29 CFR 502.1 - Purpose and scope.
(a) Statutory standard. Section 218(a) of the INA provides that:
(1) A petition to import an alien as an H-2A worker (as defined in the INA) may not be approved by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unless the petitioner has applied to the Secretary of the United States Department of Labor (Secretary) for a certification that:
(i) There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed, to perform the labor or services involved in the petition, and
(ii) The employment of the alien in such labor or services will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the U.S. similarly employed.
(b) Role of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The issuance and denial of labor certification under sec. 218 of the INA has been delegated by the Secretary to ETA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor (the Department or DOL). In general, matters concerning the obligations of an employer of H-2A workers related to the labor certification process are administered and enforced by ETA. Included within ETA's jurisdiction are issues such as whether U.S. workers are available, whether adequate recruitment has been conducted, whether there is a strike or lockout, the methodology for establishing AEWR, whether workers' compensation insurance has been provided, whether employment was offered to U.S. workers as required by sec. 218 of the INA and regulations at 20 CFR part 655, subpart B, and other similar matters. The regulations pertaining to the issuance and denial of labor certification for temporary alien workers by the ETA are found in 20 CFR part 655, subpart B.
(c) Role of the Employment Standards Administration (ESA), Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
(1) The Secretary is authorized to take actions that assure compliance with the terms and conditions of employment under sec. 218 of the INA, the regulations at 20 CFR part 655, subpart B, or these regulations, including the assessment of civil money penalties and seeking injunctive relief and specific performance of contractual obligations. See 8 U.S.C. 1188(g)(2).
(2) Certain investigatory, inspection, and law enforcement functions to carry out the provisions of sec. 218 of the INA have been delegated by the Secretary to the ESA, WHD. In general, matters concerning the obligations under a work contract between an employer of H-2A workers and the H-2A workers and U.S. workers hired in corresponding employment by H-2A employers are enforced by ESA, including whether employment was offered to U.S. workers as required under sec. 218 of the INA or 20 CFR part 655, subpart B, or whether U.S. workers were laid off or displaced in violation of program requirements. Included within the enforcement responsibility of WHD are such matters as the payment of required wages, transportation, meals, and housing provided during the employment. The WHD has the responsibility to carry out investigations, inspections, and law enforcement functions and in appropriate instances impose penalties, recommend revocation of existing certification(s) or debarment from future certifications, and seek injunctive relief and specific performance of contractual obligations, including recovery of unpaid wages (either directly from the employer or in the case of an H-2A Labor Contractors (H-2ALC), from the H-2ALC directly and/or from the insurer who issued the surety bond to the H-2ALC as required by 20 CFR part 655, subpart B and 29 CFR 501.8).
(d) Effect of regulations. The amendments to the INA made by Title III of the IRCA apply to petitions and applications filed on and after June 1, 1987. Accordingly, the enforcement functions carried out by the WHD under the INA and these regulations apply to the employment of any H-2A worker and any other U.S. workers hired by H-2A employers in corresponding employment as the result of any application filed with the Department on and after June 1, 1987.