On April 2, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it has temporarily suspended processing most petitions for new H-2B temporary non-agricultural workers. This announcement was in response to a court decision issuing a permanent injunction against certain parts of the current Department of Labor (DOL) rule governing H-2B program wage rates.
This will effectively prevent most H-2B employers, including those in the horse industry, from hiring any new H-2B workers for at least 30 days. H-2B workers currently in the country will not be impacted.
On March 21, 2013, a judge in Pennsylvania granted a permanent injunction against the 2008 H-2B wage rule that is currently used to issue “prevailing wage determinations” and gave DOL 30 days to come into compliance with the Court order. H-2B employers must receive a “prevailing wage determination” as part of the process to bring an H-2B worker into the county. The DOL will continue to process some prevailing wage requests not subject to the court order, such as those based on Collective Bargaining Agreements, acceptable private wage surveys, the Service Contract Act or the Davis Bacon act.
DOL has said they plan to issue a new emergency wage rule within 30 days.
The AHC and other H-2B user groups are looking at all options to ensure the H-2B program resumes processing new applications as soon as possible.
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