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20 C.F.R. Part 655, Subpart H
Labor Condition Applications and Requirements for Employers Seeking To Employ Nonimmigrants on H-1b Visas in Specialty Occupations and as Fashion Models, and Requirements for Employers Seeking To Employ Nonimmigrants on H-1b1 and E-3 Visas in Specialty Occupations
655.700

§ 655.700 What statutory provisions govern the employment of H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants and how do employers apply for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visas ? Under the E-3 visa program, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, permits certain nonimmigrant treaty aliens to be admitted to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation (INA section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii)). Under the H-1B1 visa program, the INA permits nonimmigrant professionals in specialty occupations from countries with which the United States has entered into certain agreements that are identified in section 214(g)(8)(A) of the INA to temporarily enter the United States for employment in a specialty occupation. Employers seeking to employ nonimmigrant workers in specialty occupations under H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 visas must file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor as described in § 655.730(c) and (d). Certain procedures described in this subpart H for obtaining a visa and entering the U.S. after the Department of Labor attestation process, including procedures in § 655.705, apply only to H-1B nonimmigrants. The procedures for receiving an E-3 or H- 1B1 visa and entering the U.S. on an E- 3 or H-1B1 visa after the attestation process is certified by the Department of Labor are identified in the regulations and procedures of the Department of State and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. Consult the Department of State (http://www.state.gov/) and USCIS (http://www.uscis.gov/) Web sites and regulations for specific instructions regarding the E-3 and H-1B1 visas.

655.700(a)

(a) Statutory provisions regarding H-1B visas. With respect to nonimmigrant workers entering the U.S. on H-1B visas, which are available to nonimmigrant aliens in specialty occupations or certain fashion models from any country, the INA, as amended, provides as follows:

655.700(a)(1)

(1) Establishes an annual ceiling (exclusive of spouses and children) on the number of foreign workers who may be issued H-1B visas--

(i) 195,000 in fiscal year 2001;

(ii) 195,000 in fiscal year 2002;

(iii) 195,000 in fiscal year 2003; and

(iv) 65,000 in each succeeding fiscal year;

655.700(a)(2)

(2) Defines the scope of eligible occupations for which nonimmigrants may be issued H-1B visas and specifies the qualifications that are required for entry as an H-1B nonimmigrant ;

655.700(a)(3)

(3) Requires an employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants to file a labor condition application (LCA) agreeing to various attestation requirements and have it certified by the Department of Labor (DOL) before a nonimmigrant may be provided H-1B status by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and

655.700(a)(4)

(4) Establishes an enforcement system under which DOL is authorized to determine whether an employer has engaged in misrepresentation or failed to meet a condition of the LCA, and is authorized to impose fines and penalties.

655.700(b)

(b) Procedure for obtaining an H-1B visa classification. Before a nonimmigrant may be admitted to work in a "specialty occupation" or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability in the United States under the H-1B visa classification, there are certain steps which must be followed:

655.700(b)(1)

(1) First, an employer shall submit to the Department of Labor (DOL), and obtain DOL certification of, a labor condition application (LCA). The requirements for obtaining a certified LCA are provided in this subpart. The electronic LCA (Form ETA 9035E) is available at http://www.lca.doleta.gov. The paper-version LCA (Form ETA 9035) and the LCA cover pages (Form ETA 9035CP), which contain the full attestation statements incorporated by reference into Form ETA 9035 and Form ETA 9035E, may be obtained from http://ows.doleta.gov and from the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) National Office. Employers must file LCAs in the manner prescribed in § 655.720.

655.700(b)(2)

(2) After obtaining DOL certification of an LCA, the employer may submit a nonimmigrant visa petition (DHS Form I-129), together with the certified LCA, to DHS, requesting H-1B classification for the foreign worker. The requirements concerning the submission of a petition to, and its processing by, DHS are set forth in DHS regulations. The DHS petition (Form I-129) may be obtained from an DHS district or area office.

655.700(b)(3)

(3) If DHS approves the H-1B classification, the nonimmigrant then may apply for an H-1B visa abroad at a consular office of the Department of State. If the nonimmigrant is already in the United States in a status other than H-1B, he/she may apply to the DHS for a change of visa status.

655.700(c)

(c) Applicability.

655.700(c)(1)

(1) This subpart H and subpart I of this part apply to all employers seeking to employ foreign workers under the H-1B visa classification in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

655.700(c)(2)

(2) During the period that the provisions of Appendix 1603.D.4 of Annex 1603 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) apply, this subpart H and subpart I of this part shall apply (except for the provisions relating to the recruitment and displacement of U.S. workers (see §§ 655.738 and 655.739) ) to the entry and employment of a nonimmigrant who is a citizen of Mexico under and pursuant to the provisions of section D or Annex 1603 of NAFTA in the case of all professions set out in Appendix 1603.D.1 of Annex 1603 of NAFTA other than registered nurses. Therefore, the references in this part to "H-1B nonimmigrant" apply to any Mexican citizen nonimmigrant who is classified by DHS as "TN." In the case of a registered nurse, the following provisions shall apply: subparts D and E of this part or the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-95) and the regulations issued thereunder, 20 CFR part 655, subparts L and M.

655.700(c)(3)

(3) E-3 visas: Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, this subpart H and subpart I of this part apply to all employers seeking to employ foreign workers under the E-3 visa classification in specialty occupations under INA section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(iii)). This paragraph (c)(3) applies to labor condition applications filed on or after April 11, 2008. E-3 labor condition applications filed prior to that date but on or after May 11, 2005 (i.e., the effective date of the statute), will be processed according to the E-3 statutory terms and the E-3 processing procedures published on July 19, 2005 in the Federal Register at 74 FR 41434.

655.700(c)(4)

(4) H-1B1 visas: Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, subparts H and I of this part apply to all employers seeking to employ foreign workers under the H-1B1 visa classification in specialty occupations described in INA section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b1) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b1)), under the U.S.- Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements as long as the Agreements are in effect. (INA section 214(g)(8)(A) (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(8)(A)). This paragraph (c)(4) applies to H-1B1 labor condition applications filed on or after November 23, 2004. Further, H-1B1 labor condition applications filed prior to that date but on or after January 1, 2004, the effective date of the H-1B1 program, will be handled according to the H-1B1 statutory terms and the H-1B1 processing procedures as described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

655.700(d)

(d) Nonimmigrants on H-1B1 or E-1 visas --

655.700(d)(1)

(1) Exclusions. The following sections in this subpart and in subpart I of this part do not apply to E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants, but apply only to H-1B nonimmigrants: §§ 655.700(a), (b), (c)(1) and (2); 655.710(b); 655.730(d)(5) and (e); 655.735; 655.736; 655.737; 655.738; 655.739; 655.760(a)(7), (8), (9), and (10); and 655.805(a)(7), (8), and (9). Further, the following references in subparts H or I of this part, whether in the excluded sections listed above or elsewhere, do not apply to E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants, but apply only to H-1B nonimmigrants: references to fashion models of distinguished merit and ability (H-1B visas, but not H-1B1 and E-3 visas, are available to such fashion models); references to a petition process before USCIS (the petition process applies only to H-1B, but not to initial H-1B1 and E-3 visas unless it is a petition to accord a change of status); references to additional attestation obligations of H-1B-dependent employers and employers found to have willfully violated the H-1B program requirements (these provisions do not apply to the H-1B1 and E-3 programs); and references in § 655.750(a) or elsewhere in this part to the provision in INA section 214(n) (formerly INA section 214(m)) (8 U.S.C. 1184(n)) regarding increased portability of H-1B status (by the statutory terms, the portability provision is inapplicable to H-1B1 and E-3 nonimmigrants).

655.700(d)(2)

(2) Terminology. For purposes of subparts H and I of this part, except in those sections identified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section as inapplicable to E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants and as otherwise excluded:

(i) The term "H-1B" includes "E-3" and "H-1B1" (INA section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii) and (a)(15)(H)(i)(b1)) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(iii) and (a)(15)(H)(i)(b1)); and

(ii) The term "labor condition application" or "LCA" includes a labor attestation made under section 212(t)(1) of the INA for an E-3 or H-1B1 nonimmigrant professional classified under INA section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii) and (a)(15)(H)(i)(b1) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(iii) and (a)(15)(H)(i)(b1)).

655.700(d)(3)

(3) Filing procedures for E-3 and H-1B1 labor attestations. Employers seeking to employ an E-3 or H-1B1 nonimmigrant must submit a completed ETA Form 9035 or ETA Form 9035E (electronic) to DOL in the manner prescribed in §§ 655.720 and 655.730. Employers must indicate on the form whether the labor condition application is for an "E-3 Australia," "H-1B1 Chile," or "H-1B1 Singapore" nonimmigrant. Any changes in the procedures and instructions for submitting labor condition applications will be provided in a notice published in the Federal Register and posted on the ETA Web site at http:// www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/.

655.700(d)(4)

(4) Employer's responsibilities regarding E-3 and H-1B1 labor attestations. Each employer seeking an E-3 or H-1B1 nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation has several responsibilities, as described more fully in subparts H and I of this part, including the following:

655.700(d)(4)(i)

(i) By submitting a signed and completed LCA, the employer makes certain representations and agrees to several attestations regarding the employer's responsibilities, including the wages, working conditions, and benefits to be provided to the E-3 or H- 1B1 nonimmigrant. These attestations are specifically identified and incorporated in the LCA, and are fully described on Form ETA 9035CP (cover pages).

655.700(d)(4)(ii)

(ii) The employer reaffirms its acceptance of all of the attestation obligations by transmitting the certified labor attestation to the nonimmigrant, the Department of State, and/or the USCIS according to the procedures of those agencies.

655.700(d)(4)(iii)

(iii) The employer shall maintain the original signed and certified LCA in its files, and shall make a copy of the filed LCA, as well as necessary supporting documentation (as identified under this subpart), available for public examination in a public access file at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment within one working day after the date on which the LCA is filed with ETA.

655.700(d)(4)(iv)

(iv) The employer shall develop sufficient documentation to meet its burden of proof, in the event that such statement or information is challenged, with respect to the validity of the statements made in its LCA and the accuracy of information provided. The employer shall also maintain such documentation at its principal place of business in the U.S. and shall make such documentation available to DOL for inspection and copying upon request.

655.700(d)(5)

(5) Application to Chile. During the period that the provisions of Chapter 14 and Section D of Annex 14.3 of the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement (Chile FTA) are in effect, this subpart H and subpart I of this part shall apply (except for the provisions excluded under paragraph (d)(1) of this section) to the temporary entry and employment of a nonimmigrant who is a national of Chile under the provisions of Article 14.9 and Annex 2.1 of the Chile FTA and who is a professional under the provisions of Annex 14.3(D) of the Chile FTA.

655.700(d)(6)

(6) Application to Singapore. During the period that the provisions of Section IV of Annex 11A of the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (Singapore FTA) are in effect, this subpart H and subpart I of this part shall apply (except for the provisions excluded under paragraph (d)(1) of this section) to the temporary entry and employment of a nonimmigrant who is a national of Singapore under the provisions of Chapter 11 and Section IV of Annex 11A of the Singapore FTA and who is a professional under the provisions of Annex 11A(IV) of the Singapore FTA.

655.705

§ 655.705 What Federal agencies are involved in the H-1B, H-1B, and E-3 programs, and what are the responsibilities of those agencies and of employers?

Four federal agencies (Department of Labor, Department of State, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security) are involved in the process relating to H-1B nonimmigrant classification and employment. The employer also has continuing responsibilities under the process. This section briefly describes the responsibilities of each of these entities.

655.705(a)

(a) Department of Labor (DOL) responsibilities. DOL administers the labor condition application process and enforcement provisions (exclusive of complaints regarding non-selection of U.S. workers, as described in 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(G)(i)(II) and 1182(n)(5)). Two DOL agencies have responsibilities:

(1) The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is responsible for receiving and certifying labor condition applications (LCAs) in accordance with this subpart H. ETA is also responsible for compiling and maintaining a list of LCAs and makes such list available for public examination at the Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room C-4312, Washington, DC 20210.

(2) The Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration (ESA) is responsible, in accordance with subpart I of this part, for investigating and determining an employer's misrepresentation in or failure to comply with LCAs in the employment of H-1B nonimmigrants.

655.705(b)

(b) Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) responsibilities. The Department of State, through U.S. Embassies and Consulates, is responsible for issuing H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visas. For H-1B visas, the following agencies are involved: DHS accepts the employer's petition (DHS Form I-129) with the DOL-certified LCA attached. See 8 U.S.C. 1255(h)(2)(B)(i). The Department of Justice administers the system for the enforcement and disposition of complaints regarding an H-1B-dependent employer's or willful violator employer's failure to offer a position filled by an H-1B nonimmigrant to an equally or better qualified United States worker (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(E), 1182(n)(5)), or such employer's willful misrepresentation of material facts relating to this obligation. DHS, is responsible for disapproving H-1B and other petitions filed by an employer found to have engaged in misrepresentation or failed to meet certain conditions of the labor condition application (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)(C)(i)-(iii); 1182(n)(5)(E)). DOL and DOS are involved in the process relating to the initial issuance of H-1B1 and E-3 visas. DHS is involved in change of status and extension of stays for the H-1B1 and E- 3 category.

655.705(c)

(c) Employer's responsibilities. This paragraph applies only to the H-1B program; employer's responsibilities under the H-1B1 and E-3 programs are found at § 655.700(d)(4). Each employer seeking an H-1B nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability has several responsibilities, as described more fully in this subpart and subpart I of this part, including:

655.705(c)(1)

(1) The employer shall submit a completed labor condition application (LCA) on Form ETA 9035E or Form ETA 9035 in the manner prescribed in §655.720. By completing and submitting the LCA, and by signing the LCA, the employer makes certain representations and agrees to several attestations regarding its responsibilities, including the wages, working conditions, and benefits to be provided to the H-1B nonimmigrants (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)); these attestations are specifically identified and incorporated by reference in the LCA, as well as being set forth in full on Form ETA 9035CP. The LCA contains additional attestations for certain H-1B-dependent employers and employers found to have willfully violated the H-1B program requirements; these attestations impose certain obligations to recruit U.S. workers, to offer the job to U.S. applicants who are equally or better qualified than the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) sought for the job, and to avoid the displacement of U.S. workers (either in the employer's workforce, or in the workforce of a second employer with whom the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is placed, where there are indicia of employment with a second employer (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(E)-(G)). These additional attestations are specifically identified and incorporated by reference in the LCA, as well as being set forth in full on Form ETA 9035CP. If ETA certifies the LCA, notice of the certification will be sent to the employer by the same means the employer used to submit the LCA (that is, electronically where the Form ETA 9035E was submitted electronically, and by U.S. Mail where the Form ETA 9035 was submitted by U.S. Mail). The employer reaffirms its acceptance of all of the attestation obligations by submitting the LCA to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS) in support of the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, for an H-1B nonimmigrant. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(B)(2), which specifies the employer will comply with the terms of the LCA for the duration of the H-1B nonimmigrant's authorized period of stay.

655.705(c)(2)

(2) The employer shall maintain the original signed and certified LCA in its files, and shall make a copy of the LCA, as well as necessary supporting documentation (as identified under this subpart), available for public examination in a public access file at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment within one working day after the date on which the LCA is filed with ETA.

655.705(c)(3)

(3) The employer then may submit a copy of the certified, signed LCA to DHS with a completed petition (Form I-129) requesting H-1B classification.

655.705(c)(4)

(4) The employer shall not allow the nonimmigrant worker to begin work until DHS grants the alien authorization to work in the United States for that employer or, in the case of a nonimmigrant previously afforded H-1B status who is undertaking employment with a new H-1B employer, until the new employer files a nonfrivolous petition (Form I-129) in accordance with DHS requirements.

655.705(c)(5)

(5) The employer shall develop sufficient documentation to meet its burden of proof with respect to the validity of the statements made in its LCA and the accuracy of information provided, in the event that such statement or information is challenged. The employer shall also maintain such documentation at its principal place of business in the U.S. and shall make such documentation available to DOL for inspection and copying upon request.

655.710

§ 655.710 What is the procedure for filing a complaint ?

655.710(a)

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, complaints concerning misrepresentation in the labor condition application or failure of the employer to meet a condition specified in the application shall be filed with the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division (Administrator), ESA, according to the procedures set forth in subpart I of this part. The Administrator shall investigate where appropriate, and after an opportunity for a hearing, assess appropriate sanctions and penalties, as described in subpart I of this part.

655.710(b)

(b) Complaints arising under section 212(n)(1)(G)(i)(II) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(G)(i)(II), alleging failure of the employer to offer employment to an equally or better qualified U.S. applicant, or an employer's misrepresentation regarding such offer(s) of employment, may be filed with the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20530, Telephone: 1-800-255-8155 (employers), 1-800-255-7688 (employees); Web address: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc. The Department of Justice shall investigate where appropriate, and take action as appropriate under that Department's regulations and procedures.

655.715

§ 655.715 Definitions.

For the purposes of subparts H and I of this part:

Actual wage means the wage rate paid by the employer to all individuals with experience and qualifications similar to the H-1B nonimmigant's experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question at the place of employment. The actual wage established by the employer is not an average of the wage rates paid to all workers employed in the occupation.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) means an official appointed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3105.

Administrator means the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, Department of Labor, and such authorized representatives as may be designated to perform any of the functions of the Administrator under subpart H or I of this part.

Aggrieved party means a person or entity whose operations or interests are adversely affected by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application and includes, but is not limited to:

(1) A worker whose job, wages, or working conditions are adversely affected by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application;

(2) A bargaining representative for workers whose jobs, wages, or working conditions are adversely affected by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application;

(3) A competitor adversely affected by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application; and

(4) A government agency which has a program that is impacted by the employer's alleged non-compliance with the labor condition application.

Area of intended employment means the area within normal commuting distance of the place (address) of employment where the H-1B nonimmigrant is or will be employed. There is no rigid measure of distance which constitutes a normal commuting distance or normal commuting area, because there may be widely varying factual circumstances among different areas (e.g., normal commuting distances might be 20, 30, or 50 miles). If the place of employment is within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or a Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), any place within the MSA or PMSA is deemed to be within normal commuting distance of the place of employment; however, all locations within a Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) will not automatically be deemed to be within normal commuting distance. The borders of MSAs and PMSAs are not controlling with regard to the identification of the normal commuting area; a location outside of an MSA or PMSA (or a CMSA) may be within normal commuting distance of a location that is inside (e.g., near the border of) the MSA or PMSA (or CMSA).

Attorney General means the chief official of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Attorney General's designee.

Authorized agent and authorized representative mean an official of the employer who has the legal authority to commit the employer to the statements in the labor condition application.

Center Director means the Department official to whom the Administrator has delegated his authority for purposes of NPC operations and functions.

Certification means the determination by a certifying officer that a labor condition application is not incomplete and does not contain obvious inaccuracies.

Certify means the act of making a certification.

Certifying Officer means a Department of Labor official, or such official's designee, who makes determinations about whether or not to certify labor condition applications.

Chief Administrative Law Judge (Chief ALJ) means the chief official of the Office of the Administrative Law Judges of the Department of Labor or the Chief Administrative Law Judge's designee.

Department and DOL mean the United States Department of Labor.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the determination under the INA on whether to grant visa petitions of employers seeking the admission of non-immigrants under H-1B visa for the purpose of employment.

Division means the Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration, DOL.

Employed, employed by the employer, or employment relationship means the employment relationship as determined under the common law, under which the key determinant is the putative employer's right to control the means and manner in which the work is performed. Under the common law, "no shorthand formula or magic phrase * * * can be applied to find the answer * * *. [A]ll of the incidents of the relationship must be assessed and weighed with no one factor being decisive." NLRB v. United Ins. Co. of America, 390 U.S. 254, 258 (1968).

