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[Federal Register: April 1, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 62)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 16774-16781]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr01ap05-25]                         

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

20 CFR Part 655

RIN 1205-AB39

 
Labor Condition Applications and Requirements for Employers Using 
Nonimmigrants on H-1B Visas in Specialty Occupations and as Fashion 
Models, and Labor Attestation Requirements for Employers Using 
Nonimmigrants on H-1B1 Visas in Specialty Occupations; Filing 
Procedures

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the 
Department of Labor (the Department or DOL) is proposing to amend its 
regulations related to the H-1B and H-1B1 programs to generally require 
employers to use Web-based electronic filing of labor condition 
applications (LCAs). The H-1B program allows an employer in the United 
States to temporarily employ a foreign worker on a nonimmigrant basis 
in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit 
and ability. For its part, the H-1B1 program allows a U.S. employer to 
temporarily employ on a nonimmigrant basis in a specialty occupation a 
foreign worker from a country with which the U.S. has reached trade or 
other agreements listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act (now 
Chile and Singapore). ETA anticipates that increasing e-filing of H-1B 
and H-1B1 labor condition applications, and reducing U.S. Mail and fax-
based filings, will enhance the effectiveness of the H-1B and H-1B1 
programs, reduce costs and delays, and will match a U.S. employer with 
a qualified H-1B or H-1B1 worker in a more timely fashion. This notice 
of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) also proposes technical and clarifying 
amendments to ETA's H-1B and H-1B1 regulations to correct terminology 
and addresses, update internal agency procedures, and clarify text. 
Among these amendments are provisions to reflect Congressional 
reinstatement of certain attestation obligations applicable to 
employers who are H-1B dependent or who have committed willful 
violations of H-1B requirements.

DATES: To ensure consideration, comments must be received on or before 
May 2, 2005.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by Regulatory 
Information Number (RIN) 1205-AB39, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 

Follow the Web site instructions for submitting comments.
     E-mail: Comments may be submitted by e-mail to 
h1b.comments@dol.gov. Include RIN 1205-AB39 in the subject line of the 

message.
     U.S. Mail: Submit written comments to the Assistant 
Secretary for Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department 
of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room C-4312, Washington, DC 
20210, Attention: William Carlson, Chief, Division of Foreign Labor 
Certification. Because of security measures, mail sent to Washington, 
DC is sometimes delayed. We will only consider comments postmarked by 
the U.S. Postal Service or other delivery service on or before the 
deadline for comments.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the RIN 1205-
AB39 for this rulemaking. Receipt of submissions will not be 
acknowledged. Because DOL continues to experience occasional

[[Page 16775]]

delays in receiving postal mail in the Washington, DC area, commenters 
using mail are encouraged to submit any comments early.
    Comments will be available for public inspection during normal 
business hours at the address listed above for mailed comments. Persons 
who need assistance to review the comments will be provided with 
appropriate aids such as readers or print magnifiers. Copies of this 
proposed rule may be obtained in alternative formats (e.g., large 
print, Braille, audiotape, or disk) upon request. To schedule an 
appointment to review the comments and/or to obtain the proposed rule 
in an alternative format, contact the Division of Foreign Labor 
Certification at (202) 693-3010 (this is not a toll-free number).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Rachel Wittman, Senior Policy 
Analyst, Division of Foreign Labor Certification, Employment and 
Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution 
Avenue, NW., Room C-4312, Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-
3010 (this is not a toll-free number).
    Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may access the 
telephone numbers above via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal 
Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Statutory Authority and Background

