

(2) A description of the possible violation, including a description of the facts known to the person submitting the information, in sufficient detail for the Secretary to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that the employer has committed a willful violation of the provisions described in §655.805(a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (7), (8), or (9).

(b) The Administrator may interview the person submitting the information as appropriate to obtain further information to determine whether the requirements of this section are met. In addition, the person submitting information under this section shall be informed that his or her identity will not be disclosed to the employer without his or her permission.

(c) Information concerning possible violations must be submitted not later than 12 months after the latest date on which the alleged violation(s) were committed. The 12-month period shall be applied in the manner described in §655.806(a)(5).

(d) Upon receipt of the information, the Administrator shall promptly review the information submitted and determine:

(1) Does the source likely possess knowledge of the employer's practices or employment conditions or the employer's compliance with the requirements of subpart H of this part?

(2) Has the source provided specific credible information alleging a violation of the requirements of the conditions described in §655.805(a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (7), (8), or (9)?

(3) Does the information in support of the allegations appear to provide reasonable cause to believe that the employer has committed a violation of the provisions described in §655.805(a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (7), (8), or (9), and that

(i) The alleged violation is willful?

(ii) The employer has engaged in a pattern or practice of violations? or

(iii) The employer has committed substantial violations, affecting multiple employees?

(e) “Information” within the meaning of this section does not include information from an officer or employee of the Department of Labor unless it was obtained in the course of a lawful investigation, and does not include information submitted by the employer to the DHS or the Secretary in securing the employment of an H-1B nonimmigrant.

(f)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (f)(2) of this section, where the Administrator has received information from a source other than an aggrieved party which satisfies all of the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section, or where the Administrator or another agency of the Department obtains such information in a lawful investigation under this or any other section of the INA or any other Act, the Administrator (by mail or facsimile transmission) shall promptly notify the employer that the information has been received, describe the nature of the allegation in sufficient detail to permit the employer to respond, and request that the employer respond to the allegation within 10 days of its receipt of the notification. The Administrator shall not identify the source or information which would reveal the identity of the source without his or her permission.

(2) The Administrator may dispense with notification to the employer of the alleged violations if the Administrator determines that such notification might interfere with an effort to secure the employer's compliance. This determination shall not be subject to review in any administrative proceeding and shall not be subject to judicial review.

(g) After receipt of any response to the allegations provided by the employer, the Administrator will promptly review all of the information received and determine whether the allegations should be referred to the Secretary for a determination whether an investigation should be commenced by the Administrator.

(h) If the Administrator refers the allegations to the Secretary, the Secretary shall make a determination as to whether to authorize an investigation under this section.

(1) No investigation shall be commenced unless the Secretary (or the Deputy Secretary or other Acting Secretary in the absence or disability) personally authorizes the investigation and certifies—

(i) That the information provided under paragraph (a) of this section or obtained pursuant to a lawful investigation by the Department of Labor provides reasonable cause to believe that the employer has committed a violation of the provisions described in §655.805(a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (7), (8), or (9);

(ii) That there is reasonable cause to believe the alleged violations are willful, that the employer has engaged in a pattern or practice of such violations, or that the employer has committed substantial violations, affecting multiple employees; and

(iii) That the other requirements of paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section have been met.

(2) No hearing shall be available from a decision by the Administrator declining to refer allegations addressed by this section to the Secretary, and none shall be available from a decision by the Secretary certifying or declining to certify that an investigation is warranted.

(i) If the Secretary issues a certification, an investigation shall be conducted and a determination issued within 30 days after the certification is received by the local Wage and Hour office undertaking the investigation. The time for the investigation may be increased upon the agreement of the employer and the Administrator or, if for reasons outside of the control of the Administrator, additional time is necessary to obtain information needed from the employer or other sources to determine whether a violation has occurred.

(j) In the event that the Administrator seeks a prevailing wage determination from ETA pursuant to §655.731(d), or advice as to prevailing working conditions from ETA pursuant to §655.732(c)(2), the 30-day investigation period shall be suspended from the date of the Administrator's request to the date of the Administrator's receipt of the wage determination (or, in the event that the employer challenges the wage determination through the Employment Service complaint system, to the date of the completion of such complaint process).

(k) Following the investigation, the Administrator shall issue a determination in accordance with to §655.815.

