ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers

Home Page

Advanced search


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

Chinese Immig. Daily

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily

 

Chinese Immig. Daily



The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of free
information!

Copyright
©1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

Immigration Daily: the news source for
legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers
Enter your email address here:



< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

[Federal Register: August 4, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 150)]
[Notices]               
[Page 47248-47251]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr04au11-105]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

 
Training and Employment Guidance (TEGL) Letter No. 16-06, Change 
1, Special Procedures: Labor Certification Process for Multi-State 
Custom Combine Owners/Operators Under the H-2A Program

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the United 
States Department of Labor (Department) is publishing, for public 
information, notice of the issuance and availability of TEGL 16-06, 
Change 1, entitled, Special Procedures: Labor Certification Process for 
Multi-State Custom Combine Owners/Operators under the H-2A Program, 
signed on June 14, 2011, by Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary for 
Employment and Training Administration.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William L. Carlson, PhD, 
Administrator, Office of Foreign Labor Certification, ETA, 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 number above via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal 
Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Special Procedures: Labor Certification Process for Multi-State Custom 
Combine Owners/Operators Under the H-2A Program

    1. Purpose. To transmit special procedures, updated to reflect 
regulatory and organization changes in the H-2A Program, for multi-
state custom combine owners/operators (including Canadian) who apply to 
the Department of Labor (Department) to obtain labor certifications to 
hire temporary agricultural foreign workers as crew members to perform 
work in the United States (U.S.).
    2. References.
     20 CFR part 655, subpart B;
     20 CFR part 653, subparts B and F;
     20 CFR part 654, subpart E;
     Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) No. 16-06, 
Special Procedures for Processing H-2A Applications for Multi-State 
Custom Combine Owners/Operators;
     Field Memorandum (FM) No. 5-04, Special Procedures: Labor 
Certification for Processing H-2A Applications for Multi-State Custom 
Combine Owners/Operators;
     ETA Handbook No. 385.
    3. Background. In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and 
Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) which amended the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., and established the H-2A 
Program. In 1987, the Department issued an Interim Final Rule, 
promulgating the first H-2A regulations (the 1987 regulations) in 
accordance with IRCA. 54 FR 20496, Jun. 1, 1987. The 1987 regulations 
provided for the administration of the H-2A Program by ETA Regional 
Administrators, and instituted procedures to offset the adverse effects 
of immigration on U.S. workers. The 1987 regulations also established 
special procedures for certain occupations, as long as they did not 
deviate from the Secretary's statutory responsibility to determine U.S. 
worker availability and the adverse effect of foreign workers on the 
wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.
    The significance of the custom combine activity on the U.S. economy 
resulted in the promulgation of H-2A special procedures that were 
initially published in the Federal Register on April 12, 1989 (54 FR 
14703, Apr. 12, 1989). Upon a request from the U.S. Custom Harvesters, 
Inc., the special procedures for custom combine owners/operators were 
revised and transmitted by FM No. 5-04 on January 28, 2004, which was 
directed to all ETA Regional Administrators. The processing of H-2A 
applications at that time was conducted by ETA Regional Offices. FM No. 
5-04 was rescinded by TEGL 16-06.
    The 1987 regulations remained in effect, largely unchanged, until 
the Department promulgated new H-2A regulations on December 18, 2008. 
73 FR 77110, Dec. 18, 2008 (the 2008 Final Rule). The 2008 Final Rule 
implemented an attestation-based application process and made several 
substantive changes to the program, but retained the special procedures 
concept. After the Department determined that the 2008 Final Rule did 
not meet H-2A Program policy objectives, the Department commenced 
another rulemaking process culminating in the publication of new H-2A 
regulations on February 12, 2010. 75 FR 6884, Feb. 12, 2010 (the 2010 
Final Rule). The 2010 Final Rule implements changes that affect special 
procedures for multi-state custom combine owners and operators.
    Section 20 CFR 655.102 provides the Administrator of the Office of 
Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) with authority to establish, 
continue, revise or revoke special procedures for processing of certain 
H-2A applications, including those for custom combine harvesting crews, 
as long as those procedures do not deviate from statutory requirements 
under the INA.
    This TEGL updates the special procedures previously established for 
applications for multi-state custom combine owners and operators to 
reflect organizational changes, in addition to new regulatory and 
policy objectives. It rescinds and replaces previous guidance 
disseminated under TEGL No. 16-06, Special Procedures for Processing H-
2A Applications for Multi-State Custom Combine Owners/Operators.
    4. Special Procedures. Attachment A outlines special procedures for 
applications submitted by multi-state custom combine owners/operators 
under the H-2A Program. Attachment B outlines standards for housing 
applicable to multi-state custom combine owners/operators under the H-
2A Program. Unless otherwise specified in Attachments A and B, 
applications submitted for these occupations must comply with the 
requirements for processing H-2A applications contained at 20 CFR part 
655, subpart B. Similarly, unless otherwise specified, job orders 
submitted for these occupations must comply with the requirements of 20 
CFR parts 655, subpart B, 653, subparts B and F, and 654.
    5. Effective Date. This guidance applies to all temporary labor 
certification applications for occupations in custom combine operations 
in the H-2A Program with a start date of need on or after October 1, 
2011.
    6. Action. Chicago National Processing Center (Chicago NPC) Program 
Director and State Workforce Agency (SWA) Administrators are directed 
to immediately provide copies of these special procedures to all staff 
involved in processing H-2A applications from multi-state custom 
combine owners/operators.
    7. Inquiries. Questions from SWA staff should be directed to the 
Chicago NPC. Questions from the Chicago NPC staff should be directed to 
the OFLC National Office.
    8. Attachments.