    The Immigration and Nationality Act as amended (INA or Act) assigns 
responsibilities to the Department of Labor relating to the entry and 
employment in the United States of certain categories of employment-
based immigrants and nonimmigrants, including under the H-1B and H-1B1 
visas. See INA section 101 et seq. [8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.].
    The H-1B visa program permits admission to the United States, on a 
nonimmigrant basis, of foreign workers who will temporarily perform 
services in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of 
distinguished merit and ability. See 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b), 
1182(n), and 1184(c), (g), and (i). Specialty occupations under the H-
1B program are those requiring the theoretical and practical 
application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the 
attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in the 
specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the 
United States. 8 U.S.C. 1184(i)(1).
    The H-1B1 visa was created as part of Congress' approval of the 
United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the United States-
Singapore Free Trade Agreement and took effect January 1, 2004. It 
permits the temporary entry and employment in the United States of 
professionals in specialty occupations from countries with which the 
United States has entered into agreements identified in section 
1184(g)(8)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. See INA, 8 U.S.C. 
1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b1), 1182(t), 1184(g)(8)(A), and 1184(i). The statute 
now covers nationals of Chile and Singapore. 8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(8)(A). 
Under the INA amendments creating the H-1B1 visa, the Department of 
Labor's responsibilities regarding H-1B1 visas are required to be 
implemented in a manner similar to the H-1B program. To implement the 
H-1B1 program in accordance with the statutory requirements, on 
November 23, 2004, DOL issued an Interim Final Rule extending the H-1B 
regulations found at 20 CFR part 655 subparts H and I to the H-1B1 
program, with limited exceptions consistent with statutory 
requirements. See 69 FR 68222 (November 23, 2004). (Prior to 
publication of the H-1B1 Interim Final Rule, DOL conducted its H-1B1 
responsibilities in accordance with the statute and procedures posted 
on the DOL website prior to the H-1B1 visa effective date of January 1, 
2004.)
    Before H-1B or H-1B1 status for a foreign worker will be approved 
by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of 
the Department of Homeland Security (formerly the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service or INS),\1\ the Secretary of Labor must certify 
a ``labor condition application'' or LCA filed by the foreign worker's 
prospective employer. See 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) and (b1), 
1182(n) and (t); 20 CFR part 655, subpart H. In completing the ``labor 
condition application'' or LCA in paper form (Form ETA 9035) or 
electronic form (Form ETA 9035E), an employer must specifically 
indicate, among other things, the H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrant's 
prospective job title, the number of H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrants 
sought, the nonimmigrant's anticipated period of employment and rate of 
pay, and the location where the H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrant(s) will 
work. Additionally, the employer attests to four statements:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See 6 U.S.C. 236(b), 552(d), and 557.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrants will be paid at least the local 
prevailing wage or the actual wage level paid by the employer to others 
with similar experience and qualifications, whichever is higher;
    2. The employment of H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrants will not adversely 
affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed;
    3. There is not a strike or lockout in the course of a labor 
dispute in the occupation in which H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrants will be 
employed at the place of employment; and
    4. Notice of the application has been provided to workers employed 
in the occupations in which H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrants will be 
employed. See 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1) and (t)(1); 20 CFR 655.705(c)(1), 
655.730(d), 655.731 through 655.734; Forms ETA 9035E, 9035, and 9035CP 
(Cover Pages). While DOL administers and enforces the labor condition 
application portion of the H-1B and H-1B1 program, USCIS identifies and 
defines the occupations covered by the H-1B and H-1B1 category (except 
as already defined in the Chile and Singapore Free Trade Agreements) 
and determines an alien's qualifications for such occupations.
    Congress enacted the ``H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004'' as part of 
the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005. See Public Law 108-447, 
118 Stat. 2809, Division J, Title IV, Subtitle B (December 8, 2004). 
Among other provisions, the H-1B Visa Reform Act reinstated, effective 
March 8, 2005, special attestation requirements for employers who are 
H-1B dependent or who have been found to have committed willful 
violations of H-1B requirements or misrepresentations of a material 
fact during the five-year period prior to filing an H-1B LCA. See 
Public Law 108-447 at Division J, section 422(a). Reinstatement was 
achieved by deleting from INA section 212(n)(1)(E)(ii) the sunset date 
of October 1, 2003, previously applicable to the H-1B dependent 
employer and willful violator provisions. Pursuant to this INA 
amendment, H-1B dependent employers and willful violator employers who 
file H-1B applications after March 7, 2005, generally must attest that: 
the employer did not displace and will not displace a U.S. worker 
within the period of 90 days before and after filing a petition for an 
H-1B nonimmigrant; the employer will not place H-1B nonimmigrants with 
a secondary employer unless the employer has inquired if the secondary 
employer has displaced or intends to displace a U.S. worker in a period 
of 90 days before and after the placement of the H-1B nonimmigrant; the 
employer took good faith steps prior to filing the H-1B application to 
recruit U.S. workers; and, finally, the employer has offered the job to 
any U.S. applicant