(l) This section shall expire on September 30, 2003 unless section 212(n)(2)(G) of the INA is extended by future legislative action. Absent such extension, no investigation shall be certified by the Secretary under this section after that date; however, any investigation certified on or before September 30, 2003 may be completed.

[65 FR 80234, Dec. 20, 2000]

§655.808   Under what circumstances may random investigations be conducted?

(a) The Administrator may conduct random investigations of an employer during a five-year period beginning with the date of any of the following findings, provided such date is on or after October 21, 1998:

(1) A finding by the Secretary that the employer willfully violated

any of the provisions described in §655.805(a)(1) through (9);

(2) A finding by the Secretary that the employer willfully misrepresented material fact(s) in a labor condition application filed pursuant to §655.730; or

(3) A finding by the Attorney General that the employer willfully failed to meet the condition of section 212(n)(1)(G)(i)(II) of the INA (pertaining to an offer of employment to an equally or better qualified U.S. worker).

(b) A finding within the meaning of this section is a final, unappealed decision of the agency. See §§655.520(a), 655.845(c), and 655.855(b).

(c) An investigation pursuant to this section may be made at any time the Administrator, in the exercise of discretion, considers appropriate, without regard to whether the Administrator has reason to believe a violation of the provisions of this subpart I and subpart H of this part has been committed. Following an investigation, the Administrator shall issue a determination in accordance with §655.815.

[65 FR 80236, Dec. 20, 2000]

§655.810   What remedies may be ordered if violations are found?

(a) Upon determining that an employer has failed to pay wages or provide fringe benefits as required by §655.731 and §655.732, the Administrator shall assess and oversee the payment of back wages or fringe benefits to any H-1B nonimmigrant who has not been paid or provided fringe benefits as required. The back wages or fringe benefits shall be equal to the difference between the amount that should have been paid and the amount that actually was paid to (or with respect to) such nonimmigrant(s).

(b) Civil money penalties. The Administrator may assess civil money penalties for violations as follows:

(1) An amount not to exceed $1,928 per violation for:

(i) A violation pertaining to strike/lockout (§655.733) or displacement of U.S. workers (§655.738);

(ii) A substantial violation pertaining to notification (§655.734), labor condition application specificity (§655.730), or recruitment of U.S. workers (§655.739);

(iii) A misrepresentation of material fact on the labor condition application;

(iv) An early-termination penalty paid by the employee (§655.731(c)(10)(i));

(v) Payment by the employee of the additional $500/$1,000 filing fee (§655.731(c)(10)(ii)); or

(vi) Violation of the requirements of the regulations in this subpart I and subpart H of this part or the provisions regarding public access (§655.760) where the violation impedes the ability of the Administrator to determine whether a violation of sections 212(n) or (t) of the INA has occurred or the ability of members of the public to have information needed to file a complaint or information regarding alleged violations of sections 212(n) or (t) of the INA;

(2) An amount not to exceed $7,846 per violation for:

(i) A willful failure pertaining to wages/working conditions (§§655.731, 655.732), strike/lockout, notification, labor condition application specificity, displacement (including placement of an H-1B nonimmigrant at a worksite where the other/secondary employer displaces a U.S. worker), or recruitment;

(ii) A willful misrepresentation of a material fact on the labor condition application; or

(iii) Discrimination against an employee (§655.801(a)); or

(3) An amount not to exceed $54,921 per violation where an employer (whether or not the employer is an H-1B-dependent employer or willful violator) displaced a U.S. worker employed by the employer in the period beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after the filing of an H-1B petition in conjunction with any of the following violations:

(i) A willful violation of any of the provisions described in §655.805(a)(2) through (9) pertaining to wages/working condition, strike/lockout, notification, labor condition application specificity, displacement, or recruitment; or

(ii) A willful misrepresentation of a material fact on the labor condition application (§655.805(a)(1)).

(c) In determining the amount of the civil money penalty to be assessed, the Administrator shall consider the type of violation committed and other relevant factors. The factors which may be considered include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Previous history of violation, or violations, by the employer under the INA and this subpart I or subpart H of this part;

(2) The number of workers affected by the violation or violations;

(3) The gravity of the violation or violations;

(4) Efforts made by the employer in good faith to comply with the provisions of 8 U.S.C. 1182(n) or (t) and this subparts H and I of this part;

(5) The employer's explanation of the violation or violations;

(6) The employer's commitment to future compliance; and

(7) The extent to which the employer achieved a financial gain due to the violation, or the potential financial loss, potential injury or adverse effect with respect to other parties.

