Electronic filing for certain US visas

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced the impending implementation of electronic filing for certain types of US visas, namely H-2A and H-2B. DOL will be using the iCert Visa Portal System for these operations and will be holding four training sessions via webinar so that members of the public can be kept informed about how the electronic filing function will work for the H-2A and H-2B programs. A Federal Register notice is to be published to formally announce the electronic filing implementation.

The H-2A visa allows a foreign national entry into the United States for seasonal or temporary agricultural work. Where agricultural employers anticipate a shortage of workers, the H-2A program allows them to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers into the US. Workers holding a H-2A visa are entitled to workers’ compensation and other rights under the US wage laws. Electronic filing in the H-2A program will commence on December 10th 2012.

The H-2B visa allows employers to hire foreign workers for nonagricultural services or labor on an intermittent basis, that may be one-time, peakload or seasonal. This nonimmigrant program requires prior consultation between the United States Homeland Security Secretary and appropriate organizations to establish whether there is a shortage of US workers for a specific temporary job, and whether the employment of a foreign worker will have an impact on working conditions and wages of similarly employed American citizens. Electronic filing in the H-2B program will commence on October 15th 2012.