[[Page 16776]]

who is equally or better qualified than the H-1B nonimmigrant for the 
job.

II. Filing Options Under Current Regulation

    DOL's current regulations issued by the Employment and Training 
Administration (ETA) for the filing and processing of H-1B and H-1B1 
labor condition applications, found in 20 CFR part 655, subpart H, 
allow employers to file LCAs with ETA in three ways: By electronic 
submission through the DOL web site, by U.S. Mail to a centralized 
processing center, and through facsimile submission to a centralized 
fax number. See 20 CFR 655.720.
    The electronic filing system now available on the DOL website at 
http://www.lca.doleta.gov, which will become the required filing 

procedure for LCAs (except in limited circumstances) if this NPRM 
becomes a final regulation, permits employers to fill out and submit 
their LCAs electronically, without the need to submit a paper ``hard 
copy.'' The electronic LCA form, Form ETA 9035E, is identical in all 
respects to the paper LCA (Form ETA 9035), except the electronic form 
contains additional ``blocks'' to be marked by the employer to 
acknowledge the submission is being made electronically and the 
employer will be bound by the LCA obligations through such submission. 
The website includes detailed instructions, prompts, and checks to help 
employers fill out the 9035E. This process is designed to help ensure 
employers enter the H-1B and H-1B1 programs based on accurate LCA 
information and with explicit, immediate notice of their obligations. 
The website provides an option for employers that frequently file LCAs 
to become ``registered users.'' Under this option, registered users set 
up secure files within the ETA electronic filing system accessed by 
password and, each time the registered user files an LCA, information 
common to all its LCAs is entered automatically by the electronic 
filing system.

