The government will make permanent its changes to a visa program that brings foreign workers to the U.S. for temporary nonagricultural work.
The visa program is capped at 66,000 workers per year, and places workers mostly in landscaping, hospitality and other industries.
The changes include eliminating duplicative applications at the state and federal levels, requiring employers to attest—under the threat of fines and disbarment—that they are following all rules, and letting the government decide what workers should earn.
Employers will be prohibited from passing along the cost of the new proposals to their workers, and the Labor Department, for the first time, will be able to enforce terms and conditions of temporary foreigner employment and fine violators.
The final changes will be in the Federal Register on Friday and go into effect mid-January.
The Labor Department first made public its plans to change the H2-B visa rules in May.
Regulatory changes in the waning days of the Bush administration will make it harder for President-elect Barack Obama to change course on some policies favored by Republicans and businesses.