White House to Target Illegal H-2 Visa Recruiting Practices

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer October 23, 2023

​The Biden administration is seeking to reduce H-2 workers' vulnerabilities to unscrupulous recruitment practices by collecting more information on international recruiters, increasing transparency about the programs for workers and improving data sharing between enforcement agencies.

The White House formed the H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce last year to address worker vulnerabilities and unlawful use of the program to displace U.S. workers. While the group was formed with H-2B workers in mind, the same protections will be applied where feasible to the H-2A program for agricultural workers, the White House said.

We have gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other trusted sources.

Curbing Illegal Recruiting Fees

Studies show that H-2 workers report paying recruitment fees overseas even though such fees are prohibited under U.S. law. Currently, the information collected on foreign labor recruiters is insufficient to effectively prevent illegal practices, the task force said.

The Department of Homeland Security will change immigration forms to gather more information on recruiters and improve data sharing with relevant agencies.

USAID will work with foreign governments to establish a survey for returning workers to help identify misconduct in the recruitment process or at the worksite.

(The White House)

Proposed H-2 Visa Rule ‘Puts Employers on Notice’

A recently proposed rule issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would grant more flexibility to foreign seasonal workers in the H-2 visa programs, while toughening the consequences for employers that violate the programs' policies.

The proposal contains 11 provisions, including new whistleblower protections; additional penalties for employers that charge workers prohibited fees; expanded grace periods for workers who lose employment; permanent portability for workers to move between employers; and the ability for workers to seek permanent residency while maintaining H-2 status. 

(SHRM Online)

H-2A Program Gets an Overhaul

The DOL issued a pair of substantive regulations amending the H-2A visa program in September 2023 and November 2022, changing how prevailing wages are formulated, modernizing how the application and certification process is conducted, and improving standards for employment conditions.

(SHRM Online

Call for More Protections

There are a variety of ways the U.S. government could improve labor standards for workers in the growing H-2A and H-2B visa programs, according to worker advocates.

(SHRM Online)

DHS Doubled H-2B Visas in 2023

The Department of Homeland Security doubled the number of temporary work visas used in the seasonal hospitality and landscaping industries this year to help employers deal with ongoing labor shortages.

(SHRM Online)



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