III. Overview of Regulatory Changes

    This NPRM proposes amendment of ETA's regulations on the H-1B and 
H-1B1 programs, which are found at 20 CFR part 655, subpart H, to 
require electronic filing and processing of H-1B and H-1B1 labor 
condition applications (LCAs) except in limited circumstances where a 
physical disability prevents the employer from filing electronically. 
This transition to e-filing will reduce paper-based LCA filings now 
submitted by U.S. Mail and facsimile. This NPRM does not propose 
changes to the existing LCA forms (Forms ETA 9035, 9035E, and 9035CP) 
or to the current electronic filing procedures.
    Creation of an electronic filing requirement necessitates amendment 
of ETA's current H-1B and H-1B1 regulations because the regulations now 
permit filing of LCAs by three means: electronic transmission, paper 
copy filed by U.S. Mail, and paper copy filed by facsimile. See 20 CFR 
655.720. Therefore, this NPRM proposes to amend the H-1B and H-1B1 
regulations at Sec. Sec.  655.700, 655.705, 655.720, 655.730, 655.750, 
and 655.760 to state the requirement of electronic filing except in 
limited circumstances, and to remove references to filing by facsimile 
or U.S. Mail.
    ETA believes that requiring e-filing of LCAs, except in limited 
circumstances where disabilities prevent an employer from using the 
Web-based electronic system, will enhance the effectiveness of the H-1B 
and H-1B1 programs in several ways, resulting in reduced costs and 
delays for both employers and ETA by providing U.S. employers with 
access to qualified H-1B or H-1B1 workers in a more timely fashion. 
(The justifications for moving to an e-filing system relate largely to 
the H-1B program because of the differing sizes of the programs. 
Whereas approximately 260,000 LCAs for the H-1B program are filed each 
year, only approximately 50 LCAs for the H-1B1 program were filed in 
the 9 months after the program became effective January 1, 2004. H-1B1 
filings will continue at low rates since H-1B1 visas each year are 
limited to 1,400 from Chile and 5,400 from Singapore.)
    First, ETA believes the e-filing process will limit the number of 
potentially incomplete H-1B and H-1B1 labor condition applications 
which are filed with the Department. The e-filing system instantly 
notifies the employer that an LCA is incomplete, giving the employer 
the immediate opportunity to correct the error. Instant notification 
limits the burdens and delays that occur when employers file incomplete 
LCAs. By contrast, with faxed or mailed LCAs, incomplete applications 
bring delays and require resources from both ETA and the employer to 
fix `` ETA personnel must review the LCA for completeness and notify 
the employer of missing information, the employer must resubmit the 
non-electronically filed LCA, and ETA again must review for 
completeness.
    Second, electronic filing permits more efficient processing of LCAs 
than those submitted by either U.S. Mail or by facsimile. Since the 
scope of the Department's review of LCAs under section 212(n)(1) and 
section 212(t)(2) of the INA is limited to ``completeness and obvious 
inaccuracies,'' the filing and processing of LCAs is particularly 
amenable to an electronic filing and review system. Because of on-line 
guidance and checks, LCAs submitted electronically have fewer 
incomplete or obviously inaccurate entries and therefore are ordinarily 
acceptable for immediate electronic certification.
    Third, through e-filing, ETA will be able to better capture 
statistics and analyze data to identify areas that need improvement and 
to prepare reports on the H-1B and H-1B1 programs, as well as to 
identify fraud or abuse that may lead to future enforcement actions.
    Fourth, requiring e-filing of LCAs except in limited circumstances 
will not impose an undue burden on the users of the program. Employers, 
not individuals, submit H-1B and H-1B filings. The vast majority of 
labor condition applications are filed electronically. (Until approval 
of new forms, H-1B1 labor condition applications were required to be 
submitted to ETA by mail.) For example, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 more 
than 90 percent of H-1B labor condition applications were filed 
electronically. Additionally, a high percentage, if not most of, the 
positions covered by H-1B labor condition applications are in 
information, computer, and other high-technology fields. For example, 
in FY 2004, the top four H-1B occupations certified by DOL included:
    1. Programmer analyst (18% of certified job openings);
    2. Software engineer (5% of certified job openings);
    3. Systems analyst (3%); and
    4. Computer programmer (2%).
    Similarly, according to data from the Department of Homeland 
Security, of the approved H-1B petitions in FY 2002, 38% were in 
computer-related occupations and 13% in architecture, engineering, and 
surveying, while in FY 2000 and 2001, 58% of approved petitions were in 
computer-related occupations. See Characteristics of Specialty 
Occupation Workers (H-1B)--Fiscal Year 2002 (http:// uscis.gov/ 

graphics/ shared/ services/ employerinfo/ FY2002Charact.pdf); Fiscal 
Year 2001 (http://uscis.gov/ graphics/ shared/ services/ employerinfo/ FY2001Charact.pdf); Fiscal Year 2000 (http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/services/employerinfo/FY2000Charact.pdf
).

