Title 20: Employees' Benefits
CHAPTER V: EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
PART 655: TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGN WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES
Subpart B: Labor Certification Process for Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States (H-2A Workers)
655.103 - Overview of this subpart and definition of terms.
(a) Overview. In order to bring nonimmigrant workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural work, an employer must first demonstrate to the Secretary that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, and qualified to perform the work in the area of intended employment at the time needed and that the employment of foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. This rule describes a process by which the Department of Labor (Department or DOL) makes such a determination and certifies its determination to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
(b) Definitions. For the purposes of this subpart:
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). A person within the Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges appointed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3105.
Adverse effect wage rate (AEWR). The annual weighted average hourly wage for field and livestock workers (combined) in the States or regions as published annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) based on its quarterly wage survey.
Agent. A legal entity or person, such as an association of agricultural employers, or an attorney for an association, that:
(1) Is authorized to act on behalf of the employer for temporary agricultural labor certification purposes;
(2) Is not itself an employer, or a joint employer, as defined in this subpart with respect to a specific application; and
(3) Is not under suspension, debarment, expulsion, or disbarment from practice before any court, the Department, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, or DHS under 8 CFR 292.3 or 1003.101.
Agricultural association. Any nonprofit or cooperative association of farmers, growers, or ranchers (including but not limited to processing establishments, canneries, gins, packing sheds, nurseries, or other similar fixed-site agricultural employers), incorporated or qualified under applicable State law, that recruits, solicits, hires, employs, furnishes, houses, or transports any worker that is subject to 8 U.S.C. 1188. An agricultural association may act as the agent of an employer, or may act as the sole or joint employer of any worker subject to 8 U.S.C. 1188.
Area of intended employment. The geographic area within normal commuting distance of the place of the job opportunity for which the certification is sought. There is no rigid measure of distance that constitutes a normal commuting distance or normal commuting area, because there may be widely varying factual circumstances among different areas (e.g., average commuting times, barriers to reaching the worksite, or quality of the regional transportation network). If the place of intended employment is within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), including a multistate MSA, any place within the MSA is deemed to be within normal commuting distance of the place of intended employment. The borders of MSAs are not controlling in the identification of the normal commuting area; a location outside of an MSA may be within normal commuting distance of a location that is inside (e.g., near the border of) the MSA.
Attorney. Any person who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any State, possession, territory, or commonwealth of the U.S., or the District of Columbia. Such a person is also permitted to act as an agent under this subpart. No attorney who is under suspension, debarment, expulsion, or disbarment from practice before any court, the Department, the Executive Office for Immigration Review under 8 CFR 1003.101, or DHS under 8 CFR 292.3 may represent an employer under this subpart.
Certifying Officer (CO). The person who makes determination on an Application for Temporary Employment Certification filed under the H-2A program. The OFLC Administrator is the national CO. Other COs may be designated by the OFLC Administrator to also make the determinations required under this subpart.
Corresponding employment. The employment of workers who are not H-2A workers by an employer who has an approved H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification in any work included in the job order, or in any agricultural work performed by the H-2A workers. To qualify as corresponding employment the work must be performed during the validity period of the job order, including any approved extension thereof.
Date of need. The first date the employer requires the services of H-2A workers as indicated in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification.
Employee. A person who is engaged to perform work for an employer, as defined under the general common law of agency. Some of the factors relevant to the determination of employee status include: The hiring party's right to control the manner and means by which the work is accomplished; the skill required to perform the work; the source of the instrumentalities and tools for accomplishing the work; the location of the work; the hiring party's discretion over when and how long to work; and whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party. Other applicable factors may be considered and no one factor is dispositive.
Employer. A person (including any individual, partnership, association, corporation, cooperative, firm, joint stock company, trust, or other organization with legal rights and duties) that:
(1) Has a place of business (physical location) in the U.S. and a means by which it may be contacted for employment;
(2) Has an employer relationship (such as the ability to hire, pay, fire, supervise or otherwise control the work of employee) with respect to an H-2A worker or a worker in corresponding employment; and
(3) Possesses, for purposes of filing an Application for Temporary Employment Certification, a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
Federal holiday. Legal public holiday as defined at 5 U.S.C. 6103.
Fixed-site employer. Any person engaged in agriculture who meets the definition of an employer, as those terms are defined in this subpart, who owns or operates a farm, ranch, processing establishment, cannery, gin, packing shed, nursery, or other similar fixed-site location where agricultural activities are performed and who recruits, solicits, hires, employs, houses, or transports any worker subject to 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart as incident to or in conjunction with the owner's or operator's own agricultural operation.
H-2A Labor Contractor (H-2ALC). Any person who meets the definition of employer under this subpart and is not a fixed-site employer, an agricultural association, or an employee of a fixed-site employer or agricultural association, as those terms are used in this part, who recruits, solicits, hires, employs, furnishes, houses, or transports any worker subject to 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart.
