Summary: H.R.4548 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House with amendment(s) (10/17/2000)

Agricultural Opportunities Act - Title I: Agricultural Worker Registries - Directs the Secretary of Labor (Secretary) to establish a database system of U.S. worker and eligible alien agricultural worker registries to provide temporary and seasonal agricultural job opportunity and referral information. States that such registries may be established as part of the "America's Job Bank" and "America's Talent Bank" databases.

Bases registry coverage on job opportunities in a single State, except for the New England States which may be represented by a single registry.

Requires prospective employers of H-2C visa agricultural workers to first apply for registry workers before a petition to import H-2C workers may be approved.

Sets forth individual registrant requirements.

States that an agricultural worker may apply for registry inclusion in the State of his or her residency. Grants referral preference to U.S. workers, who may be referred for employment nationwide.

Directs the Attorney General to establish an employment eligibility verification system.

Provides for registry: (1) mandatory and voluntary removal; and (2) confidentiality.

Title II: H-2C Program - Sets forth registry application requirements for H-2C employers and employer associations, including assurances: (1) that the job opportunity is not the result of a labor dispute, and is temporary or seasonal; (2) respecting required wages and benefits, and compliance with labor laws; (3) respecting advertising in the registry and other labor market sources, and contact of former employees; and (4) respecting provision of workers compensation.

(Sec. 202) Provides that: (1) the Secretary, upon application approval, shall complete a registry search and notify an employer of available registered workers within seven days of the beginning work date; (2) if insufficient workers are available, the Secretary shall so notify an employer, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State; (3) an employer shall pay a user fee for each admitted alien worker; (4) an employer may apply directly to the Secretary of State for alien worker admissions if such worker referral has not been received within the seven-day period; and (5) an employer may file a request for redetermination of need.

(Sec. 204) Sets forth employment requirements with respect to: (1) wages; (2) housing; (3) transportation reimbursement; (4) obligation to employ U.S. workers; and (5) guaranteed number of work days.

(Sec. 205) Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish an alternative agricultural temporary worker program (H-2C visa) for admission of aliens who are outside the United States. Sets forth program provisions.

States that nothing in this title shall preclude the Secretary and the Attorney General from continuing to apply special procedures to alien employment in the range production of livestock.

Directs the Attorney General to establish an H-2C departure verification program.

.Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions - Directs the Secretary to establish a process to receive and enforce complaints against employers by aggrieved persons or third party organizations (including bargaining representatives). Sets forth related provisions respecting: (1) expedited investigation of housing, wage, and child labor violations; (2) written notice of findings and opportunity for appeal; (3) ability of alien workers to change employers; and (4) remedies (back wages, employer penalties and program disqualification).

Establishes the Commission on Housing Migrant Agricultural Workers which shall study the problem of in-season housing for migrant agricultural workers.

Directs the Secretaries of Labor, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services to conduct a study of migrant worker child care, including the relationship between such child care and child labor violations in agriculture.

Directs the Secretaries of Labor and Agriculture to conduct a study of agricultural field sanitation conditions.

Directs the Secretary to conduct a study of persistent and serious agricultural labor standards violations.

(Sec. 302) Authorizes and requests the Attorney General to establish bilateral commissions between the United States and each country having specified numbers of H-2C workers in the United States.

(Sec. 304) Directs the Secretary to establish registry user and alien employment user fee schedules and related collection processes.

(Sec. 305) States that additional funds for agricultural worker registry startup costs may be taken from amounts available to Federal or State entities under the Wagner-Peyser Act.

(Sec. 306) Sets forth reporting provisions.

(Sec. 308) Terminates this Act three years after its effective date.