IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 8, 2013
Mr. Merkley introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To increase the employment of Americans by requiring State workforce agencies to certify that employers are actively recruiting Americans and that Americans are not qualified or available to fill the positions that the employer wants to fill with H–2B nonimmigrants.
This Act may be cited as
American Jobs in American Forests
Act of 2013
In this Act:
The term forestry means—
propagating, protecting, and managing forest tracts;
felling trees and cutting them into logs;
using hand tools or operating heavy powered equipment to perform activities such as preparing sites for planting, tending crop trees, reducing competing vegetation, moving logs, piling brush, and yarding and trucking logs from the forest;
planting seedlings and trees; and
preventing, controlling and extinguishing fires.
The term H–2B nonimmigrant means a nonimmigrant described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) ).
Prospective H–2B employer
The term prospective H–2B employer means a United States business that is considering employing 1 or more nonimmigrants described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) ).
State workforce agency
Except as used in section 3, the term State workforce agency means the workforce agency of the State in which the prospective H–2B employer intends to employ H–2B nonimmigrants.
Department of Labor
As a component of the labor certification process required before H–2B nonimmigrants are offered forestry employment in the United States, the Secretary of Labor shall require all prospective H–2B employers, before they submit a petition to hire H–2B nonimmigrants to work in forestry, to conduct a robust effort to recruit United States workers, including—
advertising at employment or job-placement events, such as job fairs;
advertising with State or local workforce agencies, nonprofit organizations, or other appropriate entities, and working with such entities to identify potential employees;
advertising in appropriate media, including local radio stations and commonly used, reputable Internet job-search sites; and
such other recruitment strategies as the State workforce agency considers appropriate for the sector or positions for which H–2B nonimmigrants would be considered.
A prospective H–2B employer shall submit a separate petition for each State in which the employer plans to employ H–2B nonimmigrants in forestry for a period of 7 days or longer.
State workforce agencies
The Secretary of Labor may not grant a temporary labor certification to a prospective H–2B employer seeking to employ H–2B nonimmigrants in forestry until after the Director of the State workforce agency—
has formally consulted with the workforce agency director of each contiguous State listed on the prospective H–2B employer’s application and determined that—
the employer has complied with all recruitment requirements set forth in section 3 and there is a legitimate demand for the employment of H–2B nonimmigrants in each of those States; or
the employer has amended the application by removing or making appropriate modifications with respect to the States in which the criteria set forth in subparagraph (A) have not been met;
certifies that the prospective H–2B employer has complied with all recruitment requirements set forth in section 3 or any other applicable provision of law; and
makes a formal determination that nationals of the United States are not qualified or available to fill the employment opportunities offered by the prospective H–2B employer.