On Oct. 25, the Department of Labor published a 60-day notice in the Federal Register announcing its intent to revise application forms, instructions, and other information collected under the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program.
This is the beginning of a larger roll-out of H-2A administrative reforms from the DOL in cooperation with the Departments of Agriculture and Homeland Security. The proposed revisions are designed to better align information collection requirements with the DOL's H-2A regulations, provide greater clarity to employers on regulatory requirements, standardize and streamline information collection for employers preparing H-2A applications and job orders, and promote greater efficiency and transparency in the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's (OFLC) review and issuance of labor certification decisions.
There are several changes that aim to make it easier for growers to use the program. In part, the DOL proposes revisions to the Forms ETA-9142A and ETA-790 to eliminate redundancy by collecting the material terms and conditions of the job opportunity in a significantly revised ETA-790 and ETA-790A with addenda and incorporating standardized language for required employer assurances.
The new form will not require employers to carefully transpose information from one form to another with every filing. Another proposed change would replace paper certifications with electronic options that eliminate the need to wait for the original to arrive in the mail.
There are also several revisions to the “attestation” form (“Appendix A” to the Form 9142A), including a
change from “There are no U.S. workers available” to “There are insufficient U.S. workers available.”
The full set of proposed forms and DOL explanation are available at the website for the Office of Foreign Labor Certification.
There will be a 60-day comment period on the proposed changes to the forms with comments due by December 24. Agricultural employer groups will likely be submitting comments on the form changes in the coming weeks. AmericanHort encourages members whose company uses the H-2A program to provide their thoughts.
The DOL's prefers to receive comments via email. The address is ETA.OFLC.Forms@dol.gov.