(d) Disqualification from approval of petitions. The Administrator shall notify the DHS pursuant to §655.855 that the employer shall be disqualified from approval of any petitions filed by, or on behalf of, the employer pursuant to section 204 or section 214(c) of the INA for the following periods:

(1) At least one year for violation(s) of any of the provisions specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section;

(2) At least two years for violation(s) of any of the provisions specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section; or

(3) At least three years, for violation(s) specified in paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

(e) Other administrative remedies. (1) If the Administrator finds a violation of the provisions specified in paragraph (b)(1)(iv) or (v) of this section, the Administrator may issue an order requiring the employer to return to the employee (or pay to the U.S. Treasury if the employee cannot be located) any money paid by the employee in violation of those provisions.

(2) If the Administrator finds a violation of the provisions specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) through (iii), (b)(2), or (b)(3) of this section, the Administrator may impose such other administrative remedies as the Administrator determines to be appropriate, including but not limited to reinstatement of workers who were discriminated against in violation of §655.805(a), reinstatement of displaced U.S. workers, back wages to workers who have been displaced or whose employment has been terminated in violation of these provisions, or other appropriate legal or equitable remedies.

(f) The civil money penalties, back wages, and/or any other remedy(ies) determined by the Administrator to be appropriate are immediately due for payment or performance upon the assessment by the Administrator, or upon the decision by an administrative law judge where a hearing is timely requested, or upon the decision by the Secretary where review is granted. The employer shall remit the amount of the civil money penalty by certified check or money order made payable to the order of “Wage and Hour Division, Labor.” The remittance shall be delivered or mailed to the Wage and Hour Division office in the manner directed in the Administrator's notice of determination. The payment or performance of any other remedy prescribed by the Administrator shall follow procedures established by the Administrator. Distribution of back wages shall be administered in accordance with existing procedures established by the Administrator.

(g) The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended (28 U.S.C. 2461 note), requires that inflationary adjustments to civil money penalties in accordance with a specified cost-of-living formula be made, by regulation, at least every four years. The adjustments are to be based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the U.S. City Average for All Items. The adjusted amounts will be published in the Federal Register. The amount of the penalty in a particular case will be based on the amount of the penalty in effect at the time the violation occurs.

[65 FR 80236, Dec. 20, 2000, as amended at 69 FR 68229, Nov. 23, 2004; 81 FR 43448, July 1, 2016; 82 FR 5380, Jan. 18, 2017; 83 FR 11, Jan. 2, 2018; 84 FR 217, Jan. 23, 2019; 85 FR 2296, Jan. 15, 2019]

§655.815   What are the requirements for the Administrator's determination?

(a) The Administrator's determination, issued pursuant to §655.806, 655.807, or 655.808, shall be served on the complainant, the employer, and other known interested parties by personal service or by certified mail at the parties' last known addresses. Where service by certified mail is not accepted by the party, the Administrator may exercise discretion to serve the determination by regular mail.

(b) The Administrator shall file with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, a copy of the complaint and the Administrator's determination.

(c) The Administrator's written determination required by §655.805 of this part shall:

(1) Set forth the determination of the Administrator and the reason or reasons therefor, and in the case of a finding of violation(s) by an employer, prescribe any remedies, including the amount of any back wages assessed, the amount of any civil money penalties assessed and the reason therefor, and/or any other remedies assessed.

(2) Inform the interested parties that they may request a hearing pursuant to §655.820 of this part.

(3) Inform the interested parties that in the absence of a timely request for a hearing, received by the Chief Administrative Law Judge within 15 calendar days of the date of the determination, the determination of the Administrator shall become final and not appealable.

(4) Set forth the procedure for requesting a hearing, give the addresses of the Chief Administrative Law Judge (with whom the request must be filed) and the representative(s) of the Solicitor of labor (upon whom copies of the request must be served).

(5) Where appropriate, inform the parties that, pursuant to §655.855, the Administrator shall notify ETA and the DHS of the occurrence of a violation by the employer.