Employer means a person, firm, corporation, contractor, or other association or organization in the United States that has an employment relationship with H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 nonimmigrants and/or U.S. worker(s). In the case of an H-1B nonimmigrant (not including E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants), the person, firm, contractor, or other association or organization in the United States that files a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on behalf of the nonimmigrant is deemed to be the employer of that nonimmigrant. In the case of an E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrant, the person, firm, contractor, or other association or organization in the United States that files an LCA with the Department of Labor on behalf of the nonimmigrant is deemed to be the employer of that nonimmigrant.

Employment and Training Administration (ETA) means the agency within the Department which includes the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC).

Employment Standards Administration (ESA) means the agency within the Department which includes the Wage and Hour Division.

INA means the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.

Independent authoritative source means a professional, business, trade, educational or governmental association, organization, or other similar entity, not owned or controlled by the employer, which has recognized expertise in an occupational field.

Independent authoritative source survey means a survey of wages conducted by an independent authoritative source and published in a book, newspaper, periodical, loose-leaf service, newsletter, or other similar medium, within the 24-month period immediately preceding the filing of the employer's application. Such survey shall:

(1) Reflect the average wage paid to workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(2) Be based upon recently collected data--e.g., within the 24-month period immediately preceding the date of publication of the survey; and

(3) Represent the latest published prevailing wage finding by the authoritative source for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

Interested party means a person or entity who or which may be affected by the actions of an H-1B employer or by the outcome of a particular investigation and includes any person, organization, or entity who or which has notified the Department of his/her/its interest or concern in the Administrator's determination.

Lockout means a labor dispute involving a work stoppage, wherein an employer withholds work from its employees in order to gain a concession from them.

Occupation means the occupational or job classification in which the H-1B nonimmigrant is to be employed.

Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) means the organizational component within the ETA that provides national leadership and policy guidance and develops regulations and procedures to carry out the responsibilities of the Secretary of Labor under the INA concerning alien workers seeking admission to the United States in order to work under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended.

Period of intended employment means the time period between the starting and ending dates inclusive of the H-1B nonimmigrant's intended period of employment in the occupational classification at the place of employment as set forth in the labor condition application.

Place of employment means the worksite or physical location where the work actually is performed by the H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 nonimmigrant.

(1) The term does not include any location where either of the following criteria--paragraph (1)(i) or (ii)--is satisfied:

(i) Employee developmental activity. An H-1B worker who is stationed and regularly works at one location may temporarily be at another location for a particular individual or employer-required developmental activity such as a management conference, a staff seminar, or a formal training course (other than "on-the-job-training" at a location where the employee is stationed and regularly works). For the H-1B worker participating in such activities, the location of the activity would not be considered a "place of employment" or "worksite," and that worker's presence at such location--whether owned or controlled by the employer or by a third party--would not invoke H-1B program requirements with regard to that employee at that location. However, if the employer uses H-1B nonimmigrants as instructors or resource or support staff who continuously or regularly perform their duties at such locations, the locations would be "places of employment" or "worksites" for any such employees and, thus, would be subject to H-1B program requirements with regard to those employees.

(ii) Particular worker's job functions. The nature and duration of an H-1B nonimmigrant's job functions may necessitate frequent changes of location with little time spent at any one location. For such a worker, a location would not be considered a "place of employment" or "worksite" if the following three requirements (i.e., paragraphs (1)(ii)(A) through (C)) are all met--

(A) The nature and duration of the H-1B worker's job functions mandates his/her short-time presence at the location. For this purpose, either:

(1) The H-1B nonimmigrant's job must be peripatetic in nature, in that the normal duties of the worker's occupation (rather than the nature of the employer's business) requires frequent travel (local or non-local) from location to location; or

(2) The H-1B worker's duties must require that he/she spend most work time at one location but occasionally travel for short periods to work at other locations; and

(B) The H-1B worker's presence at the locations to which he/she travels from the "home" worksite is on a casual, short-term basis, which can be recurring but not excessive (i.e., not exceeding five consecutive workdays for any one visit by a peripatetic worker, or 10 consecutive workdays for any one visit by a worker who spends most work time at one location and travels occasionally to other locations); and

(C) The H-1B nonimmigrant is not at the location as a "strikebreaker" (i.e., the H-1B nonimmigrant is not performing work in an occupation in which workers are on strike or lockout).

(2) Examples of "non-worksite" locations based on worker's job functions: A computer engineer sent out to customer locations to "troubleshoot" complaints regarding software malfunctions; a sales representative making calls on prospective customers or established customers within a "home office" sales territory; a manager monitoring the performance of out-stationed employees; an auditor providing advice or conducting reviews at customer facilities; a physical therapist providing services to patients in their homes within an area of employment; an individual making a court appearance; an individual lunching with a customer representative at a restaurant; or an individual conducting research at a library.

(3) Examples of "worksite" locations based on worker's job functions: A computer engineer who works on projects or accounts at different locations for weeks or months at a time; a sales representative assigned on a continuing basis in an area away from his/her "home office;" an auditor who works for extended periods at the customer's offices; a physical therapist who "fills in" for full-time employees of health care facilities for extended periods; or a physical therapist who works for a contractor whose business is to provide staffing on an "as needed" basis at hospitals, nursing homes, or clinics.

(4) Whenever an H-1B worker performs work at a location which is not a "worksite" (under the criterion in paragraph (1)(i) or (1)(ii) of this definition), that worker's "place of employment" or "worksite" for purposes of H-1B obligations is the worker's home station or regular work location. The employer's obligations regarding notice, prevailing wage and working conditions are focused on the home station "place of employment" rather than on the above-described location(s) which do not constitute worksite(s) for these purposes. However, whether or not a location is considered to be a "worksite"/"place of employment" for an H-1B nonimmigrant, the employer is required to provide reimbursement to the H-1B nonimmigrant for expenses incurred in traveling to that location on the employer's business, since such expenses are considered to be ordinary business expenses of employers (§§655.731(c)(7)(iii)(C); 655.731(c)(9)). In determining the worker's "place of employment" or "worksite," the Department will look carefully at situations which appear to be contrived or abusive; the Department would seriously question any situation where the H-1B nonimmigrant's purported "place of employment" is a location other than where the worker spends most of his/her work time, or where the purported "area of employment" does not include the location(s) where the worker spends most of his/her work time.

Required wage rate means the rate of pay which is the higher of:

(1) The actual wage for the specific employment in question; or

(2) The prevailing wage rate (determined as of the time of filing the LCA application) for the occupation in which the H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 nonimmigrant is to be employed in the geographic area of intended employment. The prevailing wage rate must be no less than the minimum wage required by Federal, State, or local law.

Secretary means the Secretary of Labor or the Secretary's designee.

Specialty occupation :

(1) For purposes of the E-3 and H-1B programs (but not the H-1B1 program), specialty occupation means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in the specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. The nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation shall possess the following qualifications:

(i) Full state licensure to practice in the occupation, if licensure is required for the occupation;

(ii) Completion of the required degree; or

(iii) Experience in the specialty equivalent to the completion of such degree and recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions relating to the specialty. INA, 8 U.S.C. 1184(i)(1) and (2).

(2) For purposes of the H-1B1 program, specialty occupation means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in the specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. INA, 8 U.S.C. 1184(i)(3). For H-1B1 nonimmigrants from Chile, additional occupations that qualify as specialty occupations are Disaster Relief Claims Adjuster, Management Consultant, Agricultural Manager, and Physical Therapist, as defined in Appendix 14.3(D)(2) of the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement. For H-1B1 nonimmigrants from Singapore, additional occupations that qualify as specialty occupations are Disaster Relief Claims Adjuster and Management Consultant, as defined in Appendix 11A.2 of the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

(3) Determinations of specialty occupation and of nonimmigrant qualifications for the H-1B and H-1B1 programs are not made by the Department of Labor, but by the Department of State and/or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security in accordance with the procedures of those agencies for processing visas, petitions, extensions of stay, or requests for change of nonimmigrant status for H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrants.

Specific employment in question means the set of duties and responsibilities performed or to be performed by the H-1B nonimmigrant at the place of employment.

State means one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

State Workforce Agency , formerly State Employment Security Agency or SESA means the State agency which, under the State Administrator, is designated by the Governor to administer Wagner-Peyser Act funded employment and workforce information services (State agency) and the State unemployment compensation program.

Strike means a labor dispute wherein employees engage in a concerted stoppage of work (including stoppage by reason of the expiration of a collective-bargaining agreement) or engage in any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operation.

United States worker ("U.S. worker") means an employee who is either

(1) A citizen or national of the United States, or

(2) An alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States, is admitted as a refugee under section 207 of the INA, is granted asylum under section 208 of the INA, or is an immigrant otherwise authorized (by the INA or by DHS) to be employed in the United States.

Wage rate means the remuneration (exclusive of fringe benefits) to be paid, stated in terms of amount per hour, day, month or year (see definition of "Required Wage Rate").

655.720

§ 655.720 Where are labor condition applications (LCAs) to be filed and processed ?

655.720(a)

(a) Employers must file all LCAs regarding H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants through the electronic submission procedure identified in paragraph (b) of this section except as provided in the next sentence. If a physical disability or lack of access to the Internet prevents an employer from using the electronic filing system, an LCA may be filed by U.S. Mail in accordance with paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. Requirements for signing, providing public access to, and use of certified LCAs are identified in §655.730(c). If the LCA is certified by DOL, notice of the certification will be sent to the employer by the same means that the employer used to submit the LCA, that is, electronically where the Form ETA 9035E was submitted electronically, and by U.S. Mail where the Form ETA 9035 was submitted by U.S. Mail.

655.720(b)

(b) Electronic submission. Employers must file the electronic LCA, Form ETA 9035E, through the Department of Labor's Web site at http://www.lca.doleta.gov. The employer must follow instructions for electronic submission posted on the Web site. In the event ETA implements the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (44 U.S.C.A. 3504 n.) and/or the Electronic Records and Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN) (15 U.S.C. 7001-7006) for the submission and certification of the Form ETA 9035E, instructions will be provided (by public notice(s) and by instructions on the Department's Web site) to employers as to how the requirements of these statutes will be met in the Form ETA 9035E procedures.

655.720(c)

(c) Approval to file LCAs by U.S. Mail.

(1) Employers with physical disabilities or lacking Internet access and wishing to file LCAs by U.S. Mail may submit a written request to the Chief, Division of Foreign Labor Certification in accordance with paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(4) of this section. The ETA shall identify the address to which such written request shall be mailed in a Notice in the Federal Register and on the Department's Web site at http://www.lca.doleta.gov.

(2) The written request must establish the employer's need to file by U.S. Mail, including providing an explanation of how physical disability or lack of access to the Internet prevents the employer from using the electronic filing system. No particular form or format is required for this request.

(3) ETA will review the submitted justification, and may require the employer to submit supporting documentation. In the case of employers asserting a lack of Internet access, supporting documentation could, for example, consist of documentation that the Internet cannot be accessed from the employer's worksite or physical location (for example because no Internet service provider serves the site), and there is no publicly available Internet access, at public libraries or elsewhere, within a reasonable distance of the employer. In the case of employers with physical disabilities supporting documentation could, for example, consist of physicians' statements or invoices for medical devices or aids relevant to the employer's disability.

(4) ETA may approve or deny employers' requests to submit LCAs by U.S. Mail. Approvals shall be valid for 1 year from the date of approval.

655.720(d)

(d) U.S. Mail. If an employer has a valid approval to file by U.S. Mail in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, the employer may use Form ETA 9035 and send it by U.S. Mail to ETA. ETA shall publish a Notice in the Federal Register identifying the address, and any future address changes, to which paper LCAs must be mailed, and shall also post these addresses on the DOL Internet Web site at http://www.lca.doleta.gov. When Form ETA 9035 is submitted by U.S. Mail, the form must bear the original signature of the employer (or that of the employer's authorized agent or representative) at the time it is submitted to ETA.

655.720(e)

(e) The ETA National Office is responsible for policy questions and other issues regarding LCAs. Prevailing wage challenges are handled in accordance with the procedures identified in §655.731(a)(2).

655.721

§ 655.721 [Reserved]

655.730

§ 655.730 What is the process for filing a labor condition application?

This section applies to the filing of labor condition applications for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants. The term H-1B is meant to apply to all three categories unless exceptions are specifically noted.

655.730(a)

(a) Who must submit labor condition applications? An employer, or the employer's authorized agent or representative, which meets the definition of "employer" set forth in §655.715 and intends to employ an H-1B nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability shall submit an LCA to the Department.

655.730(b)

(b) Where and when is an LCA to be submitted? An LCA shall be submitted by the employer to ETA in accordance with the procedure prescribed in §655.720 no earlier than six months before the beginning date of the period of intended employment shown on the LCA. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure ETA receives a complete and accurate LCA. Incomplete or obviously inaccurate LCAs will not be certified by ETA. ETA will process all LCAs sequentially and will usually make a determination to certify or not certify an LCA within seven working days of the date ETA receives the LCA. LCAs filed by U.S. Mail may not be processed as quickly as those filed electronically.

655.730(c)

(c) What is to be submitted and what are its contents? Form ETA 9035 or ETA 9035E.

655.730(c)(1)

(1) General. The employer (or the employer's authorized agent or representative) must submit to ETA one completed and dated LCA as prescribed in §655.720. The electronic LCA, Form ETA 9035E, is found on the DOL Web site where the electronic submission is made, at http://www.lca.doleta.gov. Copies of the paper form, Form ETA 9035, and cover pages Form ETA 9035CP are available on the DOL Web site at http://www.ows.doleta.gov and from the ETA National Office, and may be used by employers with approval under §655.720 to file by U.S. Mail during the approval's validity period.

655.730(c)(2)

(2) Undertaking of the Employer. In submitting the LCA, and by affixing the signature of the employer or its authorized agent or representative on Form ETA 9035E or Form ETA 9035, the employer (or its authorized agent or representative on behalf of the employer) attests the statements in the LCA are true and promises to comply with the labor condition statements (attestations) specifically identified in Forms ETA 9035E and ETA 9035, as well as set forth in full in the Form ETA 9035CP. The labor condition statements (attestations) are described in detail in §§655.731 through 655.734, and the additional attestations for LCAs filed by certain H-1B-dependent employers and employers found to have willfully violated the H-1B program requirements are described in §§655.736 through 655.739.

655.730(c)(3)

(3) Signed Originals, Public Access, and Use of Certified LCAs. In accordance with §655.760(a) and (a)(1), the employer must maintain in its files and make available for public examination the LCA as submitted to ETA and as certified by ETA. When Form ETA 9035E is submitted electronically, a signed original is created by the employer (or by the employer's authorized agent or representative) printing out and signing the form immediately upon certification by ETA. When Form ETA 9035 is submitted by U.S. Mail as permitted by §655.720(a), the form must bear the original signature of the employer (or of the employer's authorized agent or representative) when submitted to ETA. For H-1B visas only, the employer must submit a copy of the signed, certified Form ETA 9035 or ETA 9035E to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly INS) in support of the Form I-129 petition, thereby reaffirming the employer's acceptance of all of the attestation obligations in accordance with 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(B)(2).

655.730(c)(4)

(4) Contents of LCA. Each LCA shall identify the occupational classification for which the LCA is being submitted and shall state:

(i) The occupation, by Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) Three-Digit Occupational Groups code and by the employer's own title for the job;

(ii) The number of nonimmigrants sought;

(iii) The gross wage rate to be paid to each nonimmigrant, expressed on an hourly, weekly, biweekly, monthly, or annual basis;

(iv) The starting and ending dates of the nonimmigrants' employment;

(v) The place(s) of intended employment;

(vi) The prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment and the specific source (e.g., name of published survey) relied upon by the employer to determine the wage. If the wage is obtained from a SESA, now known as a State Workforce Agency (SWA), the appropriate box must be checked and the wage must be stated; the source for a wage obtained from a source other than a SWA must be identified along with the wage; and

(vii) For applications filed regarding H-1B nonimmigrants only (and not applications regarding H-1B1 and E-3 nonimmigrants), the employer's status as to whether or not the employer is H-1B-dependent and/or a willful violator, and, if the employer is H-1B-dependent and/or a willful violator, whether the employer will use the application only in support of petitions for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants.

655.730(c)(5)

(5) Multiple positions and/or places of employment. The employer shall file a separate LCA for each occupation in which the employer intends to employ one or more nonimmigrants, but the LCA may cover more than one intended position (employment opportunity) within that occupation. All intended places of employment shall be identified on the LCA; the employer may file one or more additional LCAs to identify additional places of employment. Separate LCAs must be filed for H-1B and H-1B1 nonimmigrants.

655.730(c)(6)

(6) Full-time and part-time jobs. The position(s) covered by the LCA may be either full-time or part-time; full-time and part-time positions can not be combined on a single LCA.

655.730(d)

(d) What attestations does the LCA contain? An employer's LCA shall contain the labor condition statements referenced in §§655.731 through 655.734, and §655.736 through 655.739 (if applicable), which provide that no individual may be admitted or provided status as an H-1B nonimmigrant in an occupational classification unless the employer has filed with the Secretary an application stating that:

655.730(d)(1)

(1) The employer is offering and will offer during the period of authorized employment to H-1B nonimmigrants no less than the greater of the following wages (such offer to include benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services, which are to be offered to the nonimmigrants on the same basis and in accordance with the same criteria as the employer offers such benefits to U.S. workers):

(i) The actual wage paid to the employer's other employees at the worksite with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question; or

(ii) The prevailing wage level for the occupational classification in the area of intended employment;

655.730(d)(2)

(2) The employer will provide working conditions for such nonimmigrants that will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed (including benefits in the nature of working conditions, which are to be offered to the nonimmigrants on the same basis and in accordance with the same criteria as the employer offers such benefits to U.S. workers);

655.730(d)(3)

(3) There is not a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the occupational classification at the place of employment;

655.730(d)(4)

(4) The employer has provided and will provide notice of the filing of the labor condition application to:

(i)(A) The bargaining representative of the employer's employees in the occupational classification in the area of intended employment for which the H-1B nonimmigrants are sought, in the manner described in §655.734(a)(1)(i); or

(B) If there is no such bargaining representative, affected workers by providing electronic notice of the filing of the LCA or by posting notice in conspicuous locations at the place(s) of employment, in the manner described in §655.734(a)(1)(ii); and

(ii) H-1B nonimmigrants by providing a copy of the LCA to each H-1B nonimmigrant at the time that such nonimmigrant actually reports to work, in the manner described in §655.734(a)(2).

655.730(d)(5)

(5) For applications filed regarding H-1B nonimmigrants only (and not applications regarding H-1B1 and E-3 nonimmigrants), the employer has determined its status concerning H-1B-dependency and/or willful violator (as described in §655.736), has indicated such status, and if either such status is applicable to the employer, has indicated whether the LCA will be used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrant(s), as described in §655.737.

655.730(d)(6)

(6) The employer has provided the information about the occupation required in paragraph (c) of this section.

655.730(e)

(e) Change in employer's corporate structure or identity.

(1) Where an employer corporation changes its corporate structure as the result of an acquisition, merger, "spin-off," or other such action, the new employing entity is not required to file new LCAs and H-1B petitions with respect to the H-1B nonimmigrants transferred to the employ of the new employing entity (regardless of whether there is a change in the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)), provided that the new employing entity maintains in its records a list of the H-1B nonimmigrants transferred to the employ of the new employing entity, and maintains in the public access file(s) (see §655.760) a document containing all of the following:

(i) Each affected LCA number and its date of certification;

(ii) A description of the new employing entity's actual wage system applicable to H-1B nonimmigrant(s) who become employees of the new employing entity;

(iii) The Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of the new employing entity (whether or not different from that of the predecessor entity); and

(iv) A sworn statement by an authorized representative of the new employing entity expressly acknowledging such entity's assumption of all obligations, liabilities and undertakings arising from or under attestations made in each certified and still effective LCA filed by the predecessor entity. Unless such statement is executed and made available in accordance with this paragraph, the new employing entity shall not employ any of the predecessor entity's H-1B nonimmigrants without filing new LCAs and petitions for such nonimmigrants. The new employing entity's statement shall include such entity's explicit agreement to:

(A) Abide by the DOL's H-1B regulations applicable to the LCAs;

(B) Maintain a copy of the statement in the public access file (see §655.760); and

(C) Make the document available to any member of the public or the Department upon request.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (e)(1) of this section, the new employing entity must file new LCA(s) and H-1B petition(s) when it hires any new H-1B nonimmigrant(s) or seeks extension(s) of H-1B status for existing H-1B nonimmigrant(s). In other words, the new employing entity may not utilize the predecessor entity's LCA(s) to support the hiring or extension of any H-1B nonimmigrant after the change in corporate structure.