    Finally, this NPRM furthers the Federal government goal of 
promoting electronic government services and Internet-based information 
technology that will improve services to citizens. See, e.g., E-
Government Act of 2002,

[[Page 16777]]

Public Law 107-347, 116 Stat. 2899 (2002) (promoting use of the 
Internet and other information technologies to improve government 
services to citizens); Government Paperwork Elimination Act, section 
1704, Public Law 105-277, Division C, Title XVII, 112 Stat. 2681 (1998) 
(requiring Federal agencies, as practicable, to offer options for 
electronically transacting business with and submitting information to 
the agency); Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, 109 
Stat. 163 (1995) (requiring use of information technology to the 
maximum extent practicable to reduce burden and improve data quality, 
agency efficiency, and responsiveness to the public).
    The Department invites comments on the proposed elimination of U.S. 
Mail and facsimile filings, except in limited circumstances, and the 
requiring of employers to file electronically. The Department is 
particularly interested in receiving comments from small business 
entities on this proposal.
    In addition to the proposed regulatory changes to institute a 
general requirement for electronic filing of LCAs, this NPRM also 
proposes a number of technical amendments to ETA's H-1B and H-1B1 
regulations to correct terminology and addresses, update internal 
agency procedures, and clarify text. Specifically, this NPRM proposes 
amending the definition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service 
(INS) at Sec.  655.715 to reflect that INS' functions in relation to H-
1B visas now are performed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. The Sec.  
655.715 definition of State Employment Security Agency or SESA is also 
proposed to be amended to reflect that these state agencies now are 
known as ``State Workforce Agencies'' or SWAs.
    This NPRM also proposes amending the H-1B and H-1B1 regulations at 
Sec. Sec.  655.715, 655.720, 655.721, and 655.740 to remove references 
to the previous role of ``Regional Certifying Officers'' and ETA's 
Regional Offices in processing labor condition applications and taking 
other actions regarding LCAs. These regulatory references are 
unnecessary and should be deleted, because ETA Regional Offices no 
longer process LCAs, and this NPRM does not propose reinstating any 
processing role for ETA Regional Offices. We also propose amending 
Sec.  655.720(d) to reflect that the ETA National Office, not ETA 
Regional Offices, handles other matters regarding the H-1B and H-1B1 
programs, and to provide a clearer reference to the regulatory section 
that identifies how employers may challenge state prevailing wage 
determinations. Consistent with the deletion of references to a role 
regarding LCAs for ETA Regional Offices, this NPRM also proposes 
removal of Sec.  655.721, which currently provides the addresses of ETA 
Regional Offices.
    A number of regulatory amendments are included in this NPRM to 
reflect Congress' reinstatement, effective March 8, 2005, of special 
attestation requirements for employers who are H-1B dependent or 
willful violators. As discussed in Section I above, these special 
attestation requirements had sunset on September 30, 2003. Provisions 
reflecting the responsibility of employers who file applications 
regarding H-1B nonimmigrants (but not regarding H-1B1 nonimmigrants) to 
provide information regarding H-1B dependent status and these special 
attestations are found at Sec. Sec.  655.705(c)(1), 655.730(c)(2), 
(c)(4)(vii), and (d)(5), and 655.736(c), (g)(1), (g)(2) and (g)(3). As 
reflected in these sections, the special attestation requirements for 
H-1B dependent employers and willful violators apply to H-1B labor 
condition applications filed with the Department on or after March 8, 
2005. These special attestation requirements do not apply to H-1B labor 
condition applications filed from October 1, 2003, through March 7, 
2005, or before January 19, 2001. An LCA filed during a period when the 
special attestation obligations for H-1B dependent employers and 
willful violators were not in effect (that is, prior to January 19, 
2001, and from October 1, 2003, through March 7, 2005) may not be used 
by an H-1B dependent employer or willful violator to support either 
petitions for new H-1B nonimmigrants or requests for extensions of 
status for existing H-1B nonimmigrants.
    Additionally, the following sections are being revised to reflect 
address changes: (1) in Sec.  655.710(b) and Sec.  655.734(a)(1)(ii), 
the address for filing complaints with the Department of Justice 
arising under 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(G)(i)(II) of the INA; (2) in Sec.  
655.720(c) (previously Sec.  655.720(b)), the address for filing LCAs 
by mail; and (3) in Sec.  655.750(b)(2), the address for withdrawing 
previously filed LCAs. In the case of both the address for filing LCAs 
by mail (Sec.  655.720(c)) and for withdrawing previously filed LCAs 
(Sec.  655.750(b)(2)), because ETA anticipates addresses may change 
between the publication of this NPRM and the resulting final rule, this 
NPRM states that addresses will be published on DOL's web site at 
http://www.ows.doleta.gov/foreign/. ETA anticipates the final rule will 

state the actual mailing address in both Sec.  655.720(c) and Sec.  
655.750(b)(2).
    Finally, where regulatory sections or subsections are being amended 
to reflect the e-filing requirement, these sections have been edited 
for clarity and to update terminology, such as replacing INS with 
USCIS.

