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Understanding the Implications of DOL's Ruling on H-2B Visa Program for Carnival Operators

The recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) against Midway West Amusements Inc. and Ace Amusements, as reported by Micah Danney in Law360, sheds light on the stringent enforcement of H-2B visa program rules and the consequences of non-compliance. This blog aims to dissect the case and its implications for employers seeking to hire foreign workers through the H-2B visa program, particularly in the context of traveling carnivals.

The Case Overview: DOL Judge's Decision

The DOL barred two traveling carnival companies, Midway West Amusements Inc. and Ace Amusements, from hiring foreign workers through the H-2B visa program. Administrative Law Judge Christopher Larsen, in his detailed 133-page decision, highlighted the companies' "wanton and brazen indifference" to the program's rules. This included failing to pay promised wages and not assigning designated roles under H-2B requirements.

Key Violations and the DOL's Response

The violations by these companies were brought to light following a police investigation in Ogden, Utah, and subsequent surveillance and investigation by the DOL's Wage and Hour Division. The DOL instructed the companies to pay back wages to certain workers, along with imposing civil monetary penalties for several violations.

The Legal Proceedings and Findings

During the seven-day hearing, the companies challenged the DOL's determinations. However, Judge Larsen criticized their evasive and uncooperative approach during the investigation. While he did not affirm the exact number of back wages calculated by the DOL, he instructed the agency to recalculate these in consultation with the companies.

Implications for H-2B Visa Program Participants

This case highlights the critical importance of compliance with H-2B visa program rules for employers. The "swift debarment" decision by Judge Larsen emphasizes the government's strict stance on non-compliance and the potential consequences for employers who fail to adhere to the program's regulations.

The Importance of Legal Compliance

For employers, especially those in the entertainment and traveling carnival sectors, understanding, and adhering to the H-2B visa program's rules is essential. This case serves as a reminder that non-compliance can lead to severe repercussions, including debarment from the program.


The case of Midway West Amusements Inc. and Ace Amusements serves as a critical lesson for employers in the importance of complying with the H-2B visa program's requirements. As an experienced immigration law firm, we understand the complexities of such cases and are committed to guiding our clients through the intricacies of immigration law, ensuring their operations remain within legal boundaries.


This blog is based on the article "DOL Judge Boots Carnival Operators From H-2B Program" by Micah Danney, published in Law360 on January 8, 2024.

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