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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

[Federal Register: August 4, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 150)]
[Notices]               
[Page 47241-47243]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr04au11-103]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

 
Training and Employment Guidance (TEGL) Letter No. 33-10: Special 
Procedures: Labor Certification Process for Itinerant Commercial 
Beekeeping Employers in 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 33-10 
entitled, Special Procedures: Labor Certification Process for Itinerant 
Commercial Beekeeping Employers in 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 Itinerant 
Commercial Beekeeping Employers in the H-2A Program

    1. Purpose. To establish special procedures for itinerant 
commercial beekeeper employers who apply to the Department to obtain 
labor certifications to hire temporary agricultural foreign workers 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.
    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. Additionally, 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

[[Page 47242]]

the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.
    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 policy objectives of the H-2A Program, 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). 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 certain H-2A applications, as long as those procedures 
do not deviate from statutory requirements under the INA.
    After receiving a request from the American Beekeeping Federation 
and in consideration of the unique characteristics of itinerant 
commercial beekeeping operations, the Department is exercising its 
authority to establish certain special procedures for processing H-2A 
applications for itinerant commercial beekeeping occupations. The 
Department recognizes that an industry-wide standard exists among 
commercial beekeeping employers to transport honey bee colonies to 
farms and orchards throughout the U.S. Itinerant commercial beekeepers 
typically transport their honey bee colonies north in the summer and 
south in the winter, stopping as needed to pollinate crops in bloom. 
For both commercial beekeepers and farmers, the need to move bees from 
one State to another throughout the growing season has intensified as 
the number of bees and beekeepers decline and agricultural methods 
evolve.
    Large farms and orchards require a large concentration of healthy, 
active pollinators during specific periods when crops are in flower. In 
addition, beekeepers have determined that they can maintain stronger, 
healthier honey bee colonies by transporting their colonies to warmer, 
southern States during the cold months. Providing flexibility in the H-
2A Program for itinerant commercial beekeepers to move honey bee 
colonies to various parts of the U.S. will enable this industry to 
maintain strong, healthy honey bee colonies and provide the pollination 
services which are vital to successful crop production. Accordingly, 
the Department is establishing special procedures enabling itinerant 
commercial beekeeper employers to use the H-2A Program while moving 
their beekeeping activities among farms and orchards located in 
multiple areas of intended employment throughout the U.S.
    4. Special Procedures. Attachment A outlines special procedures for 
applications submitted by itinerant commercial beekeeping employers 
under the H-2A Program. Unless otherwise specified in Attachment A, 
applications submitted by itinerant commercial beekeeper employers must 
comply with the requirements for 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 itinerant commercial 
beekeeping in the H-2A Program with a start date of need on or after 
October 1, 2011.
    6. Action. The 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 labor certification applications 
from itinerant commercial beekeeping employers.
    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. Attachment.
    Attachment A: Special Procedures: Labor Certification Process for 
Itinerant Commercial Beekeeping Employers under the H-2A. See full text 
below.

Attachment A: Special Procedures: Labor Certification Process for 
Applications in the Itinerant Commercial Beekeeping Industry Under the 
H-2A Program

    This document outlines special procedures for applications 
submitted by employers in the itinerant commercial beekeeping industry 
under the H-2A Program. Unless otherwise specified in this attachment, 
applications submitted for itinerant commercial beekeeping 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 itinerant commercial beekeeping 
occupations must comply with the requirements of 20 CFR parts 655, 
subpart B, 653, subparts B and F, and 654.

I. Prefiling Procedures

    A. Job Orders and SWA Review (20 CFR 655.121). An employer engaged 
in commercial beekeeping 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 in interstate clearance 
under 20 CFR 655.150), unless otherwise advised by the Chicago NPC.
    B. 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 itinerant beekeeping 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 specify that applicants possess up to 3 months of 
experience as a beekeeper and may require reference(s) to verify the 
applicant's experience performing such activities.

[[Page 47243]]

Applicants must provide the name, address, and telephone number of any 
previous employer 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 itinerant beekeeping employer may 
require in its job offer that an applicant for the job must be 
available to work for 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 employer at whatever 
place the employer is located at the time and remain with the employer 
for the duration of the beekeeping itinerary. An employer's rejection 
of an applicant who is unable or unwilling to accept such a requirement 
is considered a lawful job-related rejection.
    Other Requirements. Due to the unique nature of the work to be 
performed, the job offer may specify that applicants may not have bee-, 
pollen- or honey-related allergies and must have or be able to obtain 
within 30 days of employment, a valid U.S. driver's license. Any other 
requirements must be normal and accepted for the occupation, and the 
SWA and the Chicago NPC have the authority to request supporting 
documentation substantiating the appropriateness of the duties prior to 
accepting the job order.
    2. Workers' compensation. The employer must provide workers' 
compensation insurance coverage, as described in 20 CFR 655.122(e), in 
all States where commercial migratory beekeeping 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 commercial migratory beekeeping 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.
    3. 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. All employer-provided 
housing must comply with requirements set out in 20 CFR 655.122(d) for 
the entire period of occupancy. For each anticipated worksite covering 
the itinerary, the job offer must disclose the type, location, and 
capacity of all housing that will be provided to the workers. Prior to 
the issuance of the Temporary Labor Certification, the CO must receive 
evidence that all housing complies with the applicable local, State, or 
Federal housing standards.
    4. Rates of pay. For each State listed in an approved itinerary, 
the employer must state in its job offer and agree to pay a wage that 
is at least 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 the work is performed.

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.
    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 commercial beekeeping 
activities is authorized to file an Application for Temporary 
Employment Certification covering one or more areas of intended 
employment based on a planned itinerary. An itinerant beekeeping 
employer who desires to employ one or more nonimmigrant workers on an 
itinerary to provide beekeeping services to fixed-site farmers/ranchers 
is, by definition, an H-2ALC. Therefore, the itinerant beekeeping 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.

    Signed in Washington, DC this 29th day of July 2011.
Jane Oates,
Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Administration.
[FR Doc. 2011-19751 Filed 8-3-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-FP-P


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