IV. Administrative Information

    Executive Order 12866--Regulatory Planning and Review: We have 
determined that this proposed rule is significant, although not 
``economically significant'' within the meaning of Executive Order 
12866. The proposed rule therefore has been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB). The requirement for all-electronic filing 
(except in limited circumstances) of H-1B and H-1B1 labor condition 
applications, and corresponding elimination of U.S. Mail or facsimile 
filing options, will not have an economic impact of $100 million or 
more because this will not alter the required forms or attestations for 
labor condition applications, but rather require all-electronic filing 
of LCAs (except in limited circumstances). The proposed rule will alter 
the filing mechanism for less than 10 percent of the LCAs filed in FY 
2004, namely those filed by means other than electronic filing. While 
employers previously filing by facsimile or U.S. Mail will have to 
change to electronic filing, they will be moving to a more efficient 
and rapid filing procedure.
    Regulatory Flexibility Act: We have notified the Chief Counsel for 
Advocacy, Small Business Administration, and made the certification 
pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) at 5 U.S.C. 605(b), 
that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities.
    The factual basis for that certification is as follows: Based on 
past filing data, ETA estimates in the upcoming year employers will 
file approximately 260,000 attestations under the H-1B and H-1B1 
program as a whole. (Since the H-1B program's inception, the number of 
H-1B attestations has exceeded the initial H-1B visas available each 
year; for example, for Fiscal Year 2003, about 261,000 attestations 
covering 517,000 job openings were certified even though only 195,000 
initial H-1B visas were available that year. As previously noted, only 
approximately 50 H-1B1 attestations were filed with ETA in the first 9 
months that the H-1B1 program operated.) Some employers will file 
multiple attestations in a year. We do not inquire about the size of 
employers

[[Page 16778]]

filing labor attestations; however, the number of small entities that 
file attestations in the upcoming year will be less than the expected 
total of 260,000 applications and significantly below the potential 
universe of small businesses to which the program is open. Because 
applications come from employers in all industry segments, we consider 
all small businesses as the appropriate universe for comparison 
purposes. According to the Small Business Administration's publication 
The Regulatory Flexibility Act--An Implementation Guide for Federal 
Agencies, there were 22,900,000 small businesses in the United States 
in 2002. Thus in comparison to the universe of all small businesses, 
the expected 260,000 applications represent approximately 1% of all 
small businesses. The Department of Labor asserts a small business pool 
of 1% does not represent a substantial proportion of small entities.
    In any case, the Department of Labor does not believe this proposed 
rule will have a significant economic impact on employers using the H-
1B and H-1B1 programs. This proposed rule does not alter the required 
forms or attestations for labor condition applications, but rather 
requires all-electronic filing of LCAs (except in limited 
circumstances). The proposed rule will alter the filing mechanism for 
less than 10 percent of the LCAs filed in FY 2004, namely those filed 
by means other than electronic filing. While employers previously 
filing by facsimile or U.S. Mail will have to change to electronic 
filing, they will be moving to a more efficient and rapid filing 
procedure. The Department of Labor welcomes comments on this RFA 
certification.
    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995: This proposed rule will not 
result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in 
the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any 
one year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments. Therefore, no actions are deemed necessary under the 
provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.
    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996: This 
proposed rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996 (SBREFA). The 
standards for determining whether a rule is a major rule as defined by 
section 804 of SBREFA are similar to those used to determine whether a 
rule is an ``economically significant regulatory action'' within the 
meaning of Executive Order 12866. Because we certified this proposed 
rule is not an economically significant rule under Executive Order 
12866, we certify that it also is not a major rule under SBREFA. It 
will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or 
more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse 
effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, 
innovation, or on the ability of United States-based companies to 
compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and export markets.
    Executive Order 13132: This proposed rule will not have substantial 
direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the National 
Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in 
accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, it is determined 
this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant 
the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.
    Executive Order 12988 Civil Justice Reform: This rule meets the 
applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of 
Executive Order 12988.
    Paperwork Reduction Act: The collection of information under 20 CFR 
part 655, subpart H, is currently approved under OMB control number 
1205-0310. This proposed rule does not include a substantive or 
material modification of that collection of information. Forms ETA 9035 
and 9035E are not being changed by this proposed rule and both will 
remain in use. Accordingly, the Department believes the Paperwork 
Reduction Act is inapplicable to this proposed rule. The Department 
invites the public to comment on its Paperwork Reduction Act analysis.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: This program is 
listed in the Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance at Number 
17.252, ``Attestations by Employers Using Non-Immigrant Aliens in 
Specialty Occupations.''