[[Page 47249]]

    Attachment A--Special Procedures: Labor Certification Process for 
the Multi-State Custom Combine Owners/Operators under the H-2A Program. 
See full text below.
    Attachment B--Standards for Housing Applicable to Multi-State 
Custom Combine Owners/Operators. See full text below.

Attachment A: Special Procedures: Labor Certification Process for 
Applications for Multi-State Custom Combine Owners/Operators Under the 
H-2A Program

    This document outlines special procedures for applications 
submitted by multi-state custom combine owners/operators under the H-2A 
Program. Unless otherwise specified in this attachment, applications 
submitted for custom combine occupations must comply with the 
requirements for processing H-2A applications outlined in 20 CFR part 
655, subpart B. Similarly, unless otherwise specified, job orders 
submitted for custom combine occupations must comply with the 
requirements of 20 CFR parts 655, subpart B, 653, subparts B and F, and 
654.

I. Prefiling Procedures

    A. Offered Wage Rate (20 CFR 655.120(a)). An employer must offer, 
advertise in the course of its recruitment, and pay a wage that is the 
highest of the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, the prevailing hourly wage, 
the agreed-upon collective bargaining wage, or the Federal or State 
minimum wage, in effect at the time custom combine work is performed 
and for each State listed in an approved itinerary. In establishing 
agricultural prevailing wages, including those for custom combine 
activities, the Department continues to use findings from prevailing 
wage surveys conducted by SWAs in accordance with the procedures in the 
ETA Handbook No. 385. SWAs are required to transmit wage rate findings 
covering custom combine activities to the OFLC between May 1st and June 
1st of each calendar year. Following a review of the SWA wage rate 
findings, the OFLC will publish the new agricultural prevailing wage 
rates in a Federal Register notice with an immediate effective date.
    B. Job Orders and SWA Review (20 CFR 655.121). An employer engaged 
in custom combine activities is allowed to submit a single Agricultural 
and Food Processing Clearance Order, ETA Form 790 (job order), Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) 1205-0134, and all appropriate 
attachments covering a planned itinerary of work in multiple States. If 
the job opportunity is located in more than one State, either within 
the same area of intended employment or multiple areas of intended 
employment, the employer must submit the job order and all attachments 
(including a detailed itinerary) to the SWA having jurisdiction over 
the anticipated worksite(s) where the work is expected to begin. The 
employer must submit the job order no more than 75 calendar days and no 
less than 60 calendar days before the employer's first date of need.
    Unless otherwise specified in these special procedures, the job 
order submitted to the SWA must satisfy the requirements for 
agricultural clearance orders outlined in 20 CFR part 653, subpart F 
and the requirements set forth in 20 CFR 655.122. The SWA will review 
the job order for regulatory compliance and will work with the employer 
to address any noted deficiencies. Upon its clearance of the job order, 
the SWA must promptly place the job order in intrastate clearance and 
commence recruitment of U.S. workers.
    The job order shall remain active until 50 percent of the work 
contract period has elapsed for all SWAs in possession of the 
employer's job order (including those receiving it in interstate 
clearance under 20 CFR 655.150), unless otherwise advised by the 
Chicago NPC.
    C. Contents of Job Offers (20 CFR 655.122). Unless otherwise 
specified in this section, the content of job offers submitted to the 
SWAs and the Chicago NPC for custom combine activities must comply with 
all of the requirements of 20 CFR parts 655, subpart B, 653, subparts B 
and F, and 654.
    1. Job qualifications and requirements.
    Experience. Due to the unique nature of the work to be performed, 
the job offer may require that applicants possess up to 6 months of 
experience in custom combining activity and may require reference(s) to 
verify experience in performing such activities. Applicants must 
provide the name, address, and telephone number of any previous 
employer being used as a reference. The appropriateness of any other 
experience requirements must be substantiated by the employer and 
approved by the Chicago NPC.
    Completion of Itinerary. An employer engaged in multi-state custom 
combine activity may require in its job offer that an applicant for the 
job must be available to work for the remainder of the entire 
itinerary. An applicant referred to the employer after the labor 
certification has been granted, but before 50 percent of the work 
contract period for the entire itinerary has elapsed, must be available 
and willing to join the crew at whatever place the crew is located at 
