Recent changes by the U.S. Department of Labor will make public certain information concerning their foreign national employees.
On July 1, 2013, in furtherance of the Department of Labor's Open Government Initiative, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (the "Office") implemented a new Labor Certification Registry. The registry provides the general public, for the first time, access to labor certification documents issued to employers in the H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, H-2A, H-2B and permanent labor certification programs. The publicly available information includes the employer's name and address, as well as the nonimmigrant employee's current city of residence, country of citizenship, class of immigration admission. It appears that interested parties can couple the job title and work location, and potentially match Foreign Labor Certification information to a specific nonimmigrant employee.
While the Office has rationalized implementing the new Labor Certification Registry by claiming it provides an additional level of transparency to the employment of nonimmigrant workers in the United States, the new public disclosure is not without concern. A potential problem with the public disclosure of this information is the ability of nonimmigrants to discover wage variations among those applying for multiple job openings in the same position, when two or more Foreign Labor Certifications are filed.
Because the Office's publication of this information will result in the disclosure of information that was previously considered private, the Office claims it has taken steps to ensure confidential and privileged information is redacted from the public disclosures, including Federal Employer Identification Numbers, revenue reported by employers, and the name, address and class of admission of foreign workers. We will watch closely whether these safeguards will in fact protect sensitive information from disclosure.
Public access to the Labor Certification Registry will be available through the iCERT Visa Portal System here. For the full text of the Notice, click here.