(3) A change in an employer's H-1B-dependency status which results from the change in the corporate structure has no effect on the employer's obligations with respect to its current H-1B nonimmigrant employees. However, the new employing entity shall comply with §655.736 concerning H-1B-dependency and/or willful-violator status and §655.737 concerning exempt H-1B nonimmigrants, in the event that such entity seeks to hire new H-1B nonimmigrant(s) or to extend the H-1B status of existing H-1B nonimmigrants. (See §655.736(d)(6).)

655.731

§ 655.731 What is the first LCA requirement, regarding wages?

An employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability shall state on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E that it will pay the H-1B nonimmigrant the required wage rate. For the purposes of this section, "H-1B" includes "E-3 and H-1B1" as well.

655.731(a)

(a) Establishing the wage requirement. The first LCA requirement shall be satisfied when the employer signs Form ETA 9035 or 9035E attesting that, for the entire period of authorized employment, the required wage rate will be paid to the H-1B nonimmigrant(s); that is, that the wage shall be the greater of the actual wage rate (as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section) or the prevailing wage (as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section). The wage requirement includes the employer's obligation to offer benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services to H-1B nonimmigrants on the same basis, and in accordance with the same criteria, as the employer offers to U.S. workers.

655.731(a)(1)

(1) The actual wage is the wage rate paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question. In determining such wage level, the following factors may be considered: Experience, qualifications, education, job responsibility and function, specialized knowledge, and other legitimate business factors. "Legitimate business factors," for purposes of this section, means those that it is reasonable to conclude are necessary because they conform to recognized principles or can be demonstrated by accepted rules and standards. Where there are other employees with substantially similar experience and qualifications in the specific employment in question--i.e., they have substantially the same duties and responsibilities as the H-1B nonimmigrant--the actual wage shall be the amount paid to these other employees. Where no such other employees exist at the place of employment, the actual wage shall be the wage paid to the H-1B nonimmigrant by the employer. Where the employer's pay system or scale provides for adjustments during the period of the LCA--e.g., cost of living increases or other periodic adjustments, or the employee moves to a more advanced level in the same occupation--such adjustments shall be provided to similarly employed H-1B nonimmigrants (unless the prevailing wage is higher than the actual wage).

655.731(a)(2)

(2) The prevailing wage for the occupational classification in the area of intended employment must be determined as of the time of filing the application. The employer shall base the prevailing wage on the best information available as of the time of filing the application. Except as provided in this section, the employer is not required to use any specific methodology to determine the prevailing wage and may utilize a wage obtained from an OFLC NPC (OES), an independent authoritative source, or other legitimate sources of wage data. One of the following sources shall be used to establish the prevailing wage:

655.731(a)(2)(i)

(i) A collective bargaining agreement which was negotiated at arms-length between a union and the employer which contains a wage rate applicable to the occupation;

655.731(a)(2)(ii)

(ii) If the job opportunity is in an occupation which is not covered by paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section, the prevailing wage shall be the arithmetic mean of the wages of workers similarly employed, except that the prevailing wage shall be the median when provided by paragraphs (a)(2)(ii)(A), (b)(3)(iii)(B)(2), and (b)(3)(iii)(C)(2) of this section. The prevailing wage rate shall be based on the best information available. The following prevailing wage sources may be used:

655.731(a)(2)(ii)(A)

(A) OFLC National Processing Center (NPC) determination. Prior to January 1, 2010, the SWA having jurisdiction over the area of intended employment shall continue to receive and process prevailing wage determination requests, but shall do so in accordance with these regulatory provisions and Department guidance. On or after January 1, 2010, the NPC shall receive and process prevailing wage determination requests in accordance with these regulations and with Department guidance. Upon receipt of a written request for a PWD on or after January 1, 2010, the NPC will determine whether the occupation is covered by a collective bargaining agreement which was negotiated at arms length, and, if not, determine the arithmetic mean of wages of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment. The wage component of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey shall be used to determine the arithmetic mean, unless the employer provides an acceptable survey. The NPC shall determine the wage in accordance with secs. 212(n) and 212(t) of the INA. If an acceptable employer-provided wage survey provides a median and does not provide an arithmetic mean, the median shall be the prevailing wage applicable to the employer's job opportunity. In making a PWD, the Chicago NPC will follow 20 CFR 656.40 and other administrative guidelines or regulations issued by ETA. The Chicago NPC shall specify the validity period of the PWD, which in no event shall be for less than 90 days or more than 1 year from the date of the determination.

655.731(a)(2)(ii)(A)(1)

(1) An employer who chooses to utilize an NPC PWD shall file the labor condition application within the validity period of the prevailing wage as specified in the PWD. Any employer desiring review of an NPC PWD, including judicial review, shall follow the appeal procedures at 20 CFR 656.41. Employers which challenge an NPC PWD under 20 CFR 656.41 must obtain a ruling prior to filing an LCA. In any challenge, the Department and the NPC shall not divulge any employer wage data collected under the promise of confidentiality. Once an employer obtains a PWD from the NPC and files an LCA supported by that PWD, the employer is deemed to have accepted the PWD (as to the amount of the wage) and thereafter may not contest the legitimacy of the PWD by filing an appeal with the CO (see 20 CFR 656.41) or in an investigation or enforcement action.

655.731(a)(2)(ii)(A)(2)

(2) If the employer is unable to wait for the NPC to produce the requested prevailing wage for the occupation in question, or for the CO and/or the BALCA to issue a decision, the employer may rely on other legitimate sources of available wage information as set forth in paragraphs (a)(2)(ii)(B) and (C) of this section. If the employer later discovers, upon receipt of the PWD from the NPC, that the information relied upon produced a wage below the final PWD and the employer was paying the NPC-determined wage, no wage violation will be found if the employer retroactively compensates the H-2B nonimmigrant(s) for the difference between wage paid and the prevailing wage, within 30 days of the employer's receipt of the PWD.

655.731(a)(2)(ii)(A)(3)

(3) In all situations where the employer obtains the PWD from the NPC, the Department will deem that PWD as correct as to the amount of the wage. Nevertheless, the employer must maintain a copy of the NPC PWD. A complaint alleging inaccuracy of an NPC PWD, in such cases, will not be investigated.

655.731(a)(2)(ii)(B)

(B) An independent authoritative source. The employer may use an independent authoritative wage source in lieu of an NPC PWD. The independent authoritative source survey must meet all the criteria set forth in paragraph (b)(3)(iii)(B) of this section.

655.731(a)(2)(ii)(C)

(C) Another legitimate source of wage information. The employer may rely on other legitimate sources of wage data to obtain the prevailing wage. The other legitimate source survey must meet all the criteria set forth in paragraph (b)(3)(iii)(C) of this section. The employer will be required to demonstrate the legitimacy of the wage in the event of an investigation.

655.731(a)(2)(iii)

(iii) For purposes of this section, "similarly employed" means "having substantially comparable jobs in the occupational classification in the area of intended employment," except that if a representative sample of workers in the occupational category can not be obtained in the area of intended employment, "similarly employed" means:

655.731(a)(2)(iii)(A)

(A) Having jobs requiring a substantially similar level of skills within the area of intended employment; or

655.731(a)(2)(iii)(B)

(B) If there are no substantially comparable jobs in the area of intended employment, having substantially comparable jobs with employers outside of the area of intended employment.

655.731(a)(2)(iv)

(iv) A prevailing wage determination for LCA purposes made pursuant to this section shall not permit an employer to pay a wage lower than required under any other applicable Federal, state or local law.

655.731(a)(2)(v)

(v) Where a range of wages is paid by the employer to individuals in an occupational classification or among individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question, a range is considered to meet the prevailing wage requirement so long as the bottom of the wage range is at least the prevailing wage rate.

655.731(a)(2)(vi)

(vi) The employer shall enter the prevailing wage on the LCA in the form in which the employer will pay the wage (e.g., an annual salary or an hourly rate), except that in all cases the prevailing wage must be expressed as an hourly wage if the H-1B nonimmigrant will be employed part-time. Where an employer obtains a prevailing wage determination (from any of the sources identified in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section) that is expressed as an hourly rate, the employer may convert this determination to a yearly salary by multiplying the hourly rate by 2080. Conversely, where an employer obtains a prevailing wage (from any of these sources) that is expressed as a yearly salary, the employer may convert this determination to an hourly rate by dividing the salary by 2080.

655.731(a)(2)(vii)

(vii) In computing the prevailing wage for a job opportunity in an occupational classification in an area of intended employment in the case of an employee of an institution of higher education or an affiliated or related nonprofit entity, a nonprofit research organization, or a Governmental research organization as these terms are defined in 20 CFR 656.40(e), the prevailing wage level shall only take into account employees at such institutions and organizations in the area of intended employment.

655.731(a)(2)(viii)

(viii) An employer may file more than one LCA for the same occupational classification in the same area of employment and, in such circumstances, the employer could have H-1B employees in the same occupational classification in the same area of employment, brought into the U.S. (or accorded H-1B status) based on petitions approved pursuant to different LCAs (filed at different times) with different prevailing wage determinations. Employers are advised that the prevailing wage rate as to any particular H-1B nonimmigrant is prescribed by the LCA which supports that nonimmigrant's H-1B petition. The employer is required to obtain the prevailing wage at the time that the LCA is filed (see paragraph (a)(2) of this section). The LCA is valid for the period certified by ETA, and the employer must satisfy all the LCA's requirements (including the required wage which encompasses both prevailing and actual wage rates) for as long as any H-1B nonimmigrants are employed pursuant to that LCA (§655.750). Where new nonimmigrants are employed pursuant to a new LCA, that new LCA prescribes the employer's obligations as to those new nonimmigrants. The prevailing wage determination on the later/subsequent LCA does not "relate back" to operate as an "update" of the prevailing wage for the previously-filed LCA for the same occupational classification in the same area of employment. However, employers are cautioned that the actual wage component to the required wage may, as a practical matter, eliminate any wage-payment differentiation among H-1B employees based on different prevailing wage rates stated in applicable LCAs. Every H-1B nonimmigrant is to be paid in accordance with the employer's actual wage system, and thus is to receive any pay increases which that system provides.

655.731(a)(3)

(3) Once the prevailing wage rate is established, the H-1B employer then shall compare this wage with the actual wage rate for the specific employment in question at the place of employment and must pay the H-1B nonimmigrant at least the higher of the two wages.

655.731(b)

(b) Documentation of the wage statement.

655.731(b)(1)

(1) The employer shall develop and maintain documentation sufficient to meet its burden of proving the validity of the wage statement required in paragraph (a) of this section and attested to on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E. The documentation shall be made available to DOL upon request. Documentation shall also be made available for public examination to the extent required by § 655.760. The employer shall also document that the wage rate(s) paid to H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is(are) no less than the required wage rate(s). The documentation shall include information about the employer's wage rate(s) for all other employees for the specific employment in question at the place of employment, beginning with the date the labor condition application was submitted and continuing throughout the period of employment. The records shall be retained for the period of time specified in § 655.760. The payroll records for each such employee shall include:

655.731(b)(1)(i)-(iv)

(i) Employee's full name;

(ii) Employee's home address;

(iii) Employee's occupation;

(iv) Employee's rate of pay;

655.731(b)(1)(v)

(v) Hours worked each day and each week by the employee if:

(A) The employee is paid on other than a salary basis (e.g., hourly, piece-rate; commission); or

(B) With respect only to H-1B nonimmigrants, the worker is a part-time employee (whether paid a salary or an hourly rate).

655.731(b)(1)(vi)

(vi) Total additions to or deductions from pay each pay period, by employee; and

655.731(b)(1)(vii)

(vii) Total wages paid each pay period, date of pay and pay period covered by the payment, by employee.

655.731(b)(1)(viii)

(viii) Documentation of offer of benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services on the same basis, and in accordance with the same criteria, as the employer offers to U.S. workers (see paragraph (c)(3) of this section):

(A) A copy of any document(s) provided to employees describing the benefits that are offered to employees, the eligibility and participation rules, how costs are shared, etc. (e.g., summary plan descriptions, employee handbooks, any special or employee-specific notices that might be sent);

(B) A copy of all benefit plans or other documentation describing benefit plans and any rules the employer may have for differentiating benefits among groups of workers;

(C) Evidence as to what benefits are actually provided to U.S. workers and H-1B nonimmigrants, including evidence of the benefits selected or declined by employees where employees are given a choice of benefits;

(D) For multinational employers who choose to provide H-1B nonimmigrants with "home country" benefits, evidence of the benefits provided to the nonimmigrant before and after he/she went to the United States. See paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(C) of this section.

655.731(b)(2)

(2) Actual wage. In addition to payroll data required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section (and also by the Fair Labor Standards Act), the employer shall retain documentation specifying the basis it used to establish the actual wage. The employer shall show how the wage set for the H-1B nonimmigrant relates to the wages paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question at the place of employment. Where adjustments are made in the employer's pay system or scale during the validity period of the LCA, the employer shall retain documentation explaining the change and clearly showing that, after such adjustments, the wages paid to the H-1B nonimmigrant are at least the greater of the adjusted actual wage or the prevailing wage for the occupation and area of intended employment.

655.731(b)(3)

(3) Prevailing wage. The employer also shall retain documentation regarding its determination of the prevailing wage. This source documentation shall not be submitted to ETA with the labor condition application, but shall be retained at the employer's place of business for the length of time required in §655.760(c). Such documentation shall consist of the documentation described in paragraph (b)(3)(i), (ii), or (iii) of this section and the documentation described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

655.731(b)(3)(i)

(i) If the employer used a wage determination issued pursuant to the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. 276a et seq. (see 29 CFR part 1), or the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act, 41 U.S.C. 351 et seq. (see 29 CFR part 4), the documentation shall include a copy of the determination showing the wage rate for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

655.731(b)(3)(ii)

(ii) If the employer used an applicable wage rate from a union contract which was negotiated at arms-length between a union and the employer, the documentation shall include an excerpt from the union contract showing the wage rate(s) for the occupation.

655.731(b)(3)(iii)

(iii) If the employer did not use a wage covered by the provisions of paragraph (b)(3)(i) or (b)(3)(ii) of this section, the employer's documentation shall consist of:

655.731(b)(3)(iii)(A)

(A) A copy of the prevailing wage finding from the NPC for the occupation within the area of intended employment.

655.731(b)(3)(iii)(B)

(B) A copy of the prevailing wage survey for the occupation within the area of intended employment published by an independent authoritative source. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(3)(iii)(B), a prevailing wage survey for the occupation in the area of intended employment published by an independent authoritative source shall mean a survey of wages published in a book, newspaper, periodical, loose-leaf service, newsletter, or other similar medium, within the 24-month period immediately preceding the filing of the employer's application. Such survey shall:

655.731(b)(3)(iii)(B)(1)-(4)

(1) Reflect the weighted average wage paid to workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(2) Reflect the median wage of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment if the survey provides such a median and does not provide a weighted average wage of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(3) Be based upon recently collected data--e.g., within the 24-month period immediately preceding the date of publication of the survey; and

(4) Represent the latest published prevailing wage finding by the independent authoritative source for the occupation in the area of intended employment; or

655.731(b)(3)(iii)(C)

(C) A copy of the prevailing wage survey or other source data acquired from another legitimate source of wage information that was used to make the prevailing wage determination. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(3)(iii)(C), a prevailing wage provided by another legitimate source of such wage information shall be one which:

(1) Reflects the weighted average wage paid to workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(2) Reflect the median wage of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment if the survey provides such a median and does not provide a weighted average wage of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment;

(3) Is based on the most recent and accurate information available; and

(4) Is reasonable and consistent with recognized standards and principles in producing a prevailing wage.

655.731(c)

(c) Satisfaction of required wage obligation.

655.731(c)(1)

(1) The required wage must be paid to the employee, cash in hand, free and clear, when due, except that deductions made in accordance with paragraph (c)(9) of this section may reduce the cash wage below the level of the required wage. Benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services must be offered in accordance with paragraph (c)(3) of this section.

655.731(c)(2)

(2) "Cash wages paid," for purposes of satisfying the H-1B required wage, shall consist only of those payments that meet all the following criteria:

655.731(c)(2)(i)

(i) Payments shown in the employer's payroll records as earnings for the employee, and disbursed to the employee, cash in hand, free and clear, when due, except for deductions authorized by paragraph (c)(9) of this section;

655.731(c)(2)(ii)

(ii) Payments reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as the employee's earnings, with appropriate withholding for the employee's tax paid to the IRS (in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 1, et seq.);

655.731(c)(2)(iii)

(iii) Payments of the tax reported and paid to the IRS as required by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, 26 U.S.C. 3101, et seq. (FICA). The employer must be able to document that the payments have been so reported to the IRS and that both the employer's and employee's taxes have been paid except that when the H-1B nonimmigrant is a citizen of a foreign country with which the President of the United States has entered into an agreement as authorized by section 233 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 433 (i.e., an agreement establishing a totalization arrangement between the social security system of the United States and that of the foreign country), the employer's documentation shall show that all appropriate reports have been filed and taxes have been paid in the employee's home country.

655.731(c)(2)(iv)

(iv) Payments reported, and so documented by the employer, as the employee's earnings, with appropriate employer and employee taxes paid to all other appropriate Federal, State, and local governments in accordance with any other applicable law.

655.731(c)(2)(v)

(v) Future bonuses and similar compensation (i.e., unpaid but to-be-paid) may be credited toward satisfaction of the required wage obligation if their payment is assured (i.e., they are not conditional or contingent on some event such as the employer's annual profits). Once the bonuses or similar compensation are paid to the employee, they must meet the requirements of paragraphs (c)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section (i.e., recorded and reported as "earnings" with appropriate taxes and FICA contributions withheld and paid).

655.731(c)(3)

(3) Benefits and eligibility for benefits provided as compensation for services (e.g., cash bonuses; stock options; paid vacations and holidays; health, life, disability and other insurance plans; retirement and savings plans) shall be offered to the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) on the same basis, and in accordance with the same criteria, as the employer offers to U.S. workers.

655.731(c)(3)(i)

(i) For purposes of this section, the offer of benefits "on the same basis, and in accordance with the same criteria" means that the employer shall offer H-1B nonimmigrants the same benefit package as it offers to U.S. workers, and may not provide more strict eligibility or participation requirements for the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) than for similarly employed U.S. workers(s) (e.g., full-time workers compared to full-time workers; professional staff compared to professional staff). H-1B nonimmigrants are not to be denied benefits on the basis that they are "temporary employees" by virtue of their nonimmigrant status. An employer may offer greater or additional benefits to the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) than are offered to similarly employed U.S. worker(s), provided that such differing treatment is consistent with the requirements of all applicable nondiscrimination laws (e.g., Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2000e17). Offers of benefits by employers shall be made in good faith and shall result in the H-1B nonimmigrant(s)'s actual receipt of the benefits that are offered by the employer and elected by the H-1B nonimmigrant(s).

655.731(c)(3)(ii)

(ii) The benefits received by the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) need not be identical to the benefits received by similarly employed U.S. workers(s), provided that the H-1B nonimmigrant is offered the same benefits package as those workers but voluntarily chooses to receive different benefits (e.g., elects to receive cash payment rather than stock option, elects not to receive health insurance because of required employee contributions, or elects to receive different benefits among an array of benefits) or, in those instances where the employer is part of a multinational corporate operation, the benefits received by the H-1B nonimmigrant are provided in accordance with an employer's practice that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(B) or (C) of this section. In all cases, however, an employer's practice must comply with the requirements of any applicable nondiscrimination laws (e.g., Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2000e17).