the time and remain with the crew for the duration of the custom 
combine itinerary.
    2. Housing. The employer must state in its job offer that 
sufficient housing will be provided at no cost to H-2A workers and any 
workers in corresponding employment who are not reasonably able to 
return to their residence within the same day. Except for long-
established standards for mobile housing in Attachment B, all employer-
provided housing must comply with requirements set out in 20 CFR 
655.122(d) for the entire period of occupancy. A custom combine 
employer whose itinerary requires mobile housing may provide mobile 
housing to its workers.
    3. Workers' compensation. The employer must provide workers' 
compensation insurance coverage as described in 20 CFR 655.122(e) in 
all States where custom combine work will be performed. Prior to the 
issuance of the Temporary Labor Certification, the employer must 
provide the Certifying Officer (CO) with proof of workers' compensation 
coverage, including the name of the insurance carrier, the insurance 
policy number, and proof of insurance for the dates of need, or, if 
appropriate, proof of State law coverage for each State where the 
custom combine work will be performed. In the event that the current 
coverage will expire before the end of the certified work contract 
period or the insurance statement does not include all of the 
information required under the regulations at 20 CFR 655.122(e), the 
employer will be required to supplement its proof of workers' 
compensation for that State before a final determination is due. Where 
the employer's coverage will expire before the end of the certified 
work contract period, the employer may submit as proof of renewed 
coverage a signed and dated statement or letter showing proof of intent 
to renew and maintain coverage for the dates of need. The employer must 
maintain evidence that its workers' compensation was renewed, in the 
event the Department requests it.
    4. Employer-provided items. Due to the remote and unique nature of 
the work to be performed, the employer must also specify in the job 
offer and provide at no cost to workers an effective means of 
communicating with persons capable of responding to the worker's needs 
in case of an emergency. These means are necessary to perform the work 
and can include, but are not limited to, satellite phones, cell phones, 
wireless devices, radio transmitters, or other types of electronic 
communication

[[Page 47250]]

systems to assist workers in performing assigned duties.

II. Application for Temporary Employment Certification Filing 
Procedures

    A. Application Filing Requirements (20 CFR 655.130). An individual 
employer that desires to apply for temporary employment certification 
for one or more nonimmigrant workers must file the following 
documentation with the Chicago NPC no less than 45 calendar days before 
the employer's date of need:
     ETA Form 9142 (OMB 1205-0466), Application for Temporary 
Employment Certification, and Appendix A.2;
     Copy of the ETA Form 790 and all attachments previously 
submitted to the SWA;
     A planned itinerary listing the names and contact 
information of all farmers/ranchers and identifying, with as much 
geographic specificity as possible and for each farmer/rancher, all of 
the physical locations and estimated start and end dates of need where 
work will be performed; and
     All other required documentation supporting the 
application.
    Because of delays in mail delivery from Canada, Canadian employers 
are encouraged to use express overnight mail service to expedite the 
delivery and receipt of communications between employers and the 
Chicago NPC, so as to ensure meeting regulatory deadlines.
    B. H-2A Labor Contractor (H-2ALC) Filing Requirements (20 CFR 
655.132). The Department is granting a special variance to the 
application filing procedures for H-2ALCs contained at 20 CFR 
655.132(a). Specifically, an employer engaged in multi-state custom 
combine activities is authorized to file an Application for Temporary 
Employment Certification covering one or more areas of intended 
employment based on a definite itinerary. An employer who desires to 
employ one or more nonimmigrant workers on an itinerary to provide 
custom combine services to fixed-site farmers/ranchers is, by 
definition, an H-2ALC. Therefore, the custom combine labor contractor 
must identify itself as the employer of record on the ETA Form 9142 by 
completing Section C and marking item C.17 as ``H-2A Labor 
Contractor,'' and submitting, in addition to the documentation required 
under 20 CFR 655.130, all other required documentation supporting an H-
2ALC application. The only special variance to the requirements at 20 
CFR 655.132(b) is the recognized exemption of custom combine activities 
from the requirements of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker 
Protection Act (MSPA) (29 U.S.C. 1801, 1803(a)(30)(E) et seq.).