H-2A worker. Any temporary foreign worker who is lawfully present in the U.S. and authorized by DHS to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), as amended.
Job offer. The offer made by an employer or potential employer of H-2A workers to both U.S. and H-2A workers describing all the material terms and conditions of employment, including those relating to wages, working conditions, and other benefits.
Job opportunity. Full-time employment at a place in the U.S. to which U.S. workers can be referred.
Job Order. The document containing the material terms and conditions of employment that is posted by the State Workforce Agency (SWA) on its inter- and intra-state job clearance systems based on the employer's Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order (Form ETA-790), as submitted to the SWA.
Joint employment. Where two or more employers each have sufficient definitional indicia of being an employer to be considered the employer of a worker, those employers will be considered to jointly employ that worker. Each employer in a joint employment relationship to a worker is considered a joint employer of that worker.
Master application. An Application for Temporary Employment Certification filed by an association of agricultural producers as a joint employer with its employer-members. A master application must cover the same occupations or comparable agricultural employment; the same start date of need for all employer-members listed on the Application for Temporary Employment Certification; and may cover multiple areas of intended employment within a single State but no more than two contiguous States.
National Processing Center (NPC). The office within OFLC in which the COs operate and which are charged with the adjudication of Applications for Temporary Employment Certification.
Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC). OFLC means the organizational component of the ETA that provides national leadership and policy guidance and develops regulations and procedures to carry out the responsibilities of the Secretary under the INA concerning the admission of foreign workers to the U.S. to perform work described in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).
OFLC Administrator. The primary official of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC), or the OFLC Administrator's designee.
Positive recruitment. The active participation of an employer or its authorized hiring agent, performed under the auspices and direction of the OFLC, in recruiting and interviewing individuals in the area where the employer's job opportunity is located and any other State designated by the Secretary as an area of traditional or expected labor supply with respect to the area where the employer's job opportunity is located, in an effort to fill specific job openings with U.S. workers.
Prevailing practice. A practice engaged in by employers, that:
(1) Fifty percent or more of employers in an area and for an occupation engage in the practice or offer the benefit; and
(2) This 50 percent or more of employers also employs 50 percent or more of U.S. workers in the occupation and area (including H-2A and non-H-2A employers) for purposes of determinations concerning the provision of family housing, and frequency of wage payments, but non-H-2A employers only for determinations concerning the provision of advance transportation and the utilization of labor contractors.
Prevailing wage. Wage established pursuant to 20 CFR 653.501(d)(4).
State Workforce Agency (SWA). State government agency that receives funds pursuant to the Wagner-Peyser Act (29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.) to administer the State's public labor exchange activities.
Strike. A concerted stoppage of work by employees as a result of a labor dispute, or any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operation (including stoppage by reason of the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement).
Successor in interest. (1) Where an employer has violated 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or these regulations, and has ceased doing business or cannot be located for purposes of enforcement, a successor in interest to that employer may be held liable for the duties and obligations of the violating employer in certain circumstances. The following factors, as used under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, may be considered in determining whether an employer is a successor in interest; no one factor is dispositive, but all of the circumstances will be considered as a whole:
(i) Substantial continuity of the same business operations;
(ii) Use of the same facilities;
(iii) Continuity of the work force;
(iv) Similarity of jobs and working conditions;
(v) Similarity of supervisory personnel;
(vi) Whether the former management or owner retains a direct or indirect interest in the new enterprise;
(vii) Similarity in machinery, equipment, and production methods;
(viii) Similarity of products and services; and
(ix) The ability of the predecessor to provide relief.
(2) For purposes of debarment only, the primary consideration will be the personal involvement of the firm's ownership, management, supervisors, and others associated with the firm in the violation(s) at issue.
Temporary agricultural labor certification. Certification made by the OFLC Administrator with respect to an employer seeking to file with DHS a visa petition to employ one or more foreign nationals as an H-2A worker, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), 1184(a) and (c), and 1188.
United States (U.S.). The continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
United States worker (U.S. worker). A worker who is:
(1) A citizen or national of the U.S.; or
(2) An alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S., is admitted as a refugee under 8 U.S.C. 1157, is granted asylum under 8 U.S.C. 1158, or is an immigrant otherwise authorized (by the INA or by DHS) to be employed in the U.S.; or
(3) An individual who is not an unauthorized alien (as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(3)) with respect to the employment in which the worker is engaging.
Wages. All forms of cash remuneration to a worker by an employer in payment for personal services.
Work contract. All the material terms and conditions of employment relating to wages, hours, working conditions, and other benefits, including those required by 8 U.S.C. 1188, 29 CFR part 501, or this subpart. The contract between the employer and the worker may be in the form of a separate written document. In the absence of a separate written work contract incorporating the required terms and conditions of employment, agreed to by both the employer and the worker, the work contract at a minimum will be the terms of the job order and any obligations required under 8 U.S.C. 1188, 28 CFR part 501, or this subpart.
