WASHINGTON (Sept. 27, 2012) — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration today announced that it will introduce electronic processing for H-2A and H-2B foreign labor certification applications filed by U.S. employers or their authorized representatives.
“The labor certification process plays a crucial role in ensuring that employers have access to temporary foreign workers when needed, without adversely affecting U.S. workers,” said Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. “This new streamlined process will increase the accessibility and quality of our services, promote greater transparency, and make it even easier for small businesses to collect the data they need to meet program reporting requirements.”
H-2A and H-2B program modules will be integrated in the existing iCERT Visa Portal System managed by the Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification. Key features include online account management, which will enable employers to manage client membership lists; the ability to prepare, submit, and track H-2A and H-2B applications; and the option to reuse applications from previous seasons, thereby reducing data entry time.
Real-time electronic form validations will warn users of missing data entries, helping them avoid application processing delays, and email notifications will keep users informed throughout the application process. In addition, the paperless submission process will significantly reduce administrative time and costs by enabling users to upload supporting documents for more efficient storage and retrieval.
Electronic filing for the H-2B program is scheduled to be implemented on Oct. 15, and electronic filing for the H-2A program is scheduled to be implemented on Dec. 10.
The H-2A and H-2B programs establish a means for U.S. employers to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis when qualified U.S. workers are not available, and the employment of those foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. More information on these programs is available at http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov.
A notice about the new process is in the Sept. 28 edition of the Federal Register, which can be viewed at http://s.dol.gov/WT.