III. Post-Acceptance Requirements

    Billing (20 CFR 655.163(a)). When Canadian custom combine owners/
operators are billed for approved labor certifications, the billing 
notice will instruct the employer to pay by check or money order 
(including International Money Order), and require that the check or 
money order be payable in U.S. currency.

Attachment B: Standards for Housing Applicable to Multi-State Custom 
Combine Owners/Operators

I. Procedures

    Multi-state custom combine occupations generally require workers to 
live in housing of a mobile nature, a fixed-site farm, ranch or similar 
establishment or rental or public accommodations. For purposes of these 
special procedures, mobile housing is any housing that is capable of 
being moved from one area to another. The employer must provide housing 
at no cost to the H-2A workers and those workers in corresponding 
employment who are not reasonably able to return to their residence 
within the same day.
    Except for long-standing standards for mobile housing which are 
listed under II below, all employer-provided housing must comply with 
20 CFR 655.122(d). Multi-state custom combine owner/operators must 
provide an annual housing inspection report for all employer-owned 
housing (mobile or fixed-site housing) or other similar establishment 
used for sleeping purposes. Where the required inspection and approval 
report does not accompany the application, the employer may submit the 
report before the determination due date. However, the Chicago NPC will 
not certify applications unless the CO receives the required inspection 
report from the employer. The employer may amend the application with a 
written statement of assurance that motels, instead of mobile units, or 
other similar vehicles will be used to lodge crew members until the 
required SWA inspection report is submitted. When lodging will be in a 
motel or other public accommodation, the H-2A application must identify 
the rental, public accommodation, or other substantially similar class 
of habitation to be provided for the contract period, and the employer 
must submit a written statement of assurance to the Chicago NPC that 
such accommodations will comply with established standards for such 
housing during the entire period of occupancy. Any charges for rental 
or public accommodations must be paid directly by the employer to the 
owner or operator of the housing.
    Multi-state custom combine owners/operators from Canada who 
indicate that lodging for their crew members will be mobile units or 
other similar vehicles must submit a report of inspection of such 
vehicles conducted by a representative of the Canadian government with 
their H-2A applications. A new inspection report is required annually 
for each vehicle. I

II. Mobile Housing Standards

    An employer may use a mobile unit, camper, or other similar mobile 
vehicle for housing workers that meets the following standards:
A. Housing Site
    Mobile housing sites shall be well drained and free from 
depressions in which water may stagnate.
B. Water Supply
    1. An adequate and convenient supply of water that meets standards 
of the State health authority shall be provided. The amount of water 
provided must be enough for normal drinking, cooking, and bathing needs 
of each worker; and
    2. Individual drinking cups shall be provided.
C. Excreta and Liquid Waste Disposal
    1. Facilities shall be provided and maintained for effective 
disposal of excreta and liquid waste in accordance with requirements of 
the State health authority or involved Federal agency; and
    2. If pits are used for disposal by burying of excreta and liquid 
waste, they shall be kept fly-tight when not filled in completely after 
each use. The maintenance of disposal pits must be in accordance with 
State and local health and sanitation requirements.
D. Housing Structure
    1. Housing shall be structurally sound, in good repair, in sanitary 
condition and shall provide protection to occupants against the 
elements;
    2. Housing, other than tents, shall have flooring constructed of 
rigid materials easy to clean and so located as to prevent ground and 
surface water from entering;
    3. Each housing unit shall have at least one window which can be 
opened or skylight opening directly to the outdoors; and
    4. Tents may be used where terrain and/or land regulations do not 
permit use of other more substantial mobile

[[Page 47251]]

