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New York, New York - March 31, 2015

H-2B Visa Regulations
 
Now is time for the Department of Labor (DOL) to take bold action to reduce the chronic exploitation in the H-2B temporary visa program. Prompted by years of advocacy by Global Workers and many other organizations across the country, in 2012, the DOL issued new regulations to address many of the abuses documented by Global Workers and others. The reaction from the business community against these protections was swift and fierce. A few employers sued DOL claiming that it had no legal authority to regulate the H-2B program at all, which lead the court to temporarily enjoin or halt the implementation of the new regulations. Additionally, some businesses community members turned to Congress and successfully advocated for two years in a row to prohibit DOL from spending money on enforcing the new regulations.  
 
A few weeks ago, the court issued a permanent injunction saying DOL was not properly delegated the authority to run and regulate the H-2B visa.  This crisis, however, is our opportunity. DOL acting jointly with Department of Homeland Security, the agency designated by Congress to oversee the H-2B visa, must now act. By the end of April they will jointly promulgate new rules for the program. It is critical that DOL be bold and enacts the regulations it set forth in 2012. In uncanny timing, the Government Accountability Office just released a report highlighting the continuing rampant abuse in the program and the need for immediate change. Now is not the time for DOL to revert to the weaker 2008 rules that left workers vulnerable and exploited.
 
The 2012 regulations that should have taken effect after years of democratic consultation and process provide critical protections such as, disclosing to workers the terms of their employment before traveling to the United States (so they know what the employer has promised the government as opposed to only relying on the recruiter’s unverifiable promises), a wage guarantee of three fourths of the contract (after significant investment it is important that the workers are guaranteed some of the earnings), placing the obligation to pay visa fees on the employer, and barring employers from confiscating workers’ passports (a key anti-trafficking measure). 
 
Please join Global Workers and allies to tell the DOL to stand up to the businesses that want the foreign workers to be subject to exploitation and reissuing the 2012 H-2B regulations.  Call your Representatives and Senators to create the political support that DOL needs to be bold. In addition, please sign this Change.org petition
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