The Department of Labor recently announced that it is conducting a nationwide initiative to ensure that landscaping companies comply with the H-2B temporary visa program‘s labor provisions.
As part of the initiative, DOL will provide compliance assistance tools and information to employers and other stakeholders, and will conduct investigations of employers using the program.
“Vigorous enforcement and compliance assistance go hand in hand,” a DOL spokesperson said in an email to Colorado Patio & Landscape.
DOL’s Wage and Hour Division found in 2017 that employers in industries that relied on the H-2B program owed more than $105 million in back wages to over 97,000 workers.
“The H-2B visa program includes specific requirements employers must follow to participate,” Bryan Jarrett, acting administrator for the Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement. “This initiative demonstrates our commitment to educate employers about those rules and enforce them to safeguard American jobs, protect guest workers and level the playing field for law-abiding employers.”
The agency noted that the landscaping industry employs more H-2B workers than any other industry. A key component of the program is that employers must recruit U.S. workers before applying for these temporary visas for guest workers.
[Related: Modernization of the Nursery Act passes]