housing which provides facilities and protection closer in conformance 
with the Department's intent.
E. Heating
    1. Where the climate in which the housing will be used is such that 
the safety and health of a worker requires heated living quarters, all 
such quarters shall have properly installed operable heating equipment 
which supplies adequate heat. In considering whether the heating 
equipment is acceptable, the Chicago NPC shall first determine if the 
housing will be located in a National Forest Wilderness Section as 
specified in the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131-1136). Such a location 
has a bearing on the type of equipment practicable, and whether any 
heavy equipment can be used. For example, the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 
1133(c)) restricts certain motorized or mechanical transport on certain 
roads in wilderness areas. The U.S. Forest Service has regulations for 
this at 36 CFR part 293. Aside from the above, other factors to 
consider in evaluating heating equipment are the severity of the 
weather and the types of protective clothing and bedding made available 
to the worker. If the climate in which the housing will be used is mild 
and not reasonably expected to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit 
continuously for 24 hours, no separate heating equipment is required if 
proper protective clothing and bedding are made available;
    2. Any stoves or other sources of heat using combustible fuel shall 
be installed and vented in such a manner as to prevent fire hazards and 
a dangerous concentration of gases. Portable electrical heaters may be 
used, and if approved by Underwriters' Laboratory, kerosene heaters may 
be used according to manufacturer's instructions. If a solid or liquid 
fuel stove is used in a room with wooden or other combustible flooring, 
there shall be a concrete slab, insulated metal sheet, or other 
fireproof material on the floor under each stove, extending at least 18 
inches beyond the perimeter of the base of the stove;
    3. Any wall or ceiling within 18 inches of a solid or liquid fuel 
stove or stove pipe shall be made of fireproof material. A vented metal 
collar shall be installed around a stovepipe or vent passing through a 
wall, ceiling, floor or roof; and
    4. When a heating system has automatic controls, the controls shall 
be of the type which cuts off the fuel supply when the flame fails or 
is interrupted or whenever a predetermined safe temperature or pressure 
is exceeded.
F. Lighting
    1. In areas where it is not feasible to provide electrical service 
to mobile housing, including tents, lanterns shall be provided 
(kerosene wick lights meet the definition of lantern); and
    2. Lanterns, where used, shall be provided in a minimum ratio of 
one per occupant of each unit, including tents.

G. Bathing, Laundry and Hand Washing

    Movable bathing, laundry and hand washing facilities shall be 
provided when it is not feasible to provide hot and cold water under 
pressure.
H. Food Storage
    When mechanical refrigeration of food is not feasible, the worker 
must be provided with another means of keeping food fresh and 
preventing spoilage, such as a butane or propane gas refrigerator. 
Other proven methods of safeguarding fresh foods, such as salting, are 
acceptable.
I. Cooking and Eating Facilities
    1. When workers or their families are permitted or required to cook 
in their individual unit, a space shall be provided with adequate 
lighting and ventilation; and
    2. Wall surfaces next to all food preparation and cooking areas 
shall be of nonabsorbent, easy to clean material. Wall surfaces next to 
cooking areas shall be of fire-resistant material.
J. Garbage and Other Refuse
    1. Durable, fly-tight, clean containers shall be provided to each 
housing unit, including tents, for storing garbage and other refuse; 
and
    2. Provision shall be made for collecting or burying refuse, which 
includes garbage, at least twice a week or more often if necessary. 
Refuse disposal shall conform to Federal, State, or local law, 
whichever applies.
K. Insect and Rodent Control
    Appropriate materials, including sprays, must be provided to aid 
housing occupants in combating insects, rodents and other vermin.
L. Sleeping Facilities
    A separate sleeping unit shall be provided for each person, except 
in a family arrangement. Such a unit shall include a comfortable bed, 
cot, or bunk with a clean mattress. When filing an application for 
certification and only where it is demonstrated to the Certifying 
Officer that it is impractical to set up a second sleeping unit, the 
employer may request a variance from the separate sleeping unit 
requirement to allow for a second worker to temporarily join the custom 
combine operation. The second worker may be temporarily housed in the 
same sleeping unit for no more than three consecutive days and the 
employer must supply a sleeping bag or bed roll free of charge.
M. Fire, Safety and First Aid
    1. All units in which people sleep or eat shall be constructed and 
maintained according to applicable State or local fire and safety law;
    2. No flammable or volatile liquid or materials shall be stored in 
or next to rooms used for living purposes, except for those needed for 
current household use;
    3. Mobile housing units for range use must have a second means of 
escape. One of the two required means of escape must be a window which 
can be easily opened, a hutch, or other provision. It must be 
demonstrated that the custom combine worker would be able to crawl 
through the second exit without difficulty;
    4. Tents are not required to have a second means of escape, except 
when large tents with walls of rigid material are used. A heater may be 
used in a tent if the heater is approved by a testing service, such as 
Underwriters' Laboratory, and if the tent is fireproof; and
    5. Adequate fire extinguishers in good working condition and first 
aid kits shall be provided in the mobile housing.

     Signed in Washington, DC, this 29th day of July 2011.
Jane Oates,
Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Administration.
[FR Doc. 2011-19752 Filed 8-3-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-FP-P



Immigration Daily: the news source for
legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers
Enter your email address here: