AILA Doc No. 99022559 | Dated February 16, 1999
February 16, 1999
Chairman Arlen Specter
Senate Labor, Health & Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Specter:
We are writing to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Senate Labor, Health & Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee to express our concerns about several Department of Labor (DOL) initiatives that will impact negatively on the various alien labor certification programs administered by the Department. These programs provide access to needed foreign-national workers where a shortage of American workers can be demonstrated, and are essential to keep U.S. companies globally competitive.
We believe that the initiatives noted below not only have the potential to weaken the program severely, but do little to address real areas of concern: a lack of adequate funding, problems in program administration, and long delays in which U.S. employers now must wait three to four years in many parts of the country before applications are processed.
We support user fees if they are reasonable, directly related to the actual costs of providing a requested benefit, and used exclusively for improvements in the processing of alien labor certification applications. We strongly oppose user fees if these funds are used for enforcement or for other initiatives outside of the direct purposes of the alien labor certification program.
While DOL has been focusing on the above proposals, they have not used other options open to them that would vastly improve the alien labor certification program. Such options include increasing the number of occupations designated as shortage occupations (known as schedule A occupations), expanding the use of streamlined processes based on pre-application recruitment, and recognizing current business practices in recruitment. We urge that these avenues be adopted, rather than the above initiatives.
Thank your for your attention to our concerns.
Jeanne A. Butterfield
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 99022559.