The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that, as of March 22, 2013, it has temporarily suspended the processing of new H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker visa petitions from employers. As a result, Thoroughbred trainers who rely on the H-2B program for staffing may be unable to hire new H-2B workers until further notice.

This action is a response to a Pennsylvania court order that barred the Department of Labor (DOL) from making any further “prevailing wage determinations” in certain situations including the petition process for trainers seeking to bring H-2B workers into the country.

The DOL says that it intends to issue a new emergency wage rule regarding prevailing wage determination requests within 30 days. In the interim, DOL will continue to process prevailing wage requests in other contexts not subject to the court order such as collective bargaining agreements.

Watch this space for an update on when H-2B petition processing may resume for trainers.