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DOL Announces Comprehensive Final Rule on H-2B Labor Certification Program

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration and Wage and Hour Division announced on February 10, 2012, a final rule on the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker program. The rule, which will be effective on April 23 and will be published in the February 21 edition of the Federal Register, includes changes to several aspects of the program intended to ensure that U.S. workers receive greater access to jobs. The H-2B program is limited by law to a cap of 66,000 visas per year.

The final rule creates a national registry for all H-2B job postings and increases the recruitment period for U.S. workers. The rule also requires the rehiring of former employees when available.

In addition, the rule extends H-2B program benefits, such as transportation costs and wages, to U.S. workers performing substantially the same work as H-2B workers. Worker protections also will be strengthened by enhanced transparency throughout the employment process, the DOL said in a press release.

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