[59 FR 65672, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, as amended at 65 FR 80237, Dec. 20, 2000]

§655.820   How is a hearing requested?

(a) Any interested party desiring review of a determination issued under §§655.805 and 655.815, including judicial review, shall make a request for such an administrative hearing in writing to the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the address stated in the notice of determination. If such a request for an administrative hearing is timely filed, the Administrator's determination shall be inoperative unless and until the case is dismissed or the Administrative Law Judge issues an order affirming the decision.

(b) Interested parties may request a hearing in the following circumstances:

(1) The complainant or any other interested party may request a hearing where the Administrator determines, after investigation, that there is no basis for a finding that an employer has committed violation(s). In such a proceeding, the party requesting the hearing shall be the prosecuting party and the employer shall be the respondent; the Administrator may intervene as a party or appear as amicus curiae at any time in the proceeding, at the Administrator's discretion.

(2) The employer or any other interested party may request a hearing where the Administrator determines, after investigation, that the employer has committed violation(s). In such a proceeding, the Administrator shall be the prosecuting party and the employer shall be the respondent.

(c) No particular form is prescribed for any request for hearing permitted by this section. However, any such request shall:

(1) Be dated;

(2) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(3) Specify the issue or issues stated in the notice of determination giving rise to such request;

(4) State the specific reason or reasons why the party requesting the hearing believes such determination is in error;

(5) Be signed by the party making the request or by an authorized representative of such party; and

(6) Include the address at which such party or authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto.

(d) The request for such hearing shall be received by the Chief Administrative Law Judge, at the address stated in the Administrator's notice of determination, no later than 15 calendar days after the date of the determination. An interested party which fails to meet this 15-day deadline for requesting a hearing may thereafter participate in the proceedings only by consent of the administrative law judge, either through intervention as a party pursuant to 29 CFR 18.10 (b) through (d) or through participation as an amicus curiae pursuant to 29 CFR 18.12.

(e) The request may be filed in person, by facsimile transmission, by certified or regular mail, or by courier service. For the requesting party's protection, if the request is by mail, it should be by certified mail. If the request is by facsimile transmission, the original of the request, signed by the requestor or authorized representative, shall be filed within ten days.

(f) Copies of the request for a hearing shall be sent by the requestor to the Wage and Hour Division official who issued the Administrator's notice of determination, to the representative(s) of the Solicitor of Labor identified in the notice of determination, and to all known interested parties.

[59 FR 65672, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, as amended at 65 FR 80237, Dec. 20, 2000]

§655.825   What rules of practice apply to the hearing?

(a) Except as specifically provided in this subpart, and to the extent they do not conflict with the provisions of this subpart, the “Rules of Practice and Procedure for Administrative Hearings Before the Office of Administrative Law Judges” established by the Secretary at 29 CFR part 18 shall apply to administrative proceedings under this subpart.

(b) As provided in the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 556, any oral or documentary evidence may be received in proceedings under this part. The Federal Rules of Evidence and subpart B of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for Administrative Hearings Before the Office of Administrative Law Judges (29 CFR part 18, subpart B) shall not apply, but principles designed to ensure production of relevant and probative evidence shall guide the admission of evidence. The administrative law judge may exclude evidence which is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitive.

§655.830   What rules apply to service of pleadings?

(a) Under this subpart, a party may serve any pleading or document by regular mail. Service on a party is complete upon mailing to the last known address. No additional time for filing or response is authorized where service is by mail. In the interest of expeditious proceedings, the administrative law judge may direct the parties to serve pleadings or documents by a method other than regular mail.

(b) Two (2) copies of all pleadings and other documents in any administrative law judge proceeding shall be served on the attorneys for the Administrator. One copy shall be served on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-2716, Washington, DC 20210, and one copy shall be served on the attorney representing the Administrator in the proceeding.

(c) Time will be computed beginning with the day following the action and includes the last day of the period unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or federally-observed holiday, in which case the time period includes the next business day.

§655.835   How will the administrative law judge conduct the proceeding?

(a) Upon receipt of a timely request for a hearing filed pursuant to and in accordance with §655.820 of this part, the Chief Administrative Law Judge shall promptly appoint an administrative law judge to hear the case.

