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Foreign Labor - H-2B Visas

The Foreign Worker Labor Visas have become a major issue here in Texas.  The following information deals with the debate.

Foreign Worker Information (H-2B Visas):

Foreign Labor - H-2B Visas News

Foreign Labor - H-2B Visa News - Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Foreign Labor Certification?
  • Why is the program bad for Texas and the workers?
  • Can an employer that uses Foreign Workers be a Staff Leasing Agency?
  • What is Foreign Labor Certification?

    Federal Regulations allow Business Owners and Contractors the ability to recruit Foreign Labor when there is a shortage of American Workers to fill labor shortages. The construction industry falls in this category under the H-2B Visa Program. The State Workforce Agencies (SWA’s) are  no longer responsible for the H-2B application process. Employers or their acting representative now have to file a Form 9141 to request the required prevailing wage  with the Department of Labor National Processing Center in Chicago. Then the employer or their acting representative advertises the job in at least one Sunday newspaper and two other types of publications and posts the job on the State Workforce Agency for 10 days. After the required recruiting period, the H-2B Form 9142 application is filed with the Processing Center in Chicago, IL for consideration.

    There is a annual cap of 66,000 H-2B Visas issued annually with 33,000 beginning October 1st and the remaining 33,000 March 1st.  Foreign workers that previously worked under the H-2B Visas in the last 3 years did not count towards the hard cap. Congress did extend this rule that expired September 30, 2007.

    The issuance of foreign labor H-2B Visas are temporary in nature for a period not to exceed twelve (12) months or more than ten (10) months for seasonal or peak load needs and the jobs are specific on work locations.

    Why is the program bad for Texas and the workers?

    Employers seek the use of cheap foreign labor instead of really trying to hire American Workers with decent pay and benefits. The majority of Texas Employers in the Construction Industry file the H-2B Visa Form 9142 with the job descriptions of journeymen while the education, training and skills requirements are mostly listed as none required. Some of the jobs even require the passing of tests after listing no training required. We have found that most of the foreign workers that are recruited and used are trained journeymen working at the lower level skill wages. The use of Davis/Bacon prevailing wages is no longer mandatory. The wages are now posted in four (4) levels. In the research of records, we find that the lower level wage 1 is the most sought by employers. Many of the classifications used for construction jobs are using production occupations instead of the proper construction trades. If the proper classifications and the proper journeymen wages were used, then we would probably see more American Workers seeking these jobs. Many H-2B Visas workers leave their approved employer and seek other jobs after the approved time period of work has expired at the approved location and many times they leave their approved job before they complete the approved time period. H-2B Visa workers that do not return home as required by law takes away future jobs in the Construction Industry from American Workers.

    Can an employer that uses Foreign Workers be a Staff Leasing Agency?

    Yes, but the Staff Lasing Agency has to follow all the requirements required in the final rule published on January 19, 2009 in the Federal Register under 20 CFR Part 655.

     




                                                                 2007 Texas State Council Building Construction Trades Department.
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