H-2B Basics: Getting Oriented

Key Points:

1.  The key to participating in the H-2B Program is to understand how it works.

2.  If you try to master the whole program at once, you will be overwhelmed.

3.  There are 5 key steps in the H-2B Program.  Learning them will give you a foundation for learning more.

The key to participating effectively in the H-2B Program is to understand it.  It is usually a mistake.  Even H-2B experts get lost in all of the details.  The first step is to take it slowly.

The H-2B Process has five stages.  Knowing these stages provides an organizing principle for understanding the whole H-2B program.  They are the skeleton.

Stage one:  Registration. 

The first stage is registering your temporary need with DOL.  The idea is that being registered will save DOL the trouble of evaluating whether your need for workers is temporary/seasonal.

The problem is that right now there is no registration process and we don't know when DOL will get around to implementing it.

Stage two: Obtain offered wage rate.

DOL will require you to offer a set wage and a number of working conditions to H-2B workers.  This is known as the "prevailing wage."  The document that tells you what you prevailing wage is a "PWD" or "prevailing wage determination."  To get your prevailing wage, you file a ETA Form 8141 or PWR or "prevailing wage request."

Stage three:  File H-2B Application and Job Order.

This is the most complex part of the H-2B process.  Most employers (and all intelligent ones) will hire an H-2B filing agent - a professional in filing these forms -- to prepare and file.  At H-2B University, we will spend much time and energy focusing on Stages two and three.

Stage four:  Conducting Recruitment of U.S. workers

You can't hire H-2B workers unless there is a shortage of qualified and available domestic workers.  DOL will tell you what you have to do to test the labor market and tell you how to report the results.  This stage is critical.

Stage five:  Completing the labor certification process

Once your recruitment is done, DOL specifies what you need to do.  Stage five is when you do it. 

The H-2B process in front of DOL has five stages.  Only four (stages 2-5) are effective today.  Being aware of these stages is the first step to gaining confidence with the H-2B Program.