Sep 20, 2019
H-2A advertising, recruitment process modernized by DOL changes

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has issued a Final Rule aimed at helping Americans find open agricultural jobs by modernizing the labor market test for H-2A temporary agricultural labor certification in the Federal Register.

The improved labor market test will assess whether qualified American workers are available to fill temporary agricultural jobs by advertising all H-2A job opportunities on SeasonalJobs.dol.gov, the expanded and improved version of the Department’s existing electronic job registry. SeasonalJobs.dol.gov is a mobile-friendly and centralized online platform that will offer more robust and personalized search capabilities as well as information about agricultural job opportunities in a format that is compatible with third-party job-search websites. The Department also seeks to leverage the existing localized services, knowledge, and expertise of State Workforce Agencies to promote awareness of H‑2A job opportunities.

In addition to making it easier for Americans to find and fill open jobs, the Final Rule will reduce regulatory burdens like the requirement that all employers advertise in a print newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment as the method of recruitment.

Interested stakeholders may obtain a factsheet on the new regulations as well as a copy of the Final Rule, published in the Federal Register, on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s (OFLC’s) website at www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov.

The Final Rule will be effective on Oct. 21, 2019, at 12:00 a.m. EDT.

ETA’s mission is to contribute to the more efficient functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high-quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services primarily through state and local workforce development systems.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Agriculture secretary responds

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement highlighting actions announced by the Department of Labor (DOL) which will modernize the burdensome H-2A visa process.

First, DOL published a common-sense rule that eliminates the requirement to advertise a job opening in print newspapers instead shifting to advertising on the DOL and State Workforce Agency websites, which are further reaching and more cost effective. Also, DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification announced updates to the pertinent H-2A forms and online filing process for the H-2A temporary agricultural program. These two actions will ease regulatory burdens on our farmers and ranchers, making it easier for them to follow the law and hire farm workers through the H-2A program.

“Both of these actions by DOL are critical changes the administration is making to improve the H-2A application process,” Secretary Perdue said. “President Trump is committed to ensuring our farmers and producers have access to a stable, legal agricultural workforce. By streamlining these processes, DOL is bringing the H-2A process into the 21st Century allowing farmers to be able to better and cost-effectively advertise for workers they need and fill out the required forms faster and more efficiently, because no one should have to hire a lawyer to hire a farm worker. I commend President Trump for his continued support of America’s farmers, ranchers and producers.”

In addition to making it easier for Americans to find and fill open jobs, the Final rule will reduce regulatory burdens like the requirement that all employers advertise in a print newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment as the method of recruitment. Department of Labor’s system updates increase ease of use for farmers and producers who apply for H-2A employees. As any employer knows, hiring forms, applications and rules are cumbersome, time intensive, and duplicative that lack flexibility and common sense. These changes demonstrate the Trump Administration’s commitment to releasing the regulatory burden from our agricultural producers, making it easier for them to hire a stable and legal workforce. The more time a farmer spends on paperwork, the less productive they are, hurting their business and way of life.

DOL’s new labor application process modernizes two forms by making them electronic forms, removing time intensive paper applications that require delivery via mailing. The Department of Labor will continue to accept online submissions of the current Form ETA-9142A (and job orders uploaded using the current Form ETA-790, Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Orderthrough the iCERT System until Oct. 16, 2019. Beginning Oct. 1, an employer seeking to employ emergency, H-2A workers or those starting on or after December 15, 2019 must submit a job order using the new form ETA-790/790A (and corresponding addendums) and an H-2A application using the new form ETA-9142A (and corresponding appendices) in the FLAG System.For more information, visit DOL’sForeign Labor Application Gateway(FLAG) page.

DOL’s Electronic Recruitment Rule rescinds the requirements to advertise a job opening in the newspaper, expands and enhances electronic job register, and utilizes State Workforce Agencies to promote job openings.

Ag employers group likes moves

The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) appreciates the Trump Administration’s hard work in reforming the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Program. Today, the administration published its new rule on advertising for recruitment of U.S. workers under the H-2A regulations. NCAE applauds the Administration’s efforts to bring the Program into the digital age.

“The publication today of the long-awaited new rules on advertising are welcome. Now, for the first time since the invention of the internet, farmers and ranchers will be allowed to use it under the H-2A program to recruit U.S. workers into good-paying agricultural jobs,” noted Michael Marsh, president and CEO of NCAE.

Existing rules require agricultural employers to advertise for open positions in newspapers in the area of the job.

Marsh stated that, “Potential workers, in the age of social media, look for work on their smartphones instead of at the corner newsstand. Their phone has become that newsstand and now the program rules will allow farmers and ranchers to use that digital network to recruit U.S. workers.”

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.





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