(c) Definition of agricultural labor or services. For the purposes of this subpart, agricultural labor or services, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), is defined as: agricultural labor as defined and applied in sec. 3121(g) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 at 26 U.S.C. 3121(g); agriculture as defined and applied in sec. 3(f) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) at 29 U.S.C. 203(f); the pressing of apples for cider on a farm; or logging employment. An occupation included in either statutory definition is agricultural labor or services, notwithstanding the exclusion of that occupation from the other statutory definition. For informational purposes, the statutory provisions are listed below.
(1)(i) Agricultural labor for the purpose of paragraph (c) of this section means all service performed:
(A) On a farm, in the employ of any person, in connection with cultivating the soil, or in connection with raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity, including the raising, shearing, feeding, caring for, training, and management of livestock, bees, poultry, and fur-bearing animals and wildlife;
(B) In the employ of the owner or tenant or other operator of a farm, in connection with the operation, management, conservation, improvement, or maintenance of such farm and its tools and equipment, or in salvaging timber or clearing land of brush and other debris left by a hurricane, if the major part of such service is performed on a farm;
(C) In connection with the production or harvesting of any commodity defined as an agricultural commodity in section 15(g) of the Agricultural Marketing Act, as amended (12 U.S.C. 1141j), or in connection with the ginning of cotton, or in connection with the operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs, or waterways, not owned or operated for profit, used exclusively for supplying and storing water for farming purposes;
(D) In the employ of the operator of a farm in handling, planting, drying, packing, packaging, processing, freezing, grading, storing, or delivering to storage or to market or to a carrier for transportation to market, in its unmanufactured state, any agricultural or horticultural commodity; but only if such operator produced more than one-half of the commodity with respect to which such service is performed;
(E) In the employ of a group of operators of farms (other than a cooperative organization) in the performance of service described in paragraph (c)(1)(iv) of this section but only if such operators produced all of the commodity with respect to which such service is performed. For purposes of this paragraph, any unincorporated group of operators shall be deemed a cooperative organization if the number of operators comprising such group is more than 20 at any time during the calendar year in which such service is performed;
(F) The provisions of paragraphs (c)(1)(iv) and (c)(1)(v) of this section shall not be deemed to be applicable with respect to service performed in connection with commercial canning or commercial freezing or in connection with any agricultural or horticultural commodity after its delivery to a terminal market for distribution for consumption; or
(G) On a farm operated for profit if such service is not in the course of the employer's trade or business or is domestic service in a private home of the employer.
(ii) As used in this section, the term farm includes stock, dairy, poultry, fruit, fur-bearing animal, and truck farms, plantations, ranches, nurseries, ranges, greenhouses or other similar structures used primarily for the raising of agricultural or horticultural commodities, and orchards.
(2) Agriculture. For purposes of paragraph (c) of this section, agriculture means farming in all its branches and among other things includes the cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodities (including commodities defined as agricultural commodities in 1141j(g) of title 12, the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or poultry, and any practices (including any forestry or lumbering operations) performed by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations, including preparation for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market. See sec. 29 U.S.C. 203(f), as amended (sec. 3(f) of the FLSA, as codified). Under 12 U.S.C. 1141j(g) agricultural commodities include, in addition to other agricultural commodities, crude gum (oleoresin) from a living tree, and the following products as processed by the original producer of the crude gum (oleoresin) from which derived: gum spirits of turpentine and gum rosin. In addition as defined in 7 U.S.C. 92, gum spirits of turpentine means spirits of turpentine made from gum (oleoresin) from a living tree and gum rosin means rosin remaining after the distillation of gum spirits of turpentine.
(3) Apple pressing for cider. The pressing of apples for cider on a farm, as the term farm is defined and applied in sec. 3121(g) of the Internal Revenue Code at 26 U.S.C. 3121(g) or as applied in sec. 3(f) of the FLSA at 29 U.S.C. 203(f), pursuant to 29 CFR part 780.
(4) Logging employment. Operations associated with felling and moving trees and logs from the stump to the point of delivery, such as, but not limited to, marking danger trees and trees/logs to be cut to length, felling, limbing, bucking, debarking, chipping, yarding, loading, unloading, storing, and transporting machines, equipment and personnel to, from and between logging sites.
(d) Definition of a temporary or seasonal nature. For the purposes of this subpart, employment is of a seasonal nature where it is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern, such as a short annual growing cycle or a specific aspect of a longer cycle, and requires labor levels far above those necessary for ongoing operations. Employment is of a temporary nature where the employer's need to fill the position with a temporary worker will, except in extraordinary circumstances, last no longer than 1 year.
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