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e-CFR data is current as of August 6, 2020

Title 20Chapter VPart 655Subpart B → Subject Group


Title 20: Employees' Benefits
PART 655—TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGN WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES
Subpart B—Labor Certification Process for Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States (H-2A Workers)


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]

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