H-2A rule is finalized
The Department of Labor (DOL) is amending its regulations governing the certification of agricultural labor or services to be performed by temporary foreign workers in H-2A nonimmigrant status (H-2A workers).
Specifically, the DOL is revising the methodology by which it determines the hourly Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) for non-range occupations using a combination of wage data reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Labor Reports (FLS), and the Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, formerly the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey prior to March 31, 2021.
For the vast majority of H-2A job opportunities represented by the six Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes comprising the field and livestock worker (combined) wages reported by USDA, the DOL will continue to rely on the FLS to establish the AEWRs where a wage is reported by the FLS. For all other SOC codes, the Department will use the OEWS survey to establish the AEWRs for each SOC code. Additionally, in circumstances in which the FLS does not report a wage for the field and livestock workers (combined) occupational group in a particular State or region, the DOL will use the OEWS survey to determine the AEWR for that occupational group.
These regulatory changes are consistent with the Secretary of Labor’s statutory responsibility to certify that the employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed. The DOL believes this methodology strikes a reasonable balance between the statute’s competing goals of providing employers with an adequate supply of legal agricultural labor and protecting the wages and working conditions of workers in the U.S. similarly employed.
The final rule goes into effective on March 30, 2023.
Get the full details here.