Making the Government Put the American Worker First
(Washington, D.C.) - This week, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a public comment (attached here) with the Office of Foreign Labor Certification division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), urging the DOL to amend its regulations and Labor Condition Application (LCA) form for certain nonimmigrant workers. IRLI's comment is in response to a Comment Request for Information Collection by the DOL as the agency seeks to update and reform its LCA process for the H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrant visa programs.
Urging the DOL to take long overdue steps to protect American workers, IRLI's comment makes four key recommendations:
First, IRLI recommends that the DOL amend its LCA form to specifically identify each nonimmigrant worker. Although the DOL recognizes preexisting problems within the LCA system, its current proposal fails to address the practice of unscrupulous employers using blanket petitions to hire unidentified alien workers. Using unidentified aliens makes it virtually impossible for the government to enforce the requirement that U.S. workers be hired if they are as qualified as or more qualified than H-1B workers.
Second, IRLI recommends the DOL actually require full-time employment of H-1B workers. If an alien is only working part-time and was admitted on an employment visa for the purpose of employment, then it stands to reason that for much of the time the alien is not actually doing anything that fits the visa category for which the alien was admitted.
Third, IRLI recommends that employers of H-1B workers should be required to specify a bona fide place of business to prevent fraud and abuse. Astoundingly, the address listed on many LCAs is merely a drop box or a residence, with 2016 disclosure data showing several instances of approved LCAs at the same residential address.
• Finally, IRLI recommends that the LCA form require the use of a government wage source. Remarkably, DOL regulations currently permit employers to use nearly any source for a prevailing wage, further hindering the agency's already limited enforcement ability.
"Congress created certain safeguards to ensure employers make a good faith effort to recruit and hire American workers before turning to foreign labor. Unfortunately, the systems currently in place by the DOL fail to enforce these protections," commented IRLI Executive Director Dale L. Wilcox. "Thankfully, the Trump Administration has recognized the need for real reform and is making an effort to update preexisting procedures to put U.S. workers first. We are encouraged by the Administration's Request for Information Collection on this matter and hope they will incorporate our recommendations as they seek to make America great again."
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