655.731(c)(3)(iii)

(iii) If the employer is part of a multinational corporate operation (i.e., operates in affiliation with business entities in other countries, whether as subsidiaries or in some other arrangement), the following three options (i.e., (A), (B) or (C)) are available to the employer with respect to H-1B nonimmigrants who remain on the "home country" payroll.

655.731(c)(3)(iii)(A)

(A) The employer may offer the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) benefits in accordance with paragraphs (c)(3)(i) and (ii) of this section.

655.731(c)(3)(iii)(B)

(B) Where an H-1B nonimmigrant is in the U.S. for no more than 90 consecutive calendar days, the employer during that period may maintain the H-1B nonimmigrant on the benefits provided to the nonimmigrant in his/her permanent work station (ordinarily the home country), and not offer the nonimmigrant the benefits that are offered to similarly employed U.S. workers, provided that the employer affords reciprocal benefits treatment for any U.S. workers (i.e., allows its U.S. employees, while working out of the country on a temporary basis away from their permanent work stations in the United States, or while working in the United States on a temporary basis away from their permanent work stations in another country, to continue to receive the benefits provided them at their permanent work stations). Employers are cautioned that this provision is available only if the employer's practices do not constitute an evasion of the benefit requirements, such as where the H-1B nonimmigrant remains in the United States for most of the year, but briefly returns to the "home country" before any 90-day period would expire.

655.731(c)(3)(iii)(C)

(C) Where an H-1B nonimmigrant is in the U.S. for more than 90 consecutive calendar days (or from the point where the worker is transferred to the U.S. or it is anticipated that the worker will likely remain in the U.S. more than 90 consecutive days), the employer may maintain the H-1B nonimmigrant on the benefits provided in his/her home country (i.e., "home country benefits") (and not offer the nonimmigrant the benefits that are offered to similarly employed U.S. workers) provided that all of the following criteria are satisfied:

(1) The H-1B nonimmigrant continues to be employed in his/her home country (either with the H-1B employer or with a corporate affiliate of the employer);

(2) The H-1B nonimmigrant is enrolled in benefits in his/her home country (in accordance with any applicable eligibility standards for such benefits);

(3) The benefits provided in his/her home country are equivalent to, or equitably comparable to, the benefits offered to similarly employed U.S. workers (i.e., are no less advantageous to the nonimmigrant);

(4) The employer affords reciprocal benefits treatment for any U.S. workers while they are working out of the country, away from their permanent work stations (whether in the United States or abroad), on a temporary basis (i.e., maintains such U.S. workers on the benefits they received at their permanent work stations);

(5) If the employer offers health benefits to its U.S. workers, the employer offers the same plan on the same basis to its H-1B nonimmigrants in the United States where the employer does not provide the H-1B nonimmigrant with health benefits in the home country, or the employer's home-country health plan does not provide full coverage (i.e., coverage comparable to what he/she would receive at the home work station) for medical treatment in the United States; and

(6) the employer offers H-1B nonimmigrants who are in the United States more than 90 continuous days those U.S. benefits which are paid directly to the worker (e.g., paid vacation, paid holidays, and bonuses).

655.731(c)(3)(iv)

(iv) Benefits provided as compensation for services may be credited toward the satisfaction of the employer's required wage obligation only if the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section are met (e.g., recorded and reported as "earnings" with appropriate taxes and FICA contributions withheld and paid).

655.731(c)(4)

(4) For salaried employees, wages will be due in prorated installments (e.g., annual salary divided into 26 bi-weekly pay periods, where employer pays bi-weekly) paid no less often than monthly except that, in the event that the employer intends to use some other form of nondiscretionary payment to supplement the employee's regular/pro-rata pay in order to meet the required wage obligation (e.g., a quarterly production bonus), the employer's documentation of wage payments (including such supplemental payments) must show the employer's commitment to make such payment and the method of determining the amount thereof, and must show unequivocally that the required wage obligation was met for prior pay periods and, upon payment and distribution of such other payments that are pending, will be met for each current or future pay period. An employer that is a school or other educational institution may apply an established salary practice under which the employer pays to H-1B nonimmigrants and U.S. workers in the same occupational classification an annual salary in disbursements over fewer than 12 months, provided that the nonimmigrant agrees to the compressed annual salary payments prior to the commencement of the employment and the application of the salary practice to the nonimmigrant does not otherwise cause him/her to violate any condition of his/her authorization under the INA to remain in the U.S.

655.731(c)(5)

(5) For hourly-wage employees, the required wages will be due for all hours worked and/or for any nonproductive time (as specified in paragraph (c)(7) of this section) at the end of the employee's ordinary pay period (e.g., weekly) but in no event less frequently than monthly.

655.731(c)(6)

(6) Subject to the standards specified in paragraph (c)(7) of this section (regarding nonproductive status), an H-1B nonimmigrant shall receive the required pay beginning on the date when the nonimmigrant "enters into employment" with the employer.

655.731(c)(6)(i)

(i) For purposes of this paragraph (c)(6), the H-1B nonimmigrant is considered to "enter into employment" when he/she first makes him/herself available for work or otherwise comes under the control of the employer, such as by waiting for an assignment, reporting for orientation or training, going to an interview or meeting with a customer, or studying for a licensing examination, and includes all activities thereafter.

655.731(c)(6)(ii)

(ii) Even if the H-1B nonimmigrant has not yet "entered into employment" with the employer (as described in paragraph (c)(6)(i) of this section), the employer that has had an LCA certified and an H-1B petition approved for the H-1B nonimmigrant shall pay the nonimmigrant the required wage beginning 30 days after the date the nonimmigrant first is admitted into the U.S. pursuant to the petition, or, if the nonimmigrant is present in the United States on the date of the approval of the petition, beginning 60 days after the date the nonimmigrant becomes eligible to work for the employer. For purposes of this latter requirement, the H-1B nonimmigrant is considered to be eligible to work for the employer upon the date of need set forth on the approved H-1B petition filed by the employer, or the date of adjustment of the nonimmigrant's status by DHS, whichever is later. Matters such as the worker's obtaining a State license would not be relevant to this determination.

655.731(c)(7)

(7) Wage obligation(s) for H-1B nonimmigrant in nonproductive status --

655.731(c)(7)(i)

(i) Circumstances where wages must be paid. If the H-1B nonimmigrant is not performing work and is in a nonproductive status due to a decision by the employer (e.g., because of lack of assigned work), lack of a permit or license, or any other reason except as specified in paragraph (c)(7)(ii) of this section, the employer is required to pay the salaried employee the full pro-rata amount due, or to pay the hourly-wage employee for a full-time week (40 hours or such other number of hours as the employer can demonstrate to be full-time employment for hourly employees, or the full amount of the weekly salary for salaried employees) at the required wage for the occupation listed on the LCA. If the employer's LCA carries a designation of "part-time employment," the employer is required to pay the nonproductive employee for at least the number of hours indicated on the I-129 petition filed by the employer with the DHS and incorporated by reference on the LCA. If the I-129 indicates a range of hours for part-time employment, the employer is required to pay the nonproductive employee for at least the average number of hours normally worked by the H-1B nonimmigrant, provided that such average is within the range indicated; in no event shall the employee be paid for fewer than the minimum number of hours indicated for the range of part-time employment. In all cases the H-1B nonimmigrant must be paid the required wage for all hours performing work within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.

655.731(c)(7)(ii)

(ii) Circumstances where wages need not be paid. If an H-1B nonimmigrant experiences a period of nonproductive status due to conditions unrelated to employment which take the nonimmigrant away from his/her duties at his/her voluntary request and convenience (e.g., touring the U.S., caring for ill relative) or render the nonimmigrant unable to work (e.g., maternity leave, automobile accident which temporarily incapacitates the nonimmigrant), then the employer shall not be obligated to pay the required wage rate during that period, provided that such period is not subject to payment under the employer's benefit plan or other statutes such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.). Payment need not be made if there has been a bona fide termination of the employment relationship. DHS regulations require the employer to notify the DHS that the employment relationship has been terminated so that the petition is canceled (8 CFR 214.2(h)(11)), and require the employer to provide the employee with payment for transportation home under certain circumstances (8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(E)).

655.731(c)(8)

(8) If the employee works in an occupation other than that identified on the employer's LCA, the employer's required wage obligation is based on the occupation identified on the LCA, and not on whatever wage standards may be applicable in the occupation in which the employee may be working.

655.731(c)(9)

(9) "Authorized deductions," for purposes of the employer's satisfaction of the H-1B required wage obligation, means a deduction from wages in complete compliance with one of the following three sets of criteria (i.e., paragraph (c)(9)(i), (ii), or (iii))--

655.731(c)(9)(i)

(i) Deduction which is required by law (e.g., income tax; FICA); or

655.731(c)(9)(ii)

(ii) Deduction which is authorized by a collective bargaining agreement, or is reasonable and customary in the occupation and/or area of employment (e.g., union dues; contribution to premium for health insurance policy covering all employees; savings or retirement fund contribution for plan(s) in compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1001, et seq.), except that the deduction may not recoup a business expense(s) of the employer (including attorney fees and other costs connected to the performance of H-1B program functions which are required to be performed by the employer, e.g., preparation and filing of LCA and H-1B petition); the deduction must have been revealed to the worker prior to the commencement of employment and, if the deduction was a condition of employment, had been clearly identified as such; and the deduction must be made against wages of U.S. workers as well as H-1B nonimmigrants (where there are U.S. workers); or

655.731(c)(9)(iii)

(iii) Deduction which meets the following requirements:

655.731(c)(9)(iii)(A)

(A) Is made in accordance with a voluntary, written authorization by the employee (Note to paragraph (c)(9)(iii)(A): an employee's mere acceptance of a job which carries a deduction as a condition of employment does not constitute voluntary authorization, even if such condition were stated in writing);

655.731(c)(9)(iii)(B)

(B) Is for a matter principally for the benefit of the employee (Note to paragraph (c)(9)(iii)(B): housing and food allowances would be considered to meet this "benefit of employee" standard, unless the employee is in travel status, or unless the circumstances indicate that the arrangements for the employee's housing or food are principally for the convenience or benefit of the employer (e.g., employee living at worksite in "on call" status));

655.731(c)(9)(iii)(C)

(C) Is not a recoupment of the employer's business expense (e.g., tools and equipment; transportation costs where such transportation is an incident of, and necessary to, the employment; living expenses when the employee is traveling on the employer's business; attorney fees and other costs connected to the performance of H-1B program functions which are required to be performed by the employer (e.g., preparation and filing of LCA and H-1B petition)). (For purposes of this section, initial transportation from, and end-of-employment travel, to the worker's home country shall not be considered a business expense.);

655.731(c)(9)(iii)(D)

(D) Is an amount that does not exceed the fair market value or the actual cost (whichever is lower) of the matter covered (Note to paragraph (c)(9)(iii)(D): The employer must document the cost and value); and

655.731(c)(9)(iii)(E)

(E) Is an amount that does not exceed the limits set for garnishment of wages in the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. 1673, and the regulations of the Secretary pursuant to that Act, 29 CFR part 870, under which garnishment(s) may not exceed 25 percent of an employee's disposable earnings for a workweek.

655.731(c)(10)

(10) A deduction from or reduction in the payment of the required wage is not authorized (and is therefore prohibited) for the following purposes (i.e., paragraphs (c)(10) (i) and (ii)):

655.731(c)(10)(i)

(i) A penalty paid by the H-1B nonimmigrant for ceasing employment with the employer prior to a date agreed to by the nonimmigrant and the employer.

655.731(c)(10)(i)(A)

(A) The employer is not permitted to require (directly or indirectly) that the nonimmigrant pay a penalty for ceasing employment with the employer prior to an agreed date. Therefore, the employer shall not make any deduction from or reduction in the payment of the required wage to collect such a penalty.

655.731(c)(10)(i)(B)

(B) The employer is permitted to receive bona fide liquidated damages from the H-1B nonimmigrant who ceases employment with the employer prior to an agreed date. However, the requirements of paragraph (c)(9)(iii) of this section must be fully satisfied, if such damages are to be received by the employer via deduction from or reduction in the payment of the required wage.

655.731(c)(10)(i)(C)

(C) The distinction between liquidated damages (which are permissible) and a penalty (which is prohibited) is to be made on the basis of the applicable State law. In general, the laws of the various States recognize that liquidated damages are amounts which are fixed or stipulated by the parties at the inception of the contract, and which are reasonable approximations or estimates of the anticipated or actual damage caused to one party by the other party's breach of the contract. On the other hand, the laws of the various States, in general, consider that penalties are amounts which (although fixed or stipulated in the contract by the parties) are not reasonable approximations or estimates of such damage. The laws of the various States, in general, require that the relation or circumstances of the parties, and the purpose(s) of the agreement, are to be taken into account, so that, for example, an agreement to a payment would be considered to be a prohibited penalty where it is the result of fraud or where it cloaks oppression. Furthermore, as a general matter, the sum stipulated must take into account whether the contract breach is total or partial (i.e., the percentage of the employment contract completed). (See, e.g., Vanderbilt University v. DiNardo, 174 F.3d 751 (6th Cir. 1999) (applying Tennessee law); Overholt Crop Insurance Service Co. v. Travis, 941 F.2d 1361 (8th Cir. 1991) (applying Minnesota and South Dakota law); BDO Seidman v. Hirshberg, 712 N.E.2d 1220 (N.Y. 1999); Guiliano v. Cleo, Inc., 995 S.W.2d 88 (Tenn. 1999); Wojtowicz v. Greeley Anesthesia Services, P.C., 961 P.2d 520 (Colo.Ct.App. 1998); see generally, Restatement (Second) Contracts §356 (comment b); 22 Am.Jur.2d Damages §§683, 686, 690, 693, 703). In an enforcement proceeding under subpart I of this part, the Administrator shall determine, applying relevant State law (including consideration where appropriate to actions by the employer, if any, contributing to the early cessation, such as the employer's constructive discharge of the nonimmigrant or non-compliance with its obligations under the INA and its regulations) whether the payment in question constitutes liquidated damages or a penalty. (Note to paragraph (c)(10)(i)(C): The $500/$1,000 filing fee, if any, under section 214(c) of the INA can never be included in any liquidated damages received by the employer. See paragraph (c)(10)(ii), which follows.)

655.731(c)(10)(ii)

(ii) A rebate of the $500/$1,000 filing fee paid by the employer, if any, under section 214(c) of the INA. The employer may not receive, and the H-1B nonimmigrant may not pay, any part of the $500 additional filing fee (for a petition filed prior to December 18, 2000) or $1,000 additional filing fee (for a petition filed on or subsequent to December 18, 2000), whether directly or indirectly, voluntarily or involuntarily. Thus, no deduction from or reduction in wages for purposes of a rebate of any part of this fee is permitted. Further, if liquidated damages are received by the employer from the H-1B nonimmigrant upon the nonimmigrant's ceasing employment with the employer prior to a date agreed to by the nonimmigrant and the employer, such liquidated damages shall not include any part of the $500/$1,000 filing fee (see paragraph (c)(10)(i) of this section). If the filing fee is paid by a third party and the H-1B nonimmigrant reimburses all or part of the fee to such third party, the employer shall be considered to be in violation of this prohibition since the employer would in such circumstances have been spared the expense of the fee which the H-1B nonimmigrant paid.

655.731(c)(11)

(11) Any unauthorized deduction taken from wages is considered by the Department to be non-payment of that amount of wages, and in the event of an investigation, will result in back wage assessment (plus civil money penalties and/or disqualification from H-1B and other immigration programs, if willful).

655.731(c)(12)

(12) Where the employer depresses the employee's wages below the required wage by imposing on the employee any of the employer's business expenses(s), the Department will consider the amount to be an unauthorized deduction from wages even if the matter is not shown in the employer's payroll records as a deduction.

655.731(c)(13)

(13) Where the employer makes deduction(s) for repayment of loan(s) or wage advance(s) made to the employee, the Department, in the event of an investigation, will require the employer to establish the legitimacy and purpose(s) of the loan(s) or wage advance(s), with reference to the standards set out in paragraph (c)(9)(iii) of this section.

655.731(d)

(d) Enforcement actions.

655.731(d)(1)

(1) In the event that a complaint is filed pursuant to subpart I of this part, alleging a failure to meet the "prevailing wage" condition or a material misrepresentation by the employer regarding the payment of the required wage, or pursuant to such other basis for investigation as the Administrator may find, the Administrator shall determine whether the employer has the documentation required in paragraph (b)(3)of this section, and whether the documentation supports the employer's wage attestation. Where the documentation is either nonexistent or is insufficient to determine the prevailing wage (e.g., does not meet the criteria specified in this section, in which case the Administrator may find a violation of paragraph (b)(1), (2), or (3), of this section); or where, based on significant evidence regarding wages paid for the occupation in the area of intended employment, the Administrator has reason to believe that the prevailing wage finding obtained from an independent authoritative source or another legitimate source varies substantially from the wage prevailing for the occupation in the area of intended employment; or where the employer has been unable to demonstrate that the prevailing wage determined by another legitimate source is in accordance with the regulatory criteria, the Administrator may contact ETA, which shall provide the Administrator with a prevailing wage determination, which the Administrator shall use as the basis for determining violations and for computing back wages, if such wages are found to be owed. The 30-day investigatory period shall be suspended while ETA makes the prevailing wage determination and, in the event that the employer timely challenges the determination (see §655.731(d)(2)), shall be suspended until the challenge process is completed and the Administrator's investigation can be resumed.

655.731(d)(2)

(2) In the event the Administrator obtains a prevailing wage from ETA pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the employer desires review, including judicial review, the employer shall challenge the ETA prevailing wage only by filing a request for review under § 656.41 of this chapter within 30 days of the employer's receipt of the PWD from the Administrator. If the request is timely filed, the decision of OFLC is suspended until the Center Director issues a determination on the employer's appeal. If the employer desires review, including judicial review, of the decision of the NPC Center Director, the employer shall make a request for review of the determination by the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) under § 656.41(e) of this chapter within 30 days of the receipt of the decision of the Center Director. If a request for review is timely filed with the BALCA, the determination by the Center Director is suspended until the BALCA issues a determination on the employer's appeal. In any challenge to the wage determination, neither ETA nor the NPC shall divulge any employer wage data collected under the promise of confidentiality.

655.731(d)(2)(i)

(i) Where an employer timely challenges an OFLC PWD obtained by the Administrator, the 30-day investigative period shall be suspended until the employer obtains a final ruling. Upon such a final ruling, the investigation and any subsequent enforcement proceeding shall continue, with the PWD as determined by the BALCA serving as the conclusive determination for all purposes.

655.731(d)(2)(ii)

(ii) [Reserved]

655.731(d)(3)

(3) For purposes of this paragraph (d), OFLC may consult with the NPC to ascertain the prevailing wage applicable under the circumstances of the particular complaint.

655.732

§ 655.732 What is the second LCA requirement, regarding working conditions?

An employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability shall state on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E that the employment of H-1B nonimmigrants will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment. For the purposes of this section, "H-1B" includes "E-3 and H-1B1" as well.

655.732(a)

(a) Establishing the working conditions requirement. The second LCA requirement shall be satisfied when the employer affords working conditions to its H-1B nonimmigrant employees on the same basis and in accordance with the same criteria as it affords to its U.S. worker employees who are similarly employed, and without adverse effect upon the working conditions of such U.S. worker employees. Working conditions include matters such as hours, shifts, vacation periods, and benefits such as seniority-based preferences for training programs and work schedules. The employer's obligation regarding working conditions shall extend for the longer of two periods: the validity period of the certified LCA, or the period during which the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is(are) employed by the employer.

655.732(b)

(b) Documentation of the working condition statement. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer shall produce documentation to show that it has afforded its H-1B nonimmigrant employees working conditions on the same basis and in accordance with the same criteria as it affords its U.S. worker employees who are similarly employed.

655.733

§ 655.733 What is the third LCA requirement, regarding strikes and lockouts?

An employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants shall state on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E that there is not at that time a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the occupational classification at the place of employment. A strike or lockout which occurs after the labor condition application is filed by the employer with DOL is covered by DHS regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(17). For the purposes of this section, "H-1B" includes "E-3 and H-1B1" as well.

655.733(a)

(a) Establishing the no strike or lockout requirement. The third labor condition application requirement shall be satisfied when the employer signs the labor condition application attesting that, as of the date the application is filed, the employer is not involved in a strike, lockout, or work stoppage in the course of a labor dispute in the occupational classification in the area of intended employment. Labor disputes for the purpose of this section relate only to those disputes involving employees of the employer working at the place of employment in the occupational classification named in the labor condition application. See also DHS regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(17) for effects of strikes or lockouts in general on the H-1B nonimmigrant's employment.

655.733(a)(1)

(1) Strike or lockout subsequent to certification of labor condition application. In order to remain in compliance with the no strike or lockout labor condition statement, if a strike or lockout of workers in the same occupational classification as the H-1B nonimmigrant occurs at the place of employment during the validity of the labor condition application, the employer, within three days of the occurrence of the strike or lockout, shall submit to ETA, by U.S. mail, facsimile (FAX), or private carrier, written notice of the strike or lockout. Further, the employer shall not place, assign, lease, or otherwise contract out an H-1B nonimmigrant, during the entire period of the labor condition application's validity, to any place of employment where there is a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the same occupational classification as the H-1B nonimmigrant. Finally, the employer shall not use the labor condition application in support of any petition filings for H-1B nonimmigrants to work in such occupational classification at such place of employment until ETA determines that the strike or lockout has ended.

655.733(a)(2)

(2) ETA notice to DHS. Upon receiving from an employer a notice described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, ETA shall examine the documentation, and may consult with the union at the employer's place of business or other appropriate entities. If ETA determines that the strike or lockout is covered under DHS's "Effect of strike" regulation for "H" visa holders, ETA shall certify to DHS, in the manner set forth in that regulation, that a strike or other labor dispute involving a work stoppage of workers in the same occupational classification as the H-1B nonimmigrant is in progress at the place of employment. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(17).

655.733(b)

(b) Documentation of the third labor condition statement. The employer need not develop nor maintain documentation to substantiate the statement referenced in paragraph (a) of this section. In the case of an investigation, however, the employer has the burden of proof to show that there was no strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute for the occupational classification in which an H-1B nonimmigrant is employed, either at the time the application was filed or during the validity period of the LCA.

655.734

§ 655.734 What is the fourth LCA requirement, regarding notice?

An employer seeking to employ H-1B nonimmigrants shall state on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E that the employer has provided notice of the filing of the labor condition application to the bargaining representative of the employer's employees in the occupational classification in which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed or are intended to be employed in the area of intended employment, or, if there is no such bargaining representative, has posted notice of filing in conspicuous locations in the employer's establishment(s) in the area of intended employment, in the manner described in this section. For the purposes of this section, "H-1B" includes "E-3 and H-1B1" as well.

655.734(a)

(a) Establishing the notice requirement. The fourth labor condition application requirement shall be established when the conditions of paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section are met.

655.734(a)(1)(i)

(1)(i) Where there is a collective bargaining representative for the occupational classification in which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed, on or within 30 days before the date the labor condition application is filed with ETA, the employer shall provide notice to the bargaining representative that a labor condition application is being, or will be, filed with ETA. The notice shall identify the number of H-1B nonimmigrants the employer is seeking to employ; the occupational classification in which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed; the wages offered; the period of employment; and the location(s) at which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed. Notice under this paragraph (a)(1)(i) shall include the following statement: "Complaints alleging misrepresentation of material facts in the labor condition application and/or failure to comply with the terms of the labor condition application may be filed with any office of the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor."

655.734(a)(1)(ii)

(ii) Where there is no collective bargaining representative, the employer shall, on or within 30 days before the date the LCA is filed with ETA, provide a notice of the filing of the LCA. The notice shall indicate that H-1B nonimmigrants are sought; the number of such nonimmigrants the employer is seeking; the occupational classification; the wages offered; the period of employment; the location(s) at which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed; and that the LCA is available for public inspection at the H-1B employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the worksite. The notice shall also include the statement: "Complaints alleging misrepresentation of material facts in the labor condition application and/or failure to comply with the terms of the labor condition application may be filed with any office of the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor." If the employer is an H-1B-dependent employer or a willful violator, and the LCA is not being used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants, the notice shall also set forth the nondisplacement and recruitment obligations to which the employer has attested, and shall include the following additional statement: "Complaints alleging failure to offer employment to an equally or better qualified U.S. applicant or an employer's misrepresentation regarding such offers of employment may be filed with the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20530, Telephone: 1 (800) 255-8155 (employers), 1 (800) 255-7688 (employees); Web address: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc." The notice shall be provided in one of the two following manners:

655.734(a)(1)(ii)(A)

(A) Hard copy notice, by posting a notice in at least two conspicuous locations at each place of employment where any H-1B nonimmigrant will be employed (whether such place of employment is owned or operated by the employer or by some other person or entity).

655.734(a)(1)(ii)(A)(1)

(1) The notice shall be of sufficient size and visibility, and shall be posted in two or more conspicuous places so that workers in the occupational classification at the place(s) of employment can easily see and read the posted notice(s).

655.734(a)(1)(ii)(A)(2)

(2) Appropriate locations for posting the notices include, but are not limited to, locations in the immediate proximity of wage and hour notices required by 29 CFR 516.4 or occupational safety and health notices required by 29 CFR 1903.2(a).

655.734(a)(1)(ii)(A)(3)

(3) The notices shall be posted on or within 30 days before the date the labor condition application is filed and shall remain posted for a total of 10 days.

655.734(a)(1)(ii)(B)

(B) Electronic notice, by providing electronic notification to employees in the occupational classification (including both employees of the H-1B employer and employees of another person or entity which owns or operates the place of employment) for which H-1B nonimmigrants are sought, at each place of employment where any H-1B nonimmigrant will be employed. Such notification shall be given on or within 30 days before the date the labor condition application is filed, and shall be available to the affected employees for a total of 10 days, except that if employees are provided individual, direct notice (as by e-mail), notification only need be given once during the required time period. Notification shall be readily available to the affected employees. An employer may accomplish this by any means it ordinarily uses to communicate with its workers about job vacancies or promotion opportunities, including through its "home page" or "electronic bulletin board" to employees who have, as a practical matter, direct access to these resources; or through e-mail or an actively circulated electronic message such as the employer's newsletter. Where affected employees at the place of employment are not on the "intranet" which provides direct access to the home page or other electronic site but do have computer access readily available, the employer may provide notice to such workers by direct electronic communication such as e-mail (i.e., a single, personal e-mail message to each such employee) or by arranging to have the notice appear for 10 days on an intranet which includes the affected employees (e.g., contractor arranges to have notice on customer's intranet accessible to affected employees). Where employees lack practical computer access, a hard copy must be posted in accordance with paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(A) of this section, or the employer may provide employees individual copies of the notice.

655.734(a)(2)

(2) Where the employer places any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at one or more worksites not contemplated at the time of filing the application, but which are within the area of intended employment listed on the LCA, the employer is required to post electronic or hard-copy notice(s) at such worksite(s), in the manner described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, on or before the date any H-1B nonimmigrant begins work.

655.734(a)(3)

(3) The employer shall, no later than the date the H-1B nonimmigrant reports to work at the place of employment, provide the H-1B nonimmigrant with a copy of the LCA (Form ETA 9035, or Form ETA 9035E) certified by ETA and signed by the employer (or by the employer's authorized agent or representative). Upon request, the employer shall provide the H-1B nonimmigrant with a copy of the cover pages, Form ETA 9035CP.

655.734(b)

(b) Documentation of the fourth labor condition statement. The employer shall develop and maintain documentation sufficient to meet its burden of proving the validity of the statement referenced in paragraph (a) of this section and attested to on Form ETA 9035 or 9035E. Such documentation shall include a copy of the dated notice and the name and address of the collective bargaining representative to whom the notice was provided. Where there is no collective bargaining representative, the employer shall note and retain the dates when, and locations where, the notice was posted and shall retain a copy of the posted notice.

655.734(c)

(c) Records retention; records availability. The employer's documentation shall not be submitted to ETA with the labor condition application, but shall be retained for the period of time specified in §655.760(c) of this part. The documentation shall be made available for public examination as required in §655.760(a) of this part, and shall be made available to DOL upon request.

655.735

§ 655.735 What are the special provisions for short-term placement of H-1B nonimmigrants at place(s) of employment outside the area(s) of intended employment listed on the LCA?

This section does not apply to E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrants.

655.735(a)

(a) Subject to the conditions specified in this section, an employer may make short-term placements or assignments of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at worksite(s) (place(s) of employment) in areas not listed on the employer's approved LCA(s) without filing new labor condition application(s) for such area(s).

655.735(b)

(b) The following conditions must be fully satisfied by an employer during all short-term placement(s) or assignment(s) of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at worksite(s) (place(s) of employment) in areas not listed on the employer's approved LCA(s):

(1) The employer has fully satisfied the requirements of §§655.730 through 655.734 with regard to worksite(s) located within the area(s) of intended employment listed on the employer's LCA(s).

(2) The employer shall not place, assign, lease, or otherwise contract out any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) to any worksite where there is a strike or lockout in the course of a labor dispute in the same occupational classification(s) as that of the H-1B nonimmigrant(s).

(3) For every day the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is placed or assigned outside the area(s) of employment listed on the approved LCA(s) for such worker(s), the employer shall:

(i) Continue to pay such worker(s) the required wage (based on the prevailing wage at such worker's(s') permanent worksite, or the employer's actual wage, whichever is higher);

(ii) Pay such worker(s) the actual cost of lodging (for both workdays and non-workdays); and

(iii) Pay such worker(s) the actual cost of travel, meals and incidental or miscellaneous expenses (for both workdays and non-workdays).

655.735(c)

(c) An employer's short-term placement(s) or assignment(s) of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at any worksite(s) in an area of employment not listed on the employer's approved LCA(s) shall not exceed a total of 30 workdays in a one-year period for any H-1B nonimmigrant at any worksite or combination of worksites in the area, except that such placement or assignment of an H-1B nonimmigrant may be for longer than 30 workdays but for no more than a total of 60 workdays in a one-year period where the employer is able to show the following:

(1) The H-1B nonimmigrant continues to maintain an office or work station at his/her permanent worksite (e.g., the worker has a dedicated workstation and telephone line(s) at the permanent worksite);

(2) The H-1B nonimmigrant spends a substantial amount of time at the permanent worksite in a one-year period; and

(3) The H-1B nonimmigrant's U.S. residence or place of abode is located in the area of the permanent worksite and not in the area of the short-term worksite(s) (e.g., the worker's personal mailing address; the worker's lease for an apartment or other home; the worker's bank accounts; the worker's automobile driver's license; the residence of the worker's dependents).

655.735(d)

(d) For purposes of this section, the term workday shall mean any day on which an H-1B nonimmigrant performs any work at any worksite(s) within the area of short-term placement or assignment. For example, three workdays would be counted where a nonimmigrant works three non-consecutive days at three different worksites (whether or not the employer owns or controls such worksite(s)), within the same area of employment. Further, for purposes of this section, the term one-year period shall mean the calendar year (i.e., January 1 through December 31) or the employer's fiscal year, whichever the employer chooses.

655.735(e)

(e) The employer may not make short-term placement(s) or assignment(s) of H-1B nonimmigrant(s) under this section at worksite(s) in any area of employment for which the employer has a certified LCA for the occupational classification. Further, an H-1B nonimmigrant entering the U.S. is required to be placed at a worksite in accordance with the approved petition and supporting LCA; thus, the nonimmigrant's initial placement or assignment cannot be a short-term placement under this section. In addition, the employer may not continuously rotate H-1B nonimmigrants on short-term placement or assignment to an area of employment in a manner that would defeat the purpose of the short-term placement option, which is to provide the employer with flexibility in assignments to afford enough time to obtain an approved LCA for an area where it intends to have a continuing presence (e.g., an employer may not rotate H-1B nonimmigrants to an area of employment for 20-day periods, with the result that nonimmigrants are continuously or virtually continuously employed in the area of employment, in order to avoid filing an LCA; such an employer would violate the short-term placement provisions).

655.735(f)

(f) Once any H-1B nonimmigrant's short-term placement or assignment has reached the workday limit specified in paragraph (c) of this section in an area of employment, the employer shall take one of the following actions:

655.735(f)(1)

(1) File an LCA and obtain ETA certification, and thereafter place any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) in that occupational classification at worksite(s) in that area pursuant to the LCA (i.e., the employer shall perform all actions required in connection with such LCA, including determination of the prevailing wage and notice to workers); or

655.735(f)(2)

(2) Immediately terminate the placement of any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) who reaches the workday limit in an area of employment. No worker may exceed the workday limit within the one-year period specified in paragraph (d) of this section, unless the employer first files an LCA for the occupational classification for the area of employment. Employers are cautioned that if any worker exceeds the workday limit within the one-year period, then the employer has violated the terms of its LCA(s) and the regulations in the subpart, and thereafter the short-term placement option cannot be used by the employer for H-1B nonimmigrants in that occupational classification in that area of employment.

655.735(g)

(g) An employer is not required to use the short-term placement option provided by this section, but may choose to make each placement or assignment of an H-1B nonimmigrant at worksite(s) in a new area of employment pursuant to a new LCA for such area. Further, an employer which uses the short-term placement option is not required to continue to use the option. Such an employer may, at any time during the period identified in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, file an LCA for the new area of employment (performing all actions required in connection with such LCA); upon certification of such LCA, the employer's obligation to comply with this section concerning short-term placement shall terminate. (However, see §655.731(c)(9)(iii)(C) regarding payment of business expenses for employee's travel on employer's business.)

655.736

§ 655.736 What are H-1B-dependent employers and willful violators?

Two attestation obligations apply only to two types of employers: H-1B-dependent employers (as described in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section) and employers found to have willfully violated their H-1B obligations within a certain five-year period (as described in paragraph (f) of this section). These obligations apply only to certain labor condition applications filed by such employers (as described in paragraph (g) of this section), and do not apply to LCAs filed by such employers solely for the employment of "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrants (as described in paragraph (g) of this section and §655.737). These obligations require that such employers not displace U.S. workers from jobs (as described in §655.738) and that such employers recruit U.S. workers before hiring H-1B nonimmigrants (as described in §655.739).

655.736(a)

(a) What constitutes an "H-1B-dependent" employer?

655.736(a)(1)

(1) "H-1B-dependent employer," for purposes of THIS subpart H and subpart I of this part, means an employer that meets one of the three following standards, which are based on the ratio between the employer's total work force employed in the U.S. (including both U.S. workers and H-1B nonimmigrants, and measured according to full-time equivalent employees) and the employer's H-1B nonimmigrant employees (a "head count" including both full-time and part-time H-1B employees)--

655.736(a)(1)(i)

(i)(A) The employer has 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees who are employed in the U.S.; and

(B) Employs more than seven H-1B nonimmigrants;

655.736(a)(1)(ii)

(ii)(A) The employer has at least 26 but not more than 50 full-time equivalent employees who are employed in the U.S.; and

(B) Employs more than 12 H-1B nonimmigrant; or

655.736(a)(1)(iii)

(iii)(A) The employer has at least 51 full-time equivalent employees who are employed in the U.S.; and

(B) Employs H-1B nonimmigrants in a number that is equal to at least 15 percent of the number of such full-time equivalent employees.

655.736(a)(2)

(2) "Full-time equivalent employees" (FTEs), for purposes of paragraph (a) of this section are to be determined according to the following standards:

655.736(a)(2)(i)

(i) The determination of FTEs is to include only persons employed by the employer (as defined in §655.715), and does not include bona fide consultants and independent contractors. For purposes of this section, the Department will accept the employer's designation of persons as "employees," provided that such persons are consistently treated as "employees" for all purposes including FICA, FLSA, etc.

655.736(a)(2)(ii)

(ii) The determination of FTEs is to be based on the following records:

(A) To determine the number of employees, the employer's quarterly tax statement (or similar document) is to be used (assuming there is no issue as to whether all employees are listed on the tax statement); and

(B) To determine the number of hours of work by part-time employees, for purposes of aggregating such employees to FTEs, the last payroll (or the payrolls over the previous quarter, if the last payroll is not representative) is to be used, or where hours of work records are not maintained, other available information is to be used to make a reasonable approximation of hours of work (such as a standard work schedule). (But see paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) of this section regarding the determination of FTEs for part-time employees without a computation of the hours worked by such employees.)

655.736(a)(2)(iii)

(iii) The FTEs employed by the employer means the total of the two numbers yielded by paragraphs (a)(2)(iii)(A) and (B), which follow:

(A) The number of full-time employees. A full-time employee is one who works 40 or more hours per week, unless the employer can show that less than 40 hours per week is full-time employment in its regular course of business (however, in no event would less than 35 hours per week be considered to be full-time employment). Each full-time employee equals one FTE (e.g., 50 full-time employees would yield 50 FTEs). (Note to paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(A): An employee who commonly works more than the number of hours constituting full-time employment cannot be counted as more than one FTE.); plus

(B) The part-time employees aggregated to a number of full-time equivalents, if the employer has part-time employees. For purposes of this determination, a part-time employee is one who regularly works fewer than the number of hours per week which constitutes full-time employment (e.g., employee regularly works 20 hours, where full-time employment is 35 hours per week). The aggregation of part-time employees to FTEs may be performed by either of the following methods (i.e., paragraphs (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) or (2)):

(1) Each employee working fewer than full-time hours counted as one-half of an FTE, with the total rounded to the next higher whole number (e.g., three employees working fewer than 35 hours per week, where full-time employment is 35 hours, would yield two FTEs (i.e., 1.5 rounded to 2)); or

(2) The total number of hours worked by all part-time employees in the representative pay period, divided by the number of hours per week that constitute full-time employment, with the quotient rounded to the nearest whole number (e.g., 72 total hours of work by three part-time employees, divided by 40 (hours per week constituting full-time employment), would yield two FTEs (i.e., 1.8 rounded to 2)).

655.736(a)(2)(iv)

(iv) Examples of determinations of FTEs: Employer A has 100 employees, 70 of whom are full-time (with full-time employment shown to be 44 hours of work per week) and 30 of whom are part-time (with a total of 1004 hours of work by all 30 part-time employees during the representative pay period). Utilizing the method in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) of this section, this employer would have 85 FTEs: 70 FTEs for full-time employees, plus 15 FTEs for part-time employees (i.e., each of the 30 part-time employees counted as one-half of a full-time employee, as described in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) of this section). (This employer would have 23 FTEs for part-time employees, if these FTEs were computed as described in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(2) of this section: 1004 total hours of work by part-time employees, divided by 44 (full-time employment), yielding 22.8, rounded to 23)). Employer B has 100 employees, 80 of whom are full-time (with full-time employment shown to be 40 hours of work per week) and 20 of whom are part-time (with a total of 630 hours of work by all 30 part-time employees during the representative pay period). This employer would have 90 FTEs: 80 FTEs for full-time employees, plus 10 FTEs for part-time employees (i.e., each of the 20 part-time employees counted as one-half of a full-time employee, as described in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(1) of this section) (This employer would have 16 FTEs for part-time employees, if these FTEs were computed as described in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B)(2) of this section: 630 total hours of work by part-time employees, divided by 40 (full-time employment), yielding 15.7, rounded to 16)).

655.736(b)

(b) What constitutes an "employer" for purposes of determining H-1B-dependency status? Any group treated as a single employer under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) at 26 U.S.C. 414(b), (c), (m) or (o) shall be treated as a single employer for purposes of the determination of H-1B-dependency. Therefore, if an employer satisfies the requirements of the IRC and relevant regulations with respect to the following groups of employees, those employees will be treated as employees of a single employer for purposes of determining whether that employer is an H-1B-dependent employer.

