Petitions for Aliens To Perform Nonagricultural Temporary Services or Labor (H-2B): Withdrawal of Proposed Rule
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is withdrawing the proposed rule, Petitions for Aliens to Perform Nonagricultural Temporary Services or Labor (H-2B), published on January 27, 2005, in the Federal Register at 70 FR 3984. The rule proposed significant changes to USCIS' regulations that were designed to increase the effectiveness of the H-2B nonimmigrant visa classification while providing protections for U.S. workers. The H-2B nonimmigrant visa classification applies to foreign workers to perform nonagricultural temporary labor or services. The proposed rule would have established a one-step petition process for U.S. employers seeking H-2B temporary workers eliminating the need for U.S. employers to apply for a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL); required electronic filing of the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I- 129, within 60 days in advance of the requested employment start date; eliminated the use of agents as H-2B petitioners; and, established new management mechanisms allowing USCIS to maintain the integrity of the program. In light of the public's comments, USCIS is no longer moving forward with the proposed rule as designed and will publish a new proposed rule for public comments.
Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW), Elizabeth River, Southern Branch, Chesapeake, VA
The Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District, has issued a temporary deviation from the regulation governing the operation of the Gilmerton (U.S. 13/460) Lift Bridge, at AIWW mile 5.8, across the Elizabeth River (Southern Branch) in Chesapeake, VA. This deviation is necessary to facilitate structural repairs and allows the bridge to remain closed to navigation during the specified dates and times to facilitate structural repairs.
Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships
On April 29, 2008, we published a final rule entitled ``Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships'' (LRIT). In it we noted that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had not yet approved a collection of information, ``Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness via Electronic Transmission of Vessel Transit Data,'' associated with the LRIT rule. This document provides notice that on August 12, 2008, OMB approved the referenced collection of information associated with the LRIT final rule.
Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2B Nonimmigrants and Their Employers
The Department of Homeland Security is proposing to amend its regulations affecting temporary non-agricultural workers within the H- 2B nonimmigrant classification and their U.S. employers. This proposed rule would modify current limitations with respect to petitions for unnamed H-2B workers and the period of time that an H-2B worker must remain outside the United States before he or she would be eligible to seek certain nonimmigrant status again. In addition, to better ensure the integrity of the H-2B program, this rule proposes to: Require employer attestations; preclude the imposition of fees by employers on prospective H-2B workers; require reimbursement of fees paid by H-2B workers to recruiters; preclude the change of the employment start date after the grant of the temporary labor certification; eliminate the process whereby H-2B petitions may be approved notwithstanding the absence of a valid temporary labor certification; require employer notifications when H-2B workers fail to show up for work, are terminated, or abscond from the worksite; require certain H-2B workers departing the United States to participate in a temporary worker visa exit pilot program; delegate authority to enforce the terms of the H-2B petition to the Secretary of Labor (in the event the Department and the Department of Labor (DOL) work out a mutually agreeable delegation of enforcement authority from the Department to DOL); and bar nationals of countries consistently refusing or unreasonably delaying repatriation of their nationals from obtaining H-2B status. This rule also proposes to change the definition of ``temporary employment'' to recognize that such employment could last up to three years. This proposed rule would encourage and facilitate the lawful employment of eligible foreign temporary non-agricultural workers, while continuing to safeguard the rights of workers.
Special Anchorage Area “A”, Boston Harbor, MA
The Coast Guard proposes to increase the size of the Boston Inner Harbor Special Anchorage Area ``A'' at the entrance to Fort Point Channel in Boston Harbor, Boston, MA at the request of the Boston Harbormaster and the Boston Harbor Yacht Club. This action will provide additional anchorage space and provide a safe and secure anchorage for vessels of not more than 65 feet in length.
Regulated Navigation Area; Thea Foss and Wheeler-Osgood Waterway EPA Superfund Cleanup Site, Commencement Bay, Tacoma, WA
The Coast Guard proposes to create a permanent regulated navigation area on a portion of the Thea Foss and Wheeler-Osgood Waterways, Commencement Bay, Tacoma, Washington. This regulated navigation area would be used to preserve the integrity of a clean sediment cap placed over certain areas of the Thea Foss and Wheeler- Osgood Waterways as part of the remediation process of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Commencement Bay Nearshore/ Tideflats superfund cleanup site. This regulated navigation area would prohibit activities that would disturb the seabed, such as anchoring, dragging, trawling, spudding, or other activities that involve disrupting the integrity of the cap. It would not affect transit or navigation of the area.
National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee; Vacancies
The Coast Guard seeks applications for membership on the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee (NOSAC). NOSAC provides advice and makes recommendations to the Coast Guard on matters affecting the offshore industry.
Passenger Weight and Inspected Vessel Stability Requirements
The Coast Guard proposes to amend its regulations governing the stability of passenger vessels and the maximum number of passengers that may safely be permitted on board a vessel. The average American weighs significantly more than the assumed average weight per person utilized in current regulations, and the maximum number of persons permitted on a vessel is determined by several factors, including an assumed average weight for each passenger. Updating regulations to more accurately reflect today's average weight per person will maintain intended safety levels by taking this weight increase into account. The Coast Guard is also taking this opportunity to clarify and update intact stability and subdivision and damage stability regulations.