(b) Within 7 calendar days following the assignment of the case, the administrative law judge shall notify all interested parties of the date, time and place of the hearing. All parties shall be given at least fourteen calendar days notice of such hearing.

(c) The date of the hearing shall be not more than 60 calendar days from the date of the Administrator's determination. Because of the time constraints imposed by the INA, no request for postponement shall be granted except for compelling reasons. Even where such reasons are shown, no request for postponement of the hearing beyond the 60-day deadline shall be granted except by consent of all the parties to the proceeding.

(d) The administrative law judge may prescribe a schedule by which the parties are permitted to file a prehearing brief or other written statement of fact or law. Any such brief or statement shall be served upon each other party in accordance with §655.830 of this part. Posthearing briefs will not be permitted except at the request of the administrative law judge. When permitted, any such brief shall be limited to the issue or issues specified by the administrative law judge, shall be due within the time prescribed by the administrative law judge, and shall be served on each other party in accordance with §655.830 of this part.

§655.840   What are the requirements for a decision and order of the administrative law judge?

(a) Within 60 calendar days after the date of the hearing, the administrative law judge shall issue a decision. If any party desires review of the decision, including judicial review, a petition for Secretary's review thereof shall be filed as provided in §655.845 of this subpart. If a petition for review is filed, the decision of the administrative law judge shall be inoperative unless and until the Secretary issues an order affirming the decision, or, unless and until 30 calendar days have passed after the Secretary's receipt of the petition for review and the Secretary has not issued notice to the parties that the Secretary will review the administrative law judge's decision.

(b) The decision of the administrative law judge shall include a statement of findings and conclusions, with reasons and basis therefor, upon each material issue presented on the record. The decision shall also include an appropriate order which may affirm, deny, reverse, or modify, in whole or in part, the determination of the Administrator; the reason or reasons for such order shall be stated in the decision.

(c) In the event that the Administrator's determination of wage violation(s) and computation of back wages are based upon a wage determination obtained by the Administrator from ETA during the investigation (pursuant to §655.731(d)) and the administrative law judge determines that the Administrator's request was not warranted (under the standards in §655.731(d)), the administrative law judge shall remand the matter to the Administrator for further proceedings on the existence of wage violations and/or the amount(s) of back wages owed. If there is no such determination and remand by the administrative law judge, the administrative law judge shall accept as final and accurate the wage determination obtained from ETA or, in the event either the employer or another interested party filed a timely complaint through the Employment Service complaint system, the final wage determination resulting from that process. See §655.731; see also 20 CFR 658.420 through 658.426. Under no circumstances shall the administrative law judge determine the validity of the wage determination or require submission into evidence or disclosure of source data or the names of establishments contacted in developing the survey which is the basis for the prevailing wage determination.

(d) The administrative law judge shall not render determinations as to the legality of a regulatory provision or the constitutionality of a statutory provision.

(e) The decision shall be served on all parties in person or by certified or regular mail.

[59 FR 65672, 65676, Dec. 20, 1994, as amended at 65 FR 80237, Dec. 20, 2000]

§655.845   What rules apply to appeal of the decision of the administrative law judge?

(a) The Administrator or any interested party desiring review of the decision and order of an administrative law judge, including judicial review, shall petition the Department's Administrative Review Board (Board) to review the decision and order. To be effective, such petition shall be received by the Board within 30 calendar days of the date of the decision and order. Copies of the petition shall be served on all parties and on the administrative law judge.

(b) No particular form is prescribed for any petition for the Board's review permitted by this subpart. However, any such petition shall:

(1) Be dated;

(2) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(3) Specify the issue or issues stated in the administrative law judge decision and order giving rise to such petition;

(4) State the specific reason or reasons why the party petitioning for review believes such decision and order are in error;

(5) Be signed by the party filing the petition or by an authorized representative of such party;

(6) Include the address at which such party or authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto; and

(7) Attach copies of the administrative law judge's's decision and order, and any other record documents which would assist the Board in determining whether review is warranted.

(c) Whenever the Board determines to review the decision and order of an administrative law judge, a notice of the Board's determination shall be served upon the administrative law judge, upon the Office of Administrative Law Judges, and upon all parties to the proceeding within 30 calendar days after the Board's receipt of the petition for review. If the Board determines that it will review the decision and order, the order shall be inoperative unles