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PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In the Nation

DHS Releases 15,000 Additional H-2B Visas

Wednesday, July 19, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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Landscape WorkersWASHINGTON, D.C. - In late April, Congress passed an appropriations bill to fund the federal government through the federal fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Contained in that bill was language that provided the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to double the number of H-2B visas available, from 66,000 to 129,000, if the secretary found that there was “need.”

On July 17, the Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule that they will make available up to 15,000 additional H-2B visas in federal fiscal year 2017, which ends September 30. To qualify for the additional visas, companies 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 2017.

But with less than three months to go before the authority to raise the H-2B visa cap expires, the attention of H-2B advocacy groups is shifting to working on a more permanent solution to the guest worker problem.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals met in Washington, D.C. July 16-18, 2017 for its annual legislative conference and lobbying effort. H-2B visas were at the top of NALP’s list of issues.

Likewise, AmericanHort has scheduled its legislative conference in Washington D.C. for September 12-13, 2017. For more information and to register, click here.

A bill containing returning worker provisions and other H-2B reforms was introduced in March by a bipartisan group of Senators. The Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017 (S. 792) would make long-sought-after reforms in the H-2B program. Lobbying Congress to pass this bill will be a major focus of both national trade groups this summer.

Call your Senators and ask them to support S. 792 and plan to attend the AmericanHort legislative conference in September.

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