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The Foreign Labor Certification program allows an employer who anticipates a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. on a temporary or seasonal basis.
To hire foreign workers, employers must seek labor certification through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a visa. Approval by DOL does not guarantee visa issuance. The U.S. Department of State issues immigrant visa numbers to foreign workers for U.S. entry.
Refer to the Immigration and Nationality Act for additional information.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) assists employers considering foreign labor certification with recruitment to determine whether there are sufficient qualified workers available in the intended employment area, which is required before filing a foreign labor application with DOL.
TWC conducts recruitment for the Foreign Labor Certification process for these temporary visa categories:
For information on other types of foreign labor visas handled by DOL, see the U.S. Department of Labor Foreign Labor Certification website.
For an employer to receive an H-2A or H-2B temporary labor certification, DOL must determine that:
DOL provides additional information on qualifying for foreign labor certification:
The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the United States to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.
The TWC Foreign Labor Certification unit is a Texas employer’s first point of contact for worker recruitment for H-2A temporary agricultural job opportunities in Texas. Employers submit the job orders to TWC for recruiting before filing an application with DOL.
Employers should pre-file with TWC’s Foreign Labor Certification unit all job orders to be placed in connection with a future Application for Temporary Employment Certification for H-2A workers. If we accept the job order for recruitment, TWC will recruit qualified U.S. workers during half of the time the job posting is open, or 50 percent of the contract period, as required by federal regulations.
TWC can process H-2A agricultural job orders only 60 to75 calendar days prior to the date workers are needed. The 60 to 75 day pre-filing timeframe is calculated from the date we receive your Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order to the beginning date of the anticipated period of employment you specify on that form.
If you do not pre-file with Texas 60 to 75 days before workers are needed, you can contact the U.S. Department of Labor to inquire about emergency filings.
To pre-file for H-2A agricultural job orders in Texas, submit these three documents to the TWC Foreign Labor Certification unit 60 to 75 days prior to the date workers are needed:
You may submit the required documents by email, fax, postal mail or courier:
TWC’s Foreign Labor Certification unit reviews the Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order ETA Form 790 and other submitted documents and will contact the employer for verification of the housing if required.
Note: Rental or public accommodations do not require a TWC housing inspection.
After review, TWC will notify the employer or employer’s agent of one of the following outcomes:
If your pre-filing recruitment with TWC did not produce qualified, available applicants and you are ready to proceed with the H-2A labor certification process, submit an H-2A application package to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Chicago National Processing Center at least 45 days prior to the date workers are needed.
Your DOL application package must include an Application for Temporary Employment Certification ETA Form 9142, the Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order ETA Form 790 accepted by TWC, and required attachments along with any other supporting documentation.
Refer to DOL’s website on H-2A Foreign Labor Certification for details about how to submit your application electronically or by mail and what to include.
After DOL reviews the application and accepts your job order, TWC will email the job order beyond your area of intended employment, into interstate recruitment.
If you are submitting an H-2A application for occupations covered by special procedures, refer to the appropriate U.S. DOL Training and Guidance Letter (TEGL) for additional information on wages, working conditions and other job requirements.
The H-2B temporary non-agricultural program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nonimmigrant workers to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs.
The employer's need is considered temporary if it is:
The employer also must specify the period(s) of time during each year it does not need the services or labor to be performed.
Both the online job order and the print advertising must contain the following information:
Submit an H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification ETA Form 9142B to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Chicago National Processing Center.
Your DOL application package must include the Application for Temporary Employment Certification plus a completed recruitment report and supporting documentation.
Refer to DOL’s website on H-2B Foreign Labor Certification for details about how to submit your application electronically or by mail, what to include and how DOL responds.
Be sure to use the correct forms when preparing your H-2A or H-2B foreign labor certification application package.
The U.S. Department of Labor publishes current versions of their foreign labor certification forms in fillable format.
Here are links to some of the most frequently used federal and TWC forms:
TWC Foreign Labor
Last Verified: June 25, 2013
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