List of Subjects in 20 CFR Part 655

    Administrative practice and procedure, Agriculture, Aliens, Chile, 
Employment, Forest and forest products, Health professions, 
Immigration, Labor, Longshore work, Migrant labor, Penalties, Reporting 
requirements, Singapore, Students, Wages.

    For the reasons stated in the Preamble, the Department of Labor 
proposes to amend 20 CFR part 655, subpart H, as follows:

PART 655--TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT OF ALIENS IN THE UNITED STATES

Subpart H--Labor Condition Applications and Requirements for 
Employers Using Nonimmigrants on H-1B Visas in Specialty 
Occupations and as Fashion Models, and Labor Attestation 
Requirements for Employers Using Nonimmigrants on H-1B1 Visas in 
Specialty Occupations

    1. The authority citation for part 655 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: Section 655.0 issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i) 
and (ii), 1182(m), (n), and (t), 1184, 1188, and 1288(c) and (d); 29 
U.S.C. 49 et seq.; sec. 3(c)(1), Pub. L. 101-238, 103 Stat. 2099, 
2102 (8 U.S.C. 1182 note); sec. 221(a), Pub. L. 101-649, 104 Stat. 
4978, 5027 (8 U.S.C. 1184 note); sec. 323, Pub. L. 103-206, 107 
Stat. 2149; Title IV, Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681; Pub. L. 106-
95, 113 Stat. 1312 (8 U.S.C. 1182 note); and 8 CFR 213.2(h)(4)(i).
    Section 655.00 issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii), 1184, 
and 1188; 29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.; and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(i).
    Subparts A and C issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) and 
1184; 29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.; and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(i).
    Subpart B issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), 1184, and 
1188; and 29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.
    Subparts D and E issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(a), 
1182(m), and 1184; 29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.; and sec. 3(c)(1), Pub. L. 
101-238, 103 Stat. 2099, 2103 (8 U.S.C. 1182 note).
    Subparts F and G issued under 8 U.S.C. 1184 and 1288(c); and 29 
U.S.C. 49 et seq.
    Subparts H and I issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) and 
(b1), 1182(n), 1182(t), and 1184; 29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.; sec 
303(a)(8), Pub. L. 102-232, 105 Stat. 1733, 1748 (8 U.S.C. 1182 
note); and Title IV, Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681.
    Subparts J and K issued under 29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.; and sec. 
221(a), Pub. L. 101-649, 104 Stat. 4978, 5027 (8 U.S.C. 1184 note).
    Subparts L and M issued under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(c), 
1182(m), and 1184; and 29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.

