Contact your senator, and get worker visa cap relief today!
This fall, the Senate continues to work on funding bills for FY2018 and put together a package which it must negotiate with the House of Representatives. Current activity in the Senate has created a unique opportunity for AHC members to advocate for adoption of measures that will provide H-2B cap relief for America’s labor-strapped, seasonal businesses.
Please contact your senators today and urge them to support any provision that will provide H-2B visa cap relief within the context of FY2018 appropriations bills.
As members of Congress return to their home states to visit constituents through Labor Day, the American Horse Council urges members to advocate for legislative solutions to the federal government’s beleaguered temporary worker visa program. To fix the regulatory chaos that plagues the H-2B application process, tell your elected officials – whether during a town hall meeting or visit to the local farmers’ market – to support the important measures below. In the event you don’t see your elected officials this summer, you can contact their D.C. offices at 202-225-3121, where staff members will note your concerns and brief your representatives when they return in the fall.
Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations
For immediate relief, tell lawmakers to support H-2B cap and regulatory flexibility through the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations process. Congress is considering language in the current spending bill that will force agencies to manage the visa program in an efficient manner for at least one year. With the current fiscal year ending September 30, Congress must address funding immediately after Labor Day. For long-term fixes to the broken system, see the measures below:
Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017 (S. 792)
This bipartisan bill would establish clear guidelines for employers hiring H-2B workers, assuring that U.S. citizens are not displaced in the job market;
Provide cap relief by establishing a common sense exemption for well-vetted workers who have already held a visa during the previous three years;
And require increased coordination between the Departments of Labor (DHS) and Homeland Security (DHS) to reduce red tape and delays.
Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now Act of 2017 (SEASON) (H.R. 2004)
Similar to the Senate bill, this legislation would expand exemptions for workers who have previously been vetted by immigration officials, thereby increasing cap relief.
Establish expedited processing of applications to meet labor demands during peak seasons.
And exempt temporary visa holders from tax credits otherwise available to full-time U.S. residents, thereby reducing costs to taxpayers.
In mid-January, the government hit the 33,000 visa cap for the first half of the year. In March, the agency met its 33,000 visa allocation for the second half of 2017, leaving many small businesses who rely on seasonal labor without workers for the summer months. Although DHS issued an additional 15,000 visas on July 17, the agency issued those visas on an ad hoc, discretionary basis, undermining common sense business planning. The July decision will also create limited benefits for small businesses relying on summertime help.
For more information on immigration and related legislation and federal actions, please contact Bryan Brendle, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at 202-296-4031 or email@example.com.
The AHC is pleased to announce the topics and speakers for its 3rd Quarter webinar, which will take place Monday, August 21st at 3:00 pm ET.
“Cantering Towards a Worker Shortage?” will be the focus of the webinar, and will feature speakers on both H2A and H2B visas, as well as insight from a trainer deeply involved in the thoroughbred racing industry and why the H2B visa are so important to him and his operation.
Horse industry employers have for many years found it difficult to recruit American workers to fill jobs. For this reason, American immigration policy has been a major concern of the horse industry and the AHC has worked to ensure the H-2B non-agricultural and H-2A agricultural temporary foreign worker programs are a viable option for the industry. The AHC felt it was important to provide more insight as to why the industry relies on these visas.
Eclipse Award winning trainer Dale Romans of Romans Racing will lead off the webinar and provide insight as to why the H2B program is so important to the well-being of his business, the thoroughbred racing industry and the equine industry as whole. A licensed trainer since age 18, Mr. Romans began working in his father’s stable (renowned trainer Jerry Romans) from the time he could walk. Dale is an active advocate for the sport serving/having served in volunteer leadership positions of various industry organizations, including the Kentucky HBPA; Churchill Backside Health & Welfare Fund; Churchill Downs Racing Committee; and the Gulfstream Park Racing Committee.
Glen M. Krebs of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP of Lexington, KY, will focus on the industry’s use of H2A Visas. Mr. Krebs is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Service Team, and concentrates his practice in International and Immigration law. Mr. Krebs has spoken extensively on the subject of Immigration Law and was contributing author to “Legal Aspects of Horse Farm Operations” (4th ed. 2014), University of Kentucky College of Law, Office of Continuing Legal Education.
Lisa L. Galliath of LLG Attorney at Law will speak on the industry’s use of the H2B Visa. Ms. Galliath assists individuals, professionals, and businesses with U.S. immigration issues and question, as well as specializing in representing equestrian professionals in all disciplines. She has extensive experience and knowledge of the equine industry, and her firm provides legal services to many clients based in equestrian centers in Florida and California.
The webinar is open to both AHC members and non-members—we encourage everyone to attend! To register for the webinar, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Furst at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to having you join us for our third quarter webinar!
U.S. businesses will be able to hire up to 15,000 additional temporary nonagricultural workers under the H-2B program following a final rule that the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor submitted to the Federal Register this week. To qualify for the additional visas, petitioners must attest, under penalty of perjury, that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm if it cannot employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers during fiscal year (FY) 2017. It was determined there are not enough qualified and willing U.S. workers are available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses in FY 2017.
Congress gave Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly the discretionary authority to address the lack of available temporary workers and provide this one-time increase to the congressionally set annual cap. H-2B visas are used for temporary, non-agriculture workers at a variety of businesses, including racetrack grooms and handlers. The government offers 66,000 such visas a year, with the 2017 cap having been met within the first 30 days of open enrollment. This left many organizations without access to the critical labor pool provided by the H-2B program.
Starting this week, eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can fileForm I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA with their petition. A new tip line to report general H-2B abuse and employer violations has also been established.