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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: September 27, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 188)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 49275-49276]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr27se01-5]                         
=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

20 CFR Part 655

RIN 1205-AB30

Labor Certification and Petition Process for the Temporary 
Employment of Nonimmigrant Aliens in Agriculture in the United States; 
Delegation of Authority To Adjudicate Petitions; Deferral of Effective 
Date

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Interim final rule with request for comments; deferral of 
effective date of final rule.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: The Department of Labor (DOL or Department) is deferring the 
effective date of its final rule implementing the delegation of 
authority to adjudicate petitions for the temporary employment of 
nonimmigrant aliens in agriculture in the United States. The 
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is also delaying the 
delegation of INS' authority to the Department to adjudicate petitions 
for the temporary employment of nonimmigrant aliens in agriculture in 
the United States. The Department has the need for additional time to 
effectively implement the delegation of authority, develop new systems 
and procedures, and to train and brief members of the affected public 
and the employment and training community in the new systems and 
procedures. Therefore the Department has determined to defer the 
effective date of the Final Rule promulgated at 65 FR 43538 (July 13, 
2000). Comments are being requested on this action. The rule being 
deferred amends the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) 
regulations to implement the delegation of authority to adjudicate 
petitions for temporary nonimmigrant agricultural workers (H-2A's) from 
the INS to the Department.

DATES: The effective date of the final rule in FR Doc. 00-17641, 
published at 65 FR 43538 (July 13, 2000), was deferred from November 
13, 2000, until October 1, 2001, by an interim final rule published in 
FR Doc. 00-28897, published at 65 FR 67628 (November 13, 2000). This 
interim final rule defers the effective date of the final rule until 
September 27, 2002.
    Comments: Comments are invited on the deferral of the effective 
date. Submit comments on or before October 29, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment 
and Training, Attention: Division of Foreign Labor Certifications, 
Employment and Training Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., 
Room N-4456, Washington, DC 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Denis M. Gruskin, Senior Specialist, 
Division of Foreign Labor Certifications, Employment and Training 
Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-4456, Washington, 
DC 20210. Telephone (202) 693-2953 (this is not a toll-free number)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of Labor (DOL or Department) 
published a final rule in this rulemaking in the Federal Register at 65 
FR 43538 (July 13, 2000), with an effective date of November 13, 2000, 
implementing a delegation of authority from the INS to the Department 
to adjudicate petitions for the temporary employment of nonimmigrant 
aliens in agriculture in the United States. Concurrently, the INS 
published a Final Rule at 65 FR 43528 (July 13, 2000) with an effective 
date of November 13, 2000, transferring to the Secretary of Labor the 
authority to adjudicate petitions for temporary agricultural workers 
and the authority to decide appeals on these decisions and to make 
determinations for revocation of petition approvals.
    Subsequently, the INS at 65 FR 67616 (November 13, 2000) published 
a final rule and DOL at 65 FR 67628 (November 13, 2000) published an 
interim final rule (IFR) deferring the effective dates of their final 
rules. The Department in its IFR invited comments on the deferral of 
the effective date. No comments were received by DOL on the deferral of 
the effective date.
    The Department also reopened and extended the comment period at 65 
FR 50170 (August 17, 2000) on a companion notice of proposed rulemaking 
(NPRM) published at 65 FR 43545 (July 13, 2000) setting forth 
implementation measures necessary to the successful implementation of 
the delegation of authority to adjudicate petitions. Among the 
implementation measures was a new Form ETA 9079,

[[Page 49276]]

Application for Alien Employment Certification and H-2A Petition, which 
consolidated two current forms, ETA 750 Application for Alien 
Employment Certification) and INS I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant 
Workers). The NPRM also set forth the implementation of a new fee 
schedule to collect a combined fee for processing the petition and 
labor certification application. It is contemplated that under the 
administrative procedures arrived at by INS and the Employment and 
Training Administration to implement the delegation of the petition 
authority from INS to the Department, DOL will collect the petition fee 
on behalf of INS and will be reimbursed by INS for the costs involved 
in processing the H-2A petition.
    The INS reopened and extended the comment period at 65 FR 50166 
(August 17, 2000) on a proposed rule published concurrently at 65 FR 
43535 (July 13, 2000) with its final rule delegating the authority to 
adjudicate petitions to DOL. The INS proposed rule provided, among 
other things, that all petition requests and extensions of stay and 
change of status petitions must be filed with DOL and the current INS 
petition fee will be collected by DOL as part of a combined fee.
    Commenters raised a number of issues about the proposed rules. The 
comments received by the Department as a result of the August 17, 2000, 
reopening and extension of the proposed rule did not provide sufficient 
information to permit the Department to draft a final rule concerning a 
number of issues, such as the design of the new form and the fee 
structure. Consequently, the Department intends in the near future to 
again reopen and extend the comment period on the July 13, 2000, NPRM. 
In a document published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal 
Register, the Department is reopening and extending the comment period 
on the NPRM. In another document, the Department is announcing informal 
briefings to allow agricultural workers and employers and other 
interested parties to communicate directly with the Department 
regarding the proposed rule changes which would require employers to 
submit fees for temporary labor certification and the associated H-2A 
petition with a consolidated application form at the time of filing, 
and as indicated above, sets forth a new fee structure for the labor 
certification.
    Finalizing the proposed rules is essential to the effective 
implementation of any delegation of authority to DOL to adjudicate 
petitions for temporary employment of nonimmigrant aliens in the United 
States. Allowing the Final Rule to become effective without finalizing 
action on the proposed rule published by the Department would lead to 
administrative uncertainty and result in confusion on the part of 
employers, agricultural workers, and other interested parties. 
Accordingly, the Department has concluded good causes exists to defer 
the effective date of the July 13, 2000, Final Rule until the 
rulemaking on the companion proposal is completed. At this time we are 
extending the effective date of the final rule published at 65 FR 43538 
for one year, until October 27, 2002. The regulatory certifications set 
forth in the July 13, 2000, Final Rule apply to this deferral as well.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 24th day of September 2001.
Emily Stover DeRocco,
Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training.
[FR Doc. 01-24208 Filed 9-26-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-30-P



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