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PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In the Nation

Congress Approves Authority to Increase H-2B Visas

Thursday, February 28, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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Landscape WorkersWASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the deal to end the partial shutdown of the federal government, H-2B advocates in Washington secured language in the bipartisan compromise appropriations bill to allow the Secretary of Homeland Security in consultation with the Secretary of Labor to increase the number of H-2B visas from the statutory 66,000 to as many as 132,000.

The language included in the bill is like that included in the past two fiscal years. This fell short of broader, more comprehensive H-2B reform language that advocates at AmericanHort and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) had hoped for.

Attention now turns to convincing the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Labor to make the additional visas available in time for the spring season. In past years, the decision to allocate addition visas under this authority were too little and too late. Last year, additional visas were not available until June and only 15,000 of the potential 66,000 were allocated.

Last week, AmericanHort, NALP and other H-2B advocates sent a letter to the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Labor urging them to allocate the maximum number of visas allowed under the new law as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, since this language was included in a fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill, the authority to increase the number of visas expires September 30, 2019 and will have to be renewed next fiscal year.

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