The H-2B program is a government program that allows U.S. companies to bring in qualified employees to fill temporary or seasonal positions that they cannot fill with U.S. workers. To participate, a company must prove that there aren’t enough U.S. workers able or willing to fill their seasonal positions. There are many safeguards in place to protect the foreign workers as well as the employer’s U.S. workers. In April 2015, an Interim Final Rule was enacted by the Department of Labor that sets up increased protections for employees and increased responsibilities for the employers.
Foreign workers must be paid a fair wage and H-2B employers are forbidden from collecting fees from them relating to their recruitment. According to the 2015 Interim Final Rule, foreign workers are also protected from retaliation by their employers if they attempt to call attention to unfair or illegal practices. U.S. workers are protected in many ways as well, to ensure that they aren’t being turned away from jobs because of the H-2B program. Required recruitment of U.S. workers is completed by an employer seeking foreign employees, and detailed reports must be provided to the DOL before their request for H-2B certification is granted.
In fact, going through the steps to hire H-2B workers is so time-consuming that it is only seems to be cost-effective for companies who truly need help finding employees. Hiring U.S. workers is always going to be easier than bringing in employees from another country. But when your business is suffering because you can’t find employees, the H-2B program can be a lifesaver.