655.736(b)(1)

(1) Pursuant to section 414(b) of the IRC and related regulations, all employees "within a controlled group of corporations" (within the meaning of section 1563(a) of the IRC, determined without regard to section 1563(a)(4) and (e)(3)(C)), will be treated as employees of a single employer. A controlled group of corporations is a parent-subsidiary-controlled group, a brother-sister-controlled group, or a combined group. 26 U.S.C. 1563(a), 26 CFR 1.414(b)-1(a).

(i) A parent-subsidiary-controlled group is one or more chains of corporations connected through stock ownership with a common parent corporation where at least 80 percent of the stock (by voting rights or value) of each subsidiary corporation is owned by one or more of the other corporations (either another subsidiary or the parent corporation), and the common parent corporation owns at least 80 percent of the stock of at least one subsidiary.

(ii) A brother-sister-controlled group is a group of corporations in which five or fewer persons (individuals, estates, or trusts) own 80 percent or more of the stock of the corporations and certain other ownership criteria are satisfied.

(iii) A combined group is a group of three or more corporations, each of which is a member of a parent-subsidiary controlled group or a brother-sister-controlled group and one of which is a common parent corporation of a parent-subsidiary-controlled group and is also included in a brother-sister-controlled group.

655.736(b)(2)

(2) Pursuant to section 414(c) of the IRC and related regulations, all employees of trades or businesses (whether or not incorporated) that are under common control are treated as employees of a single employer. 26 U.S.C. 414(c), 26 CFR 1.414(c)-2.

(i) Trades or businesses are under common control if they are included in:

(A) A parent-subsidiary group of trades or businesses;

(B) A brother-sister group of trades or businesses; or

(C) A combined group of trades or businesses.

(ii) Trades or businesses include sole proprietorships, partnerships, estates, trusts or corporations.

(iii) The standards for determining whether trades or businesses are under common control are similar to standards that apply to controlled groups of corporations. However, pursuant to 26 CFR 1.414(c)-2(b)(2), ownership of at least an 80 percent interest in the profits or capital interest of a partnership or the actuarial value of a trust or estate constitutes a controlling interest in a trade or business.

655.736(b)(3)

(3) Pursuant to section 414(m) of the IRC and related regulations, all employees of the members of an affiliated service group are treated as employees of a single employer. 26 U.S.C. 414(m).

(i) An affiliated service group is, generally, a group consisting of a service organization (the "first organization"), such as a health care organization, a law firm or an accounting firm, and one or more of the following:

(A) A second service organization that is a shareholder or partner in the first organization and that regularly performs services for the first organization (or is regularly associated with the first organization in performing services for third persons); or

(B) Any other organization if :

(1) A significant portion of the second organization's business is the performance of services for the first organization (or an organization described in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section or for both) of a type historically performed in such service field by employees, and

(2) Ten percent or more of the interest in the second organization is held by persons who are highly compensated employees of the first organization (or an organization described in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section).

(ii) [Reserved]

655.736(b)(4)

(4) Section 414(o) of the IRC provides that the Department of the Treasury may issue regulations addressing other business arrangements, including employee leasing, in which a group of employees are treated as employed by the same employer. However, the Department of the Treasury has not issued any regulations under this provision. Therefore, that section of the IRC will not be taken into account in determining what groups of employees are considered employees of a single employer for purposes of H-1B dependency determinations, unless regulations are issued by the Treasury Department during the period the dependency provisions of the ACWIA are effective.

655.736(b)(5)

(5) The definitions of "single employer" set forth in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3) of this section are established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in regulations located at 26 CFR 1.414(b)-1(a), (c)-2 and (m)-5. Guidance on these definitions should be sought from those regulations or from the IRS.

655.736(c)

(c) Which employers are required to make determinations of H-1B-dependency status? Every employer that intends to file an LCA regarding H-1B nonimmigrants or to file H-1B petition(s) or request(s) for extension(s) of H-1B status from January 19, 2001 through September 30, 2003, and after March 7, 2005, is required to determine whether it is an H-1B-dependent employer or a willful violator which, except as provided in §655.737, will be subject to the additional obligations for H-1B-dependent employers (see paragraph (g) of this section). No H-1B-dependent employer or willful violator may use an LCA filed before January 19, 2001, and during the period of October 1, 2003 through March 7, 2005, to support a new H-1B petition or request for an extension of status. Furthermore, on all H-1B LCAs filed from January 19, 2001 through September 30, 2003, and on or after March 8, 2005, an employer will be required to attest whether it is an H-1B-dependent employer or willful violator. An employer that attests it is non-H-1B-dependent but does not meet the "snap shot" test set forth in paragraph (c)(2) of this section shall make and document a full calculation of its status. However, as explained in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of this section, which follow, most employers would not be required to make any calculations or to create any documentation as to the determination of their H-1B status.

655.736(c)(1)

(1) Employers with readily apparent status concerning H-1B-dependency need not calculate that status. For most employers, regardless of their size, H-1B-dependency status (i.e., H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent) is readily apparent and would require no calculations, in that the ratio of H-1B employees to the total workforce is obvious and can easily be compared to the definition of "H-1B-dependency" (see definition set out in paragraph (a)(1) of this section).

For example: Employer A with 20 employees, only one of whom is an H-1B non-immigrant, would obviously not be H-1B-dependent and would not need to make calculations to confirm that status. Employer B with 45 employees, 30 of whom are H-1B nonimmigrants, would obviously be H-1B-dependent and would not need to make calculations. Employer C with 500 employees, only 30 of whom are H-1B nonimmigrants, would obviously not be H-1B-dependent and would not need to make calculations. Employer D with 1,000 employees, 850 of whom are H-1B nonimmigrants, would obviously be H-1B-dependent and would not have to make calculations.

655.736(c)(2)

(2) Employers with borderline H-1B-dependency status may use a "snap-shot" test to determine whether calculation of that status is necessary. Where an employer's H-1B-dependency status (i.e., H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent) is not readily apparent, the employer may use one of the following tests to determine whether a full calculation of the status is needed:

655.736(c)(2)(i)

(i) Small employer (50 or fewer employees). If the employer has 50 or fewer employees (both full-time and part-time, including H-1B nonimmigrants and U.S. workers), then the employer may compare the number of its H-1B nonimmigrant employees (both full-time and part-time) to the numbers specified in the definition set out in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and shall fully calculate its H-1B-dependency status (i.e., calculate FTEs) where the number of its H-1B nonimmigrant employees is above the number specified in the definition. In other words, if the employer has 25 or fewer employees, and more than seven of them are H-1B nonimmigrants, then the employer shall fully calculate its status; if the employer has at least 26 but no more than 50 employees, and more than 12 of them are H-1B nonimmigrants, then the employer shall fully calculate its status.

655.736(c)(2)(ii)

(ii) Large employer (51 or more employees). If the number of H-1B nonimmigrant employees (both full-time and part-time), divided by the number of full-time employees (including H-1B nonimmigrants and U.S. workers), is 0.15 or more, then an employer which believes itself to be non-H-1B-dependent shall fully calculate its H-1B-dependency status (including the calculation of FTEs). In other words, if the number of full-time employees (including H-1B nonimmigrants and U.S. workers) multiplied by 0.15 yields a number that is equal to or less than the number of H-1B nonimmigrant employees (both full-time and part-time), then the employer shall attest that it is H-1B-dependent or shall fully calculate its H-1B dependency status (including the calculation of FTEs).

655.736(d)

(d) What documentation is the employer required to make or maintain, concerning its determination of H-1B-dependency status? All employers are required to retain copies of H-1B petitions and requests for extensions of H-1B status filed with the DHS, as well as the payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1). The nature of any additional documentation would depend upon the general characteristics of the employer's workforce, as described in paragraphs (d)(1) through (4), which follow.

655.736(d)(1)

(1) Employer with readily apparent status concerning H-1B-dependency. If an employer's H-1B-dependency status (i.e., H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent) is readily apparent (as described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section), then that status must be reflected on the employer's LCA but the employer is not required to make or maintain any particular documentation. The public access file maintained in accordance with §655.760 would show the H-1B-dependency status, by means of copy(ies) of the LCA(s). In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's readily apparent status could be verified through records to be made available to the Administrator (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

655.736(d)(2)

(2) Employer with borderline H-1B-dependency status. An employer which uses a "snap-shot" test to determine whether it should undertake a calculation of its H-1B-dependency status (as described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section) is not required to make or maintain any documentation of that "snap-shot" test. The employer's status must be reflected on the LCA(s), which would be available in the public access file. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the "snap-shot" test (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

655.736(d)(3)

(3) Employer with H-1B-dependent status. An employer which attests that it is H-1B-dependent--whether that status is readily apparent or is determined through calculations--is not required to make or maintain any documentation of the calculation. The employer's status must be reflected on the LCA(s), which would be available in the public access file. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's designation of H-1B-dependent status on the LCA(s) would be conclusive and sufficient documentation of that status (except where the employer's status had altered to non-H-1B-dependent and had been appropriately documented, as described in paragraph (d)(5)(ii) of this section).

655.736(d)(4)

(4) Employer with non-H-1B-dependent status who is required to perform full calculation. An employer which attests that it is non-H-1B-dependent and does not meet the "snap shot" test set forth in paragraph (c)(2) of this section shall retain in its records a dated copy of its calculation that it is not H-1B-dependent. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the employer's determination (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

655.736(d)(5)

(5) Employer which changes its H-1B-dependency status due to changes in workforce. An employer may experience a change in its H-1B-dependency status, due to changes in the ratio of H-1B nonimmigrant to U.S. workers in its workforce. Thus it is important that employers who wish to file a new LCA or a new H-1B petition or request for extension of status remain cognizant of their dependency status and do a recheck of such status if the make-up of their workforce changes sufficiently that their dependency status might possibly change. In the event of such a change of status, the following standards will apply:

655.736(d)(5)(i)

(i) Change from non-H-1B-dependent to H-1B-dependent. An employer which experiences this change in its workforce is not required to make or maintain any record of its determination of the change of its H-1B-dependency status. The employer is not required to file new LCA(s) (which would accurately state its H-1B-dependent status), unless it seeks to hire new H-1B nonimmigrants or extend the status of existing H-1B nonimmigrants (see paragraph (g) of this section).

655.736(d)(5)(ii)

(ii) Change from H-1B-dependent to non-H-1B-dependent. An employer which experiences this change in its workforce is required to perform a full calculation of its status (as described in paragraph (c) of this section) and to retain a copy of such calculation in its records. If the employer seeks to hire new H-1B nonimmigrants or extend the status of existing H-1B nonimmigrants (see paragraph (g) of this section), the employer shall either file new LCAs reflecting its non-H-1B-dependent status or use its existing certified LCAs reflecting an H-1B-dependency status, in which case it shall continue to be bound by the dependent-employer attestations on such LCAs. In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the employer's determination (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

655.736(d)(6)

(6) Change in corporate structure or identity of employer. If an employer which experiences a change in its corporate structure as the result of an acquisition, merger, "spin-off," or other such action wishes to file a new LCA or a new H-1B petition or request for extension of status, the new employing entity shall redetermine its H-1B-dependency status in accordance with paragraphs (a) and (c) of this section (see paragraph (g) of this section). (See §655.730(e), regarding change in corporate structure or identity of employer.) In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's calculations where required under paragraph (c) of this section and its records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the employer's determination (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

655.736(d)(7)

(7) "Single employer" under IRC test. If an employer utilizes the IRC single-employer definition and concludes that it is non-H-1B-dependent, the employer shall perform the "snap-shot" test set forth in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, and if it fails to meet that test, shall attest that it is H-1B-dependent or shall perform the full calculation of dependency status in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section. The employer shall place a list of the entities included as a "single employer" in the public access file maintained in accordance with §766.760. In addition, the employer shall retain in its records the "snap-shot" or full calculation of its status, as appropriate (showing the number of employees of each entity who are included in the numerator and denominator of the equation, whether the employer utilizes the "snap shot" test or a complete calculation as described in paragraph (c) of this section). In the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part, the employer's records to be made available to the Administrator would enable the employer to show and the Administrator to verify the employer's determination (e.g., copies of H-1B petitions; payroll records described in §655.731(b)(1)).

655.736(e)

(e) How is an employer's H-1B-dependency status to be shown on the LCA? The employer is required to designate its status by marking the appropriate box on the Form ETA-9035 or 9035E (i.e., either H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent). An employer which marks the designation of "H-1B-dependent" may also mark the designation of its intention to seek only "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrants on the LCA (see paragraph (g) of this section, and §655.737). In the event that an employer has filed an LCA designating its H-1B-dependency status (either H-1B-dependent or non-H-1B-dependent) and thereafter experiences a change of status, the employer cannot use that LCA to support H-1B petitions for new nonimmigrants or requests for extension of H-1B status for existing nonimmigrants. Similarly, an employer that is or becomes H-1B-dependent cannot continue to use an LCA filed before January 19, 2001 to support new H-1B petitions or requests for extension of status. In such circumstances, the employer shall file a new LCA accurately designating its status and shall use that new LCA to support new petitions or requests for extensions of status.

655.736(f)

(f) What constitutes a "willful violator" employer and what are its special obligations?

(1) "Willful violator" or "willful violator employer," for purposes of this subpart H and subpart I of this part means an employer that meets all of the following standards (i.e., paragraphs (f)(1)(i) through (iii))--

(i) A finding of violation by the employer (as described in paragraph (f)(1) (ii)) is entered in either of the following two types of enforcement proceeding:

(A) A Department of Labor proceeding under section 212(n)(2) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)(C) and subpart I of this part; or

(B) A Department of Justice proceeding under section 212(n)(5) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(5).

(ii) The agency finds that the employer has committed either a willful failure or a misrepresentation of a material fact during the five-year period preceding the filing of the LCA; and

(iii) The agency's finding is entered on or after October 21, 1998.

(2) For purposes of this paragraph, "willful failure" means a violation which is a "willful failure" as defined in §655.805(c).

655.736(g)

(g) What LCAs are subject to the additional attestation obligations?

655.736(g)(1)

(1) An employer that is "H-1B-dependent" (under the standards described in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section) or is a "willful violator" (under the standards described in paragraph (f) of this section) is subject to the attestation obligations regarding displacement of U.S. workers and recruitment of U.S. workers (under the standards described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively) for all LCAs that are filed during the time period specified in paragraph (g)(2) of this section, to be used to support any petitions for new H-1B nonimmigrants or any requests for extensions of status for existing H-1B nonimmigrants. An LCA which does not accurately indicate the employer's H-1B-dependency status or willful violator status shall not be used to support H-1B petitions or requests for extensions. Further, an employer which falsely attests to non-H-1B-dependency status, or which experiences a change of status to H-1B-dependency but continues to use the LCA to support new H-1B petitions or requests for extension of status shall--despite the LCA designation of non-H-1B-dependency--be held to its obligations to comply with the attestation requirements concerning nondisplacement of U.S. workers and recruitment of U.S. workers (as described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively), as explicitly acknowledged and agreed on the LCA.

655.736(g)(2)

(2) During the period between January 19, 2001 through September 30, 2003, and on or after March 8, 2005, any employer that is "H-1B-dependent" (under the standards described in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section) or is a "willful violator" (under the standards described in paragraph (f) of this section) shall file a new LCA accurately indicating that status in order to be able to file petition(s) for new H-1B nonimmigrant(s) or request(s) for extension(s) of status for existing H-1B nonimmigrant(s). An LCA filed during a period when the special attestation obligations for H-1B dependent employers and willful violators were not in effect (that is before January 19, 2001, and from October 1, 2003 through March 7, 2005) may not be used by an H-1B dependent employer or willful violator to support petition(s) for new H-1B nonimmigrant(s) or request(s) for extension(s) of status for existing H-1B nonimmigrants.

655.736(g)(3)

(3) An employer that files an LCA indicating "H-1B-dependent" and/or "willful violator" status may also indicate on the LCA that all the H-1B nonimmigrants to be employed pursuant to that LCA will be "exempt H-1B nonimmigrants" as described in §655.737. Such an LCA is not subject to the additional LCA attestation obligations, provided that all H-1B nonimmigrants employed under it are, in fact, exempt. An LCA which indicates that it will be used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants shall not be used to support H-1B petitions or requests for extensions of status for H-1B nonimmigrants who are not, in fact, exempt. Further, an employer which attests that the LCA will be used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants but uses the LCA to employ non-exempt H-1B nonimmigrants (through petitions and/or extensions of status) shall--despite the LCA designation of exempt H-1B nonimmigrants--be held to its obligations to comply with the attestation requirements concerning nondisplacement of U.S. workers and recruitment of U.S. workers (as described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively), as explicitly acknowledged and agreed on the LCA.

655.736(g)(4)

(4) The special provisions for H-1B-dependent employers and willful violator employers do not apply to LCAs filed from October 1, 2003 through March 7, 2005, or before January 19, 2001. However, all LCAs filed before October 1, 2003, and containing the additional attestation obligations described in this section and §§655.737 through 655.739, will remain in effect with regard to those obligations, for so long as any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) employed pursuant to the LCA(s) remain employed by the employer.

655.737

§ 655.737 What are "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrants, and how does their employment affect the additional attestation obligations of H-1B-dependent employers and willful violator employers?

655.737(a)

(a) An employer that is H-1B-dependent or a willful violator of the H-1B program requirements (as described in §655.736) is subject to the attestation obligations regarding displacement of U.S. workers and recruitment of U.S. workers (as described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively) for all LCAs that are filed during the time period specified in §655.736(g). However, these additional obligations do not apply to an LCA filed by such an employer if the LCA is used only for the employment of "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrants (through petitions and/or extensions of status) as described in this section.

655.737(b)

(b) What is the test or standard for determining an H-1B nonimmigrant's "exempt" status? An H-1B nonimmigrant is "exempt" for purposes of this section if the nonimmigrant meets either of the two following criteria:

(1) Receives wages (including cash bonuses and similar compensation) at an annual rate equal to at least $60,000; or

(2) Has attained a master's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specialty related to the intended employment.

655.737(c)

(c) How is the $60,000 annual wage to be determined? The H-1B nonimmigrant can be considered to be an "exempt" worker, for purposes of this section, if the nonimmigrant actually receives hourly wages or annual salary totaling at least $60,000 in the calendar year. The standards applicable to the employer's satisfaction of the required wage obligation are applicable to the determination of whether the $60,000 wages or salary are received (see §655.731(c)(2) and (3)). Thus, employer contributions or costs for benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, and pension plans cannot be counted toward this $60,000. The compensation to be counted or credited for these purposes could include cash bonuses and similar payments, provided that such compensation is paid to the worker "cash in hand, free and clear, when due" (§655.731(c)(1)), meaning that the compensation has readily determinable market value, is readily convertible to cash tender, and is actually received by the employee when due (which must be within the year for which the employer seeks to count or credit the compensation toward the employee's $60,000 earnings to qualify for exempt status). Cash bonuses and similar compensation can be counted or credited toward the $60,000 for "exempt" status only if payment is assured (i.e., if the payment is contingent or conditional on some event such as the employer's annual profits, the employer must guarantee payment even if the contingency is not met). The full $60,000 annual wages or salary must be received by the employee in order for the employee to have "exempt" status. The wages or salary required for "exempt" status cannot be decreased or pro rated based on the employee's part-time work schedule; an H-1B nonimmigrant working part-time, whose actual annual compensation is less than $60,000, would not qualify as exempt on the basis of wages, even if the worker's earnings, if projected to a full-time work schedule, would theoretically exceed $60,000 in a year. Where an employee works for less than a full year, the employee must receive at least the appropriate pro rata share of the $60,000 in order to be "exempt" (e.g., an employee who resigns after three months must be paid at least $15,000). In the event of an investigation pursuant to subpart I of this part, the Administrator will determine whether the employee has received the required $60,000 per year, using the employee's anniversary date to determine the one-year period; for an employee who had worked for less than a full year (either at the beginning of employment, or after his/her last anniversary date), the determination as to the $60,000 annual wages will be on a pro rata basis (i.e., whether the employee had been paid at a rate of $60,000 per year (or $5,000 per month) including any unpaid, guaranteed bonuses or similar compensation).