    2. Section 655.700 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(1) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  655.700  What statutory provisions govern the employment of H-1B 
and H-1B1 nonimmigrants and how do employers apply for an H-1B or H-1B1 
visa?

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) First, an employer shall submit to DOL, and obtain DOL 
certification of, a labor condition application (LCA). The requirements 
for obtaining a certified LCA are provided in this subpart. The 
electronic LCA (Form ETA 9035E) is available at http://www.lca.doleta.gov.
 The paper-version LCA (Form ETA 9035) and the LCA 

cover pages (Form

[[Page 16779]]

ETA 9035CP), which contain the full attestation statements incorporated 
by reference into Form ETA 9035 and Form ETA 9035E, may be obtained 
from http://ows.doleta.gov and from the Employment and Training 

Administration (ETA) National Office. Employers must file LCAs in the 
manner prescribed in Sec.  655.720(a).
* * * * *
    3. Section 655.705 is amended by revising the section heading and 
paragraphs (c) introductory text and (c)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  655.705  What Federal agencies are involved in the H-IB and H-1B1 
programs, and what are the responsibilities of those agencies and of 
employers?

* * * * *
    (c) Employer's Responsibilities. This paragraph applies only to the 
H-1B program; employer's responsibilities under the H-1B1 program are 
found at Sec.  655.700(d)(4). Each employer seeking an H-1B 
nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of 
distinguished merit and ability has several responsibilities, as 
described more fully in this subpart and subpart I of this part, 
including--
    (1) The employer shall submit a completed labor condition 
application (LCA) on Form ETA 9035E or Form ETA 9035 in the manner 
prescribed in Sec.  655.720. By completing and submitting the LCA, and 
in addition by signing the LCA, the employer makes certain 
representations and agrees to several attestations regarding its 
responsibilities, including the wages, working conditions, and benefits 
to be provided to the H-1B nonimmigrants (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)); these 
attestations are specifically identified and incorporated by reference 
in the LCA, as well as being set forth in full on Form ETA 9035CP. The 
LCA contains additional attestations for certain H-1B-dependent 
employers and employers found to have willfully violated the H-1B 
program requirements; these attestations impose certain obligations to 
recruit U.S. workers, to offer the job to U.S. applicants who are 
equally or better qualified than the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) sought for 
the job, and to avoid the displacement of U.S. workers (either in the 
employer's workforce, or in the workforce of a second employer with 
whom the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is placed, where there are indicia of 
employment with that second employer (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(E)-(G)). 
These additional attestations are specifically identified and 
incorporated by reference in the LCA, as well as being set forth in 
full on Form ETA 9035CP. If ETA certifies the LCA, notice of the 
certification will be sent to the employer by the same means that the 
employer used to submit the LCA (that is, electronically where the Form 
ETA 9035E was submitted electronically, and by U.S. Mail where the Form 
ETA 9035 was submitted by U.S. Mail). The employer reaffirms its 
acceptance of all of the attestation obligations by submitting the LCA 
to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS) in support of the 
Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, for an H-1B nonimmigrant. 
See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(B)(2), which specifies that the employer 
will comply with the terms of the LCA for the duration of the H-1B 
nonimmigrant's authorized period of stay.
* * * * *
    4. Section 655.710 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  655.710  What is the procedure for filing a complaint?

* * * * *
    (b) Complaints arising under section 212(n)(1)(G)(i)(II) of the 
INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(G)(i)(II), alleging failure of the employer to 
offer employment to an equally or better qualified U.S. applicant, or 
an employer's misrepresentation regarding such offer(s) of employment, 
may be filed with the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, 
Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment 
Practices, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20530, 
telephone: 1-800-255-8155 (employers), 1-800-255-7688 (employees); Web 
address: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc. The Department of Justice shall 

investigate where appropriate and shall take such further action as may 
be appropriate under that Department's regulations and procedures.
    5. Section 655.715 is amended by revising the definitions of 
Certifying Officer and Regional Certifying Officer, Immigration and 
Naturalizatio



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