Advocacy: National

OFLC Announces Extension of Emergency Procedures Initiative for Backlogged H-2B Applications

Monday, March 28, 2016  

OFLC Announces Extension of Emergency Procedures Initiative for Backlogged H-2B Applications through April 30, 2016

The Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is continuing to experience significant delays in processing employers' H-2B applications for certification. As explained in the public service announcement posted by the Department on February 19, 2016, these delays have been generated by several factors, the most significant of which was a 17-day certification processing pause at the Chicago National Processing Center (NPC) needed for OFLC to implement changes to comply with the revisions to the H-2B prevailing wage and certification standards contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (2016 appropriations law), Public Law 114-113, 129 Stat. 2242 (Dec. 18, 2015).

The delays in the certification process that applicants are continuing to experience impair the ability of employers to hire foreign workers when needed, and create instability for small businesses that depend on temporary and seasonal workers. OFLC has concluded that the delays still impacting the timely processing of H-2B applications constitute good and substantial cause under 20 CFR 655.17 for employers to request emergency procedures of their currently pending applications.

Therefore, employers with pending H-2B applications will be able to continue to request the emergency procedures under 20 CFR 655.17 through April 29, 2016, so that the Chicago NPC can complete the current application processing backlog. For H-2B applications filed on and between April 2 and April 29, the CNPC will accept requests for expedited procedures at 12:01 on April 4, and will no longer accept such requests at midnight April 29.

To read the full announcement of the Emergency Procedures Initiative and how employers can continue to participate, please click here.