655.737(d)

(d) How is the "master's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specialty related to the intended employment" to be determined?

655.737(d)(1)

(1) "Master's or higher degree (or its equivalent)," for purposes of this section means a foreign academic degree from an institution which is accredited or recognized under the law of the country where the degree was obtained, and which is equivalent to a master's or higher degree issued by a U.S. academic institution. The equivalence to a U.S. academic degree cannot be established through experience or through demonstration of expertise in the academic specialty (i.e., no "time equivalency" or "performance equivalency" will be recognized as substituting for a degree issued by an academic institution). The DHS and the Department will consult appropriate sources of expertise in making the determination of equivalency between foreign and U.S. academic degrees. Upon the request of the DHS or the Department, the employer shall provide evidence to establish that the H-1B nonimmigrant has received the degree, that the degree was earned in the asserted field of study, including an academic transcript of courses, and that the institution from which the degree was obtained was accredited or recognized.

655.737(d)(2)

(2) "Specialty related to the intended employment," for purposes of this section, means that the academic degree is in a specialty which is generally accepted in the industry or occupation as an appropriate or necessary credential or skill for the person who undertakes the employment in question. A "specialty" which is not generally accepted as appropriate or necessary to the employment would not be considered to be sufficiently "related' to afford the H-1B nonimmigrant status as an "exempt H-1B nonimmigrant."

655.737(e)

(e) When and how is the determination of the H-1B nonimmigrant's "exempt" status to be made? An employer that is H-1B-dependent or a willful violator (as described in §655.736) may designate on the LCA that the LCA will be used only to support H-1B petition(s) and/or request(s) for extension of status for "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrants.

655.737(e)(1)

(1) If the employer makes the designation of "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrant(s) on the LCA, then the DHS--as part of the adjudication of the H-1B petition or request for extension of status--will determine the worker's "exempt" status, since an H-1B petition must be supported by an LCA consistent with the petition (i.e., occupation, area of intended employment, exempt status). The employer shall maintain, in the public access file maintained in accordance with §755.760, a list of the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) whose petition(s) and/or request(s) are supported by LCA(s) which the employer has attested will be used only for exempt H-1B nonimmigrants. In the event of an investigation under subpart I of this part, the Administrator will give conclusive effect to an DHS determination of "exempt" status based on the nonimmigrant's educational attainments (i.e., master's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specialty related to the intended employment) unless the determination was based on false information. If the DHS determination of "exempt" status was based on the assertion that the nonimmigrant would receive wages (including cash bonuses and similar compensation) at an annual rate equal to at least $60,000, the employer shall provide evidence to show that such wages actually were received by the nonimmigrant (consistent with paragraph (c) of this section and the regulatory standards for satisfaction or payment of the required wages as described in §655.731(c)(3)).

655.737(e)(2)

(2) If the employer makes the designation of "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrants on the LCA, but is found in an enforcement action under subpart I of this part to have used the LCA to employ nonimmigrants who are, in fact, not exempt, then the employer will be subject to a finding that it failed to comply with the nondisplacement and recruitment obligations (as described in §§655.738 and 655.739, respectively) and may be assessed appropriate penalties and remedies.

655.737(e)(3)

(3) If the employer does not make the designation of "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrants on the LCA, then the employer has waived the option of not being subject to the additional LCA attestation obligations on the basis of employing only exempt H-1B nonimmigrants under the LCA. In the event of an investigation under subpart I of this part, the Administrator will not consider the question of the nonimmigrant(s)'s "exempt" status in determining whether an H-1B-dependent employer or willful violator employer has complied with such additional LCA attestation obligations.

655.738

§ 655.738 What are the "non-displacement of U.S. workers" obligations that apply to H-1B-dependent employers and willful violators, and how do they operate?

An employer that is subject to these additional attestation obligations (under the standards described in §655.736) is prohibited from displacement of any U.S. worker(s)--whether directly (in its own workforce) or secondarily (at a worksite of a second employer)--under the standards set out in this section.

655.738(a)

(a) United States worker (U.S. worker) is defined in §655.715.

655.738(b)

(b) Displacement, for purposes of this section, has two components: "lay off" of U.S. worker(s), and "essentially equivalent jobs" held by U.S. worker(s) and H-1B nonimmigrant(s).

655.738(b)(1)

(1) Lay off of a U.S. worker means that the employer has caused the worker's loss of employment, other than through--

(i) Discharge of a U.S. worker for inadequate performance, violation of workplace rules, or other cause related to the worker's performance or behavior on the job;

(ii) A U.S. worker's voluntary departure or voluntary retirement (to be assessed in light of the totality of the circumstances, under established principles concerning "constructive discharge" of workers who are pressured to leave employment);

(iii) Expiration of a grant or contract under which a U.S. worker is employed, other than a temporary employment contract entered into in order to evade the employer's non-displacement obligation. The question is whether the loss of the contract or grant has caused the worker's loss of employment. It would not be a layoff where the job loss results from the expiration of a grant or contract without which there is no alternative funding or need for the U.S. worker's position on that or any other grant or contract (e.g., the expiration of a research grant that funded a project on which the worker was employed at an academic or research institution; the expiration of a staffing firm's contract with a customer where the U.S. worker was hired expressly to work pursuant to that contract and the employer has no practice of moving workers to other customers or projects upon the expiration of contract(s)). On the other hand, it would be a layoff where the employer's normal practice is to move the U.S. worker from one contract to another when a contract expires, and work on another contract for which the worker is qualified is available (e.g., staffing firm's contract with one customer ends and another contract with a different customer begins); or

(iv) A U.S. worker who loses employment is offered, as an alternative to such loss, a similar employment opportunity with the same employer (or, in the case of secondary displacement at a worksite of a second employer, as described in paragraph (d) of this section, a similar employment opportunity with either employer) at equivalent or higher compensation and benefits than the position from which the U.S. worker was discharged, regardless of whether or not the U.S. worker accepts the offer. The validity of the offer of a similar employment opportunity will be assessed in light of the following factors:

(A) The offer is a bona fide offer, rather than an offer designed to induce the U.S. worker to refuse or an offer made with the expectation that the worker will refuse;

(B) The offered job provides the U.S. worker an opportunity similar to that provided in the job from which he/she is discharged, in terms such as a similar level of authority, discretion, and responsibility, a similar opportunity for advancement within the organization, and similar tenure and work scheduling;

(C) The offered job provides the U.S. worker equivalent or higher compensation and benefits to those provided in the job from which he/she is discharged. The comparison of compensation and benefits includes all forms of remuneration for employment, whether or not called wages and irrespective of the time of payment (e.g., salary or hourly wage rate; profit sharing; retirement plan; expense account; use of company car). The comparison also includes such matters as cost of living differentials and relocation expenses (e.g., a New York City "opportunity" at equivalent or higher compensation and benefits offered to a worker discharged from a job in Kansas City would provide a wage adjustment from the Kansas City pay scale and would include relocation costs).

655.738(b)(2)

(2) Essentially equivalent jobs. For purposes of the displacement prohibition, the job from which the U.S. worker is laid off must be essentially equivalent to the job for which an H-1B nonimmigrant is sought. To determine whether the jobs of the laid off U.S. worker(s) and the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) are essentially equivalent, the comparison(s) shall be on a one-to-one basis where appropriate (i.e., one U.S. worker left employment and one H-1B nonimmigrant joined the workforce) but shall be broader in focus where appropriate (e.g., an employer, through reorganization, eliminates an entire department with several U.S. workers and then staffs this department's function(s) with H-1B nonimmigrants). The following comparisons are to be made:

(i) Job responsibilities. The job of the H-1B nonimmigrant must involve essentially the same duties and responsibilities as the job from which the U.S. worker was laid off. The comparison focuses on the core elements of and competencies for the job, such as supervisory duties, or design and engineering functions, or budget and financial accountability. Peripheral, non-essential duties that could be tailored to the particular abilities of the individual workers would not be determinative in this comparison. The job responsibilities must be similar and both workers capable of performing those duties.

(ii) Qualifications and experience of the workers. The qualifications of the laid off U.S. worker must be substantially equivalent to the qualifications of the H-1B nonimmigrant. The comparison is to be confined to the experience and qualifications (e.g., training, education, ability) of the workers which are directly relevant to the actual performance requirements of the job, including the experience and qualifications that would materially affect a worker's relative ability to perform the job better or more efficiently. While it would be appropriate to compare whether the workers in question have "substantially equivalent" qualifications and experience, the workers need not have identical qualifications and experience (e.g., a bachelor's degree from one accredited university would be considered to be substantially equivalent to a bachelor's degree from another accredited university; 15 years experience in an occupation would be substantially equivalent to 10 years experience in that occupation). It would not be appropriate to compare the workers' relative ages, their sexes, or their ethnic or religious identities.

(iii) Area of employment. The job of the H-1B nonimmigrant must be located in the same area of employment as the job from which the U.S. worker was laid off. The comparison of the locations of the jobs is confined to the area within normal commuting distance of the worksite or physical location where the work of the H-1B nonimmigrant is or will be performed. For purposes of this comparison, if both such worksites or locations are within a Metropolitan Statistical Area or a Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, they will be deemed to be within the same area of employment.

655.738(b)(3)

(3) The worker's rights under a collective bargaining agreement or other employment contract are not affected by the employer's LCA obligations as to non-displacement of such worker.

655.738(c)

(c) Direct displacement. An H-1B-dependent or willful-violator employer (as described in §655.736) is prohibited from displacing a U.S. worker in its own workforce (i.e., a U.S. worker "employed by the employer") within the period beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after the filing date of an H-1B petition supported by an LCA described in §655.736(g). The following standards and guidance apply under the direct displacement prohibition:

655.738(c)(1)

(1) Which U.S. workers are protected against "direct displacement"? This prohibition covers the H-1B employer's own workforce--U.S. workers "employed by the employer"--who are employed in jobs that are essentially equivalent to the jobs for which the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) are sought (as described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section). The term "employed by the employer" is defined in §655.715.

655.738(c)(2)

(2) When does the "direct displacement" prohibition apply? The H-1B employer is prohibited from displacing a U.S. worker during a specific period of time before and after the date on which the employer files any H-1B petition supported by the LCA which is subject to the non-displacement obligation (as described in §655.736(g)). This protected period is from 90 days before until 90 days after the petition filing date.

655.738(c)(3)

(3) What constitutes displacement of a U.S. worker? The H-1B employer is prohibited from laying off a U.S. worker from a job that is essentially the equivalent of the job for which an H-1B nonimmigrant is sought (as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section).

655.738(d)

(d) Secondary displacement. An H-1B-dependent or willful-violator employer (as described in §655.736) is prohibited from placing certain H-1B nonimmigrant(s) with another employer where there are indicia of an employment relationship between the nonimmigrant and that other employer (thus possibly affecting the jobs of U.S. workers employed by that other employer), unless and until the H-1B employer makes certain inquiries and/or has certain information concerning that other employer's displacement of similarly employed U.S. workers in its workforce. Employers are cautioned that even if the required inquiry of the secondary employer is made, the H-1B-dependent or willful violator employer shall be subject to a finding of a violation of the secondary displacement prohibition if the secondary employer, in fact, displaces any U.S. worker(s) during the applicable time period (see §655.810(d)). The following standards and guidance apply under the secondary displacement prohibition:

655.738(d)(1)

(1) Which U.S. workers are protected against "secondary displacement"? This provision applies to U.S. workers employed by the other or "secondary" employer (not those employed by the H-1B employer) in jobs that are essentially equivalent to the jobs for which certain H-1B nonimmigrants are placed with the other/secondary employer (as described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section). The term "employed by the employer" is defined in §655.715.

655.738(d)(2)

(2) Which H-1B nonimmigrants activate the secondary displacement prohibition? Not every placement of an H-1B nonimmigrant with another employer will activate the prohibition and--depending upon the particular facts--an H-1B employer (such as a service provider) may be able to place H-1B nonimmigrant(s) at a client or customer's worksite without being subject to the prohibition. The prohibition applies to the placement of an H-1B nonimmigrant whose H-1B petition is supported by an LCA described in §655.736(g) and whose placement with the other/secondary employer meets both of the following criteria:

(i) The nonimmigrant performs duties in whole or in part at one or more worksites owned, operated, or controlled by the other/secondary employer; and

(ii) There are indicia of an employment relationship between the nonimmigrant and the other/secondary employer. The relationship between the H-1B-nonimmigrant and the other/secondary need not constitute an "employment" relationship (as defined in §655.715), and the applicability of the secondary displacement provision does not establish such a relationship. Relevant indicia of an employment relationship include:

(A) The other/secondary employer has the right to control when, where, and how the nonimmigrant performs the job (the presence of this indicia would suggest that the relationship between the nonimmigrant and the other/secondary employer approaches the relationship which triggers the secondary displacement provision);

(B) The other/secondary employer furnishes the tools, materials, and equipment;

(C) The work is performed on the premises of the other/secondary employer (this indicia alone would not trigger the secondary displacement provision);

(D) There is a continuing relationship between the nonimmigrant and the other/secondary employer;

(E) The other/secondary employer has the right to assign additional projects to the nonimmigrant;

(F) The other/secondary employer sets the hours of work and the duration of the job;

(G) The work performed by the nonimmigrant is part of the regular business (including governmental, educational, and non-profit operations) of the other/secondary employer;

(H) The other/secondary employer is itself in business; and

(I) The other/secondary employer can discharge the nonimmigrant from providing services.

655.738(d)(3)

(3) What other/secondary employers are included in the prohibition on secondary displacement of U.S. workers by the H-1B employer? The other/secondary employer who accepts the placement and/or services of the H-1B employer's nonimmigrant employee(s) need not be an H-1B employer. The other/secondary employer would often be (but is not limited to) the client or customer of an H-1B employer that is a staffing firm or a service provider which offers the services of H-1B nonimmigrants under a contract (e.g., a medical staffing firm under contract with a nursing home provides H-1B nonimmigrant physical therapists; an information technology staffing firm under contract with a bank provides H-1B nonimmigrant computer engineers). Only the H-1B employer placing the nonimmigrant with the secondary employer is subject to the non-displacement obligation on the LCA, and only that employer is liable in an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part if the other/secondary employer, in fact, displaces any of its U.S. worker(s) during the applicable time period. The other/secondary employer will not be subject to sanctions in an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part (except in circumstances where such other/secondary employer is, in fact, an H-1B employer and is found to have failed to comply with its own obligations). (Note to paragraph (d)(3): Where the other/secondary employer's relationship to the H-1B nonimmigrant constitutes "employment" for purposes of a statute other than the H-1B provision of the INA, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.), the other/secondary employer would be subject to all obligations of an employer of the nonimmigrant under such other statute.)

655.738(d)(4)

(4) When does the "secondary displacement" prohibition apply? The H-1B employer's obligation of inquiry concerns the actions of the other/secondary employer during the specific period beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after the date of the placement of the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) with such other/secondary employer.

655.738(d)(5)

(5) What are the H-1B employer's obligations concerning inquiry and/or information as to the other/secondary employer's displacement of U.S. workers? The H-1B employer is prohibited from placing the H-1B nonimmigrant with another employer, unless the H-1B employer has inquired of the other/secondary employer as to whether, and has no knowledge that, within the period beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after the date of such placement, the other/secondary employer has displaced or intends to displace a similarly-employed U.S. worker employed by such other/secondary employer. The following standards and guidance apply to the H-1B employer's obligation:

(i) The H-1B employer is required to exercise due diligence and to make a reasonable effort to enquire about potential secondary displacement, through methods which may include (but are not limited to)--

(A) Securing and retaining a written assurance from the other/secondary employer that it has not and does not intend to displace a similarly-employed U.S. worker within the prescribed period;

(B) Preparing and retaining a memorandum to the file, prepared at the same time or promptly after receiving the other/secondary employer's oral statement that it has not and does not intend to displace a similarly-employed U.S. worker within the prescribed period (such memorandum shall include the substance of the conversation, the date of the communication, and the names of the individuals who participated in the conversation, including the person(s) who made the inquiry on behalf of the H-1B employer and made the statement on behalf of the other/secondary employer); or

(C) including a secondary displacement clause in the contract between the H-1B employer and the other/secondary employer, whereby the other/secondary employer would agree that it has not and will not displace similarly-employed U.S. workers within the prescribed period.

(ii) The employer's exercise of due diligence may require further, more particularized inquiry of the other/secondary employer in circumstances where there is information which indicates that U.S. worker(s) have been or will be displaced (e.g., where the H-1B nonimmigrants will be performing functions that the other/secondary employer performed with its own workforce in the past). The employer is not permitted to disregard information which would provide knowledge about potential secondary displacement (e.g., newspaper reports of relevant lay-offs by the other/secondary employer) if such information becomes available before the H-1B employer's placement of H-1B nonimmigrants with such employer. Under such circumstances, the H-1B employer would be expected to recontact the other/secondary employer and receive credible assurances that no lay-offs of similarly-employed U.S. workers are planned or have occurred within the prescribed period.

655.738(e)

(e) What documentation is required of H-1B employers concerning the non-displacement obligation? The H-1B employer is responsible for demonstrating its compliance with the non-displacement obligation (whether direct or indirect), if applicable.

655.738(e)(1)

(1) Concerning direct displacement (as described in paragraph (c) of this section), the employer is required to retain all records the employer creates or receives concerning the circumstances under which each U.S. worker, in the same locality and same occupation as any H-1B nonimmigrant(s) hired, left its employ in the period from 90 days before to 90 days after the filing date of the employer's petition for the H-1B nonimmigrant(s), and for any such U.S. worker(s) for whom the employer has taken any action during the period from 90 days before to 90 days after the filing date of the H-1B petition to cause the U.S. worker's termination (e.g., a notice of future termination of the employee's job). For all such employees, the H-1B employer shall retain at least the following documents: the employee's name, last-known mailing address, occupational title and job description; any documentation concerning the employee's experience and qualifications, and principal assignments; all documents concerning the departure of such employees, such as notification by the employer of termination of employment prepared by the employer or the employee and any responses thereto, and evaluations of the employee's job performance. Finally, the employer is required to maintain a record of the terms of any offers of similar employment to such U.S. workers and the employee's response thereto.

655.738(e)(2)

(2) Concerning secondary displacement (as described in paragraph (d) of this section), the H-1B employer is required to maintain documentation to show the manner in which it satisfied its obligation to make inquiries as to the displacement of U.S. workers by the other/secondary employer with which the H-1B employer places any H-1B nonimmigrants (as described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section).

655.739

§ 655.739 What is the "recruitment of U.S. workers" obligation that applies to H-1B-dependent employers and willful violators, and how does it operate?

An employer that is subject to this additional attestation obligation (under the standards described in §655.736) is required--prior to filing the LCA or any petition or request for extension of status supported by the LCA--to take good faith steps to recruit U. S. workers in the United States for the job(s) in the United States for which the H-1B nonimmigrant(s) is/are sought. The recruitment shall use procedures that meet industry-wide standards and offer compensation that is at least as great as the required wage to be paid to H-1B nonimmigrants pursuant to §655.731(a) (i.e., the higher of the local prevailing wage or the employer's actual wage). The employer may use legitimate selection criteria relevant to the job that are normal or customary to the type of job involved, so long as such criteria are not applied in a discriminatory manner. This section provides guidance for the employer's compliance with the recruitment obligation.

655.739(a)

(a) "United States worker" ("U.S. worker") is defined in §655.715.

655.739(b)

(b) "Industry," for purposes of this section, means the set of employers which primarily compete for the same types of workers as those who are the subjects of the H-1B petitions to be filed pursuant to the LCA. Thus, a hospital, university, or computer software development firm is to use the recruitment standards utilized by the health care, academic, or information technology industries, respectively, in hiring workers in the occupations in question. Similarly, a staffing firm, which places its workers at job sites of other employers, is to use the recruitment standards of the industry which primarily employs such workers (e.g., the health care industry, if the staffing firm is placing physical therapists (whether in hospitals, nursing homes, or private homes); the information technology industry, if the staffing firm is placing computer programmers, software engineers, or other such workers).

655.739(c)

(c) "Recruitment," for purposes of this section, means the process by which an employer seeks to contact or to attract the attention of person(s) who may apply for employment, solicits applications from person(s) for employment, receives applications, and reviews and considers applications so as to present the appropriate candidates to the official(s) who make(s) the hiring decision(s) (i.e., pre-selection treatment of applications and applicants).

655.739(d)

(d) "Solicitation methods," for purposes of this section, means the techniques by which an employer seeks to contact or to attract the attention of potential applicants for employment, and to solicit applications from person(s) for employment.

(1) Solicitation methods may be either external or internal to the employer's workforce (with internal solicitation to include current and former employees).

(2) Solicitation methods may be either active (where an employer takes positive, proactive steps to identify potential applicants and to get information about its job openings into the hands of such person(s)) or passive (where potential applicants find their way to an employer's job announcements).

(i) Active solicitation methods include direct communication to incumbent workers in the employer's operation and to workers previously employed in the employer's operation and elsewhere in the industry; providing training to incumbent workers in the employer's organization; contact and outreach through collective bargaining organizations, trade associations and professional associations; participation in job fairs (including at minority-serving institutions, community/junior colleges, and vocational/technical colleges); use of placement services of colleges, universities, community/junior colleges, and business/trade schools; use of public and/or private employment agencies, referral agencies, or recruitment agencies ("headhunters").

(ii) Passive solicitation methods include advertising in general distribution publications, trade or professional journals, or special interest publications (e.g., student-oriented; targeted to underrepresented groups, including minorities, persons with disabilities, and residents of rural areas); America's Job Bank or other Internet sites advertising job vacancies; notices at the employer's worksite(s) and/or on the employer's Internet "home page."

655.739(e)

(e) How are "industry-wide standards for recruitment" to be identified? An employer is not required to utilize any particular number or type of recruitment methods, and may make a determination of the standards for the industry through methods such as trade organization surveys, studies by consultative groups, or reports/statements from trade organizations. An employer which makes such a determination should be prepared to demonstrate the industry-wide standards in the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part. An employer's recruitment shall be at a level and through methods and media which are normal, common or prevailing in the industry, including those strategies that have been shown to be successfully used by employers in the industry to recruit U.S. workers. An employer may not utilize only the lowest common denominator of recruitment methods used in the industry, or only methods which could reasonably be expected to be likely to yield few or no U.S. worker applicants, even if such unsuccessful recruitment methods are commonly used by employers in the industry. An employer's recruitment methods shall include, at a minimum, the following:

(1) Both internal and external recruitment (i.e., both within the employer's workforce (former as well as current workers) and among U.S. workers elsewhere in the economy); and

(2) At least some active recruitment, whether internal (e.g., training the employer's U.S. worker(s) for the position(s)) or external (e.g., use of recruitment agencies or college placement services).

655.739(f)

(f) How are "legitimate selection criteria relevant to the job that are normal or customary to the type of job involved" to be identified? In conducting recruitment of U.S. workers (i.e., in soliciting applications and in pre-selection screening or considering of applicants), an employer shall apply selection criteria which satisfy all of the following three standards (i.e., paragraph (b) (1) through (3)). Under these standards, an employer would not apply spurious criteria that discriminate against U.S. worker applicants in favor of H-1B nonimmigrants. An employer that uses criteria which fail to meet these standards would be considered to have failed to conduct its recruitment of U.S. workers in good faith.

(1) Legitimate criteria, meaning criteria which are legally cognizable and not violative of any applicable laws (e.g., employer may not use age, sex, race or national origin as selection criteria);.

(2) Relevant to the job, meaning criteria which have a nexus to the job's duties and responsibilities; and

(3) Normal and customary to the type of job involved, meaning criteria which would be necessary or appropriate based on the practices and expectations of the industry, rather than on the preferences of the particular employer.

655.739(g)

(g) What actions would constitute a prohibited "discriminatory manner" of recruitment? The employer shall not apply otherwise-legitimate screening criteria in a manner which would skew the recruitment process in favor of H-1B nonimmigrants. In other words, the employer's application of its screening criteria shall provide full and fair solicitation and consideration of U.S. applicants. The recruitment would be considered to be conducted in a discriminatory manner if the employer applied its screening criteria in a disparate manner (whether between H-1B and U.S. workers, or between jobs where H-1B nonimmigrants are involved and jobs where such workers are not involved). The employer would also be considered to be recruiting in a discriminatory manner if it used screening criteria that are prohibited by any applicable discrimination law (e.g., sex, race, age, national origin). The employer that conducts recruitment in a discriminatory manner would be considered to have failed to conduct its recruitment of U.S. workers in good faith.

655.739(h)

(h) What constitute "good faith steps" in recruitment of U.S. workers? The employer shall perform its recruitment, as described in paragraphs (d) through (g) of this section, so as to offer fair opportunities for employment to U.S. workers, without skewing the recruitment process against U.S. workers or in favor of H-1B nonimmigrants. No specific regimen is required for solicitation methods seeking applicants or for pre-selection treatment screening applicants. The employer's recruitment process, including pre-selection treatment, must assure that U.S. workers are given a fair chance for consideration for a job, rather than being ignored or rejected through a process that serves the employer's preferences with respect to the make up of its workforce (e.g., the Department would look with disfavor on a practice of interviewing H-1B applicants but not U.S. applicants, or a practice of screening the applications of H-1B nonimmigrants differently from the applications of U.S. workers). The employer shall not exercise a preference for its incumbent nonimmigrant workers who do not yet have H-1B status (e.g., workers on student visas). The employer shall recruit in the United States, seeking U.S. worker(s), for the job(s) in the United States for which H-1B nonimmigrant(s) are or will be sought.

655.739(i)

(i) What documentation is the employer required to make or maintain, concerning its recruitment of U.S. workers?

(1) The employer shall maintain documentation of the recruiting methods used, including the places and dates of the advertisements and postings or other recruitment methods used, the content of the advertisements and postings, and the compensation terms (if such are not included in the content of the advertisements and postings). The documentation may be in any form, including copies of advertisements or proofs from the publisher, the order or confirmation from the publisher, an electronic or printed copy of the Internet posting, or a memorandum to the file.

(2) The employer shall retain any documentation it has received or prepared concerning the treatment of applicants, such as copies of applications and/or related documents, test papers, rating forms, records regarding interviews, and records of job offers and applicants' responses. To comply with this requirement, the employer is not required to create any documentation it would not otherwise create.

(3) The documentation maintained by the employer shall be made available to the Administrator in the event of an enforcement action pursuant to subpart I of this part. The documentation shall be maintained for the period of time specified in §655.760.

(4) The employer's public access file maintained in accordance with §655.760 shall contain information summarizing the principal recruitment methods used and the time frame(s) in which such recruitment methods were used. This may be accomplished either through a memorandum or through copies of pertinent documents.

655.739(j)

(j) In addition to conducting good faith recruitment of U.S. workers (as described in paragraphs (a) through (h) of this section), the employer is required to have offered the job to any U.S. worker who applies and is equally or better qualified for the job than the H-1B nonimmigrant (see 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(G)(i)(II)); this requirement is enforced by the Department of Justice (see 8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(5); 20 CFR 655.705(c)).

655.740

§ 655.740 What actions are taken on labor condition applications?

655.740(a)

(a) Actions on labor condition applications submitted for filing. Once a labor condition application has been received from an employer, a determination shall be made by the ETA Certifying Officer whether to certify the labor condition application or return it to the employer not certified.

655.740(a)(1)

(1) Certification of labor condition application. Where all items on Form ETA 9035 or Form ETA 9035E have been completed, the form is not obviously inaccurate, and in the case of Form ETA 9035, it contains the signature of the employer or its authorized agent or representative, the Certifying Officer shall certify the labor condition application unless it falls within one of the categories set forth in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. The Certifying Officer shall make a determination to certify or not certify the labor condition application within 7 working days of the date the application is received and date-stamped by the Department. If the labor condition application is certified, the Certifying Officer shall return a certified copy of the labor condition application to the employer or the employer's authorized agent or representative. The employer shall file the certified labor condition application with the appropriate DHS office in the manner prescribed by DHS. The DHS shall determine whether each occupational classification named in the certified labor condition application is a specialty occupation or is a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.

655.740(a)(2)

(2) Determinations not to certify labor condition applications. ETA shall not certify a labor condition application and shall return such application to the employer or the employer's authorized agent or representative, when either or both of the following two conditions exists:

(i) When the Form ETA 9035 or 9035E is not properly completed. Examples of a Form ETA 9035 or 9035E which is not properly completed include instances where the employer has failed to check all the necessary boxes; or where the employer has failed to state the occupational classification, number of nonimmigrants sought, wage rate, period of intended employment, place of intended employment, or prevailing wage and its source; or, in the case of Form ETA 9035, where the application does not contain the signature of the employer or the employer's authorized representative.

(ii) When the Form ETA 9035 or ETA 9035E contains obvious inaccuracies. An obvious inaccuracy will be found if the employer files an application in error - e.g., where the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, after notice and opportunity for a hearing pursuant to subpart I of this part, has notified ETA in writing that the employer has been disqualified from employing H-1B nonimmigrants under section 212(n)(2) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)) or from employing H-1B1 or E-3 nonimmigrants under section 212(t)(3) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(t)(3)). Examples of other obvious inaccuracies include stating a wage rate below the FLSA minimum wage, submitting an LCA earlier than six months before the beginning date of the period of intended employment, identifying multiple occupations on a single LCA, identifying a wage which is below the prevailing wage listed on the LCA, or identifying a wage range where the bottom of such wage range is lower than the prevailing wage listed on the LCA.

655.740(a)(3)

(3) Correction and resubmission of labor condition application. If the labor condition application is not certified pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) (i) or (ii) of this section, ETA shall return it to the employer, or the employer's authorized agent or representative, explaining the reasons for such return without certification. The employer may immediately submit a corrected application to ETA. A "resubmitted" or "corrected" labor condition application shall be treated as a new application by ETA (i.e., on a "first come, first served" basis) except that if the labor condition application is not certified pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section because of notification by the Administrator of the employer's disqualification, such action shall be the final decision of the Secretary and no application shall be resubmitted by the employer.

655.740(b)

(b) Challenges to labor condition applications. ETA shall not consider information contesting a labor condition application received by ETA prior to the determination on the application. Such information shall not be made part of ETA's administrative record on the application, but shall be referred to ESA to be processed as a complaint pursuant to subpart I of this part, and, if such application is certified by ETA, the complaint will be handled by ESA under subpart I of this part.

655.740(c)

(c) Truthfulness and adequacy of information. DOL is not the guarantor of the accuracy, truthfulness or adequacy of a certified labor condition application. The burden of proof is on the employer to establish the truthfulness of the information contained on the labor condition application.

655.750

§ 655.750 What is the validity period of the labor condition application?

655.750(a)

(a) Validity of certified labor condition applications. A labor condition application (LCA) certified under § 655.740 is valid for the period of employment indicated by the authorized DOL official on Form ETA 9035E or ETA 9035. The validity period of an LCA will not begin before the application is certified. If the approved LCA is the initial LCA issued for the nonimmigrant, the period of authorized employment must not exceed 3 years for an LCA issued on behalf of an H-1B or H-1B1 nonimmigrant and must not exceed 2 years for an LCA issued on behalf of an E-3 nonimmigrant. If the approved LCA is for an extension of an H-1B1 it must not exceed two years. The period of authorized employment in the aggregate is based on the first date of employment and ends:

655.750(a)(1)

(1) In the case of an H-1B or initial H-1B1 LCA, on the latest date indicated or three years after the employment start date under the LCA, whichever comes first; or

655.750(a)(2)

(2) In the case of an E-3 or an H-1B1 extension LCA, on the latest date indicated or two years after the employment start date under the LCA, whichever comes first.

655.750(b)

(b) Withdrawal of certified labor condition applications.

655.750(b)(1)

(1) An employer who has filed a labor condition application which has been certified pursuant to §655.740 of this part may withdraw such labor condition application at any time before the expiration of the validity period of the application, provided that:

(i) H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants are not employed at the place of employment pursuant to the labor condition application; and

(ii) The Administrator has not commenced an investigation of the particular application. Any such request for withdrawal shall be null and void; and the employer shall remain bound by the labor condition application until the enforcement proceeding is completed, at which time the application may be withdrawn.

655.750(b)(2)

(2) Requests for withdrawals must be in writing and must be sent to ETA, Office of Foreign Labor Certification. ETA will publish the mailing address, and any future mailing address changes, in the Federal Register, and will also post the address on the DOL Web site at http:// www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/.

655.750(b)(3)

(3) An employer shall comply with the "required wage rate" and "prevailing working conditions" statements of its labor condition application required under §§655.731 and 655.732 of this part, respectively, even if such application is withdrawn, at any time H-1B nonimmigrants are employed pursuant to the application, unless the application is superseded by a subsequent application which is certified by ETA.

655.750(b)(4)

(4) An employer's obligation to comply with the "no strike or lockout" and "notice" statements of its labor condition application (required under §§655.733 and 655.734 of this part, respectively), shall remain in effect and the employer shall remain subject to investigation and sanctions for misrepresentation on these statements even if such application is withdrawn, regardless of whether H-1B nonimmigrants are actually employed, unless the application is superseded by a subsequent application which is certified by ETA.

655.750(b)(5)

(5) Only for the purpose of assuring the labor standards protections afforded under the H-1B program, where an employer files a petition with DHS under the H-1B classification pursuant to a certified LCA that had been withdrawn by the employer, such petition filing binds the employer to all obligations under the withdrawn LCA immediately upon receipt of such petition by DHS.

655.750(c)

(c) Invalidation or suspension of a labor condition application.

655.750(c)(1)

(1) Invalidation of a labor condition application shall result from enforcement action(s) by the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, under subpart I of this part--e.g., a final determination finding the employer's failure to meet the application's condition regarding strike or lockout; or the employer's willful failure to meet the wage and working conditions provisions of the application; or the employer's substantial failure to meet the notice of specification requirements of the application; see §§655.734 and 655.760 of this part; or the misrepresentation of a material fact in an application. Upon notice by the Administrator of the employer's disqualification, ETA shall invalidate the application and notify the employer, or the employer's authorized agent or representative. ETA shall notify the employer in writing of the reason(s) that the application is invalidated. When a labor condition application is invalidated, such action shall be the final decision of the Secretary.

655.750(c)(2)

(2) Suspension of a labor condition application may result from a discovery by ETA that it made an error in certifying the application because such application is incomplete, contains one or more obvious inaccuracies, or has not been signed. In such event, ETA shall immediately notify DHS and the employer. When an application is suspended, the employer may immediately submit to the certifying officer a corrected or completed application. If ETA does not receive a corrected application within 30 days of the suspension, or if the employer was disqualified by the Administrator, the application shall be immediately invalidated as described in paragraph (c) of this section.

655.750(c)(3)

(3) An employer shall comply with the "required wages rate" and "prevailing working conditions" statements of its labor condition application required under §§655.731 and 655.732 of this part, respectively, even if such application is suspended or invalidated, at any time H-1B nonimmigrants are employed pursuant to the application, unless the application is superseded by a subsequent application which is certified by ETA.

655.750(c)(4)

(4) An employer's obligation to comply with the "no strike or lockout" and "notice" statements of its labor condition application (required under §§655.733 and 655.734 of this part, respectively), shall remain in effect and the employer shall remain subject to investigation and sanctions for misrepresentation on these statements even if such application is suspended or invalidated, regardless of whether H-1B nonimmigrants are actually employed, unless the application is superseded by a subsequent application which is certified by ETA.

655.750(d)

(d) Employers subject to disqualification. No labor condition application shall be certified for an employer which has been found to be disqualified from participation, in the H-1B program as determined in a final agency action following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division pursuant to subpart I of this part.

655.760

§ 655.760 What records are to be made available to the public, and what records are to be retained?

Paragraphs (a)(1) thru (a)(6) and paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section also apply to the H-1B1 and E-3 visa categories.

655.760(a)

(a) Public examination. The employer shall make a filed labor condition application and necessary supporting documentation available for public examination at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment within one working day after the date on which the labor condition application is filed with DOL. The following documentation shall be necessary:

655.760(a)(1)

(1) A copy of the certified labor condition application (Form ETA 9035E or Form ETA 9035) and cover pages (Form ETA 9035CP). If the Form ETA 9035E is submitted electronically, a printout of the certified application shall be signed by the employer and maintained in its files and included in the public examination file.

655.760(a)(2)

(2) Documentation which provides the wage rate to be paid the H-1B nonimmigrant;

655.760(a)(3)

(3) A full, clear explanation of the system that the employer used to set the "actual wage" the employer has paid or will pay workers in the occupation for which the H-1B nonimmigrant is sought, including any periodic increases which the system may provide--e.g., memorandum summarizing the system or a copy of the employer's pay system or scale (payroll records are not required, although they shall be made available to the Department in an enforcement action).

655.760(a)(4)

(4) A copy of the documentation the employer used to establish the "prevailing wage" for the occupation for which the H-1B nonimmigrant is sought (a general description of the source and methodology is all that is required to be made available for public examination; the underlying individual wage data relied upon to determine the prevailing wage is not a public record, although it shall be made available to the Department in an enforcement action); and

655.760(a)(5)

(5) A copy of the document(s) with which the employer has satisfied the union/employee notification requirements of §655.734 of this part.

655.760(a)(6)

(6) A summary of the benefits offered to U.S. workers in the same occupational classifications as H-1B nonimmigrants, a statement as to how any differentiation in benefits is made where not all employees are offered or receive the same benefits (such summary need not include proprietary information such as the costs of the benefits to the employer, or the details of stock options or incentive distributions), and/or, where applicable, a statement that some/all H-1B nonimmigrants are receiving "home country" benefits (see §655.731(c)(3));

655.760(a)(7)

(7) Where the employer undergoes a change in corporate structure, a sworn statement by a responsible official of the new employing entity that it accepts all obligations, liabilities and undertakings under the LCAs filed by the predecessor employing entity, together with a list of each affected LCA and its date of certification, and a description of the actual wage system and FEIN of the new employing entity (see §655.730(e)(1)).

655.760(a)(8)

(8) Where the employer utilizes the definition of "single employer"in the IRC, a list of any entities included as part of the single employer in making the determination as to its H-1B-dependency status (see §655.736(d)(7));

655.760(a)(9)

(9) Where the employer is H-1B-dependent and/or a willful violator, and indicates on the LCA(s) that only "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed, a list of such "exempt" H-1B nonimmigrants (see §655.737(e)(1));

655.760(a)(10)

(10) Where the employer is H-1B-dependent or a willful violator, a summary of the recruitment methods used and the time frames of recruitment of U.S. workers (or copies of pertinent documents showing this information) (see §655.739(i)(4).

655.760(b)

(b) National lists of applications and attestations. ETA shall compile and maintain on a current basis a list of the labor condition applications filed under INA section 212(n) regarding H-1B nonimmigrants and a list of labor attestations filed under INA section 212(t) regarding H-1B1 nonimmigrants. Each list shall be by employer, showing the occupational classification, wage rate(s), number of nonimmigrants sought, period(s) of intended employment, and date(s) of need for each employer's application. The list shall be available for public examination at the Office of Foreign Labor Certification, Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room C-4312, Washington, DC 20210.

655.760(c)

(c) Retention of records. Either at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment, the employer shall retain copies of the records required by this subpart for a period of one year beyond the last date on which any H-1B nonimmigrant is employed under the labor condition application or, if no nonimmigrants were employed under the labor condition application, one year from the date the labor condition application expired or was withdrawn. Required payroll records for the H-1B employees and other employees in the occupational classification shall be retained at the employer's principal place of business in the U.S. or at the place of employment for a period of three years from the date(s) of the creation of the record(s), except that if an enforcement action is commenced, all payroll records shall be retained until the enforcement proceeding is completed through the procedures set forth in subpart I of this part.

 

 

 

Updates

This resource was last updated with:

Changes to prevailing wage determination processing , effective January 18, 2009.

Changes to E-3 LCA regulations , effective April 11, 2008.