The H-2B Workforce Coalition and allied organizations held an H-2B Advocacy Day on Nov. 2. GCSAA member Christian Sain, director of golf and grounds maintenance at The Country Club of Virginia, uses H-2B visa workers and understands the need for this seasonal workforce to supplement his full-time American workers. Sain headed to Washington last week to help push for H-2B relief.
GCSAA's Director of Congressional and Federal Affairs Bob Helland joined Sain at a meeting on Capitol Hill with Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) who represents Virginia's 4th District.
FY2018 began on Oct. 1, but Congress has not yet acted to pass any type of H-2B visa cap relief, meaning many employers could be shut out of both the first and second half H-2B caps. GCSAA needs Congress to take immediate action to address the cap and to pass permanent H-2B reform legislation to provide much needed stability for seasonal employers.
House Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), the sponsor of the Strengthen Employment And Seasonal Opportunities Now (SEASON) Act or H.R. 2004, joined attendees for the morning H-2B briefing before everyone headed to their individual meetings.
During this important lobby day, attendees were focused on asking for immediate relief through the FY2018 Appropriations process and long term relief through passage of both H.S. 2004 and S. 792, the Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017 introduced by Sen. Tom Tillis (R-NC). Below is a summary of the relief each bill would provide:
S. 792, Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017, Sen. Tillis (R-NC)
- This bipartisan legislation would streamline the program to eliminate ambiguities and establish clear parameters for employers hiring H-2B workers, require increased coordination between federal agencies, and bring transparency to the program operations for greater efficiency while ensuring American workers are not displaced.
- Provide H-2B cap relief by exempting well vetted H-2B workers who worked in the program for one of the previous three years.
H.R. 2004, Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (SEASON) Act, Rep. Chabot (R-OH)
- Provides expedited processing of H-2B applications so that U.S. employers have access to workers during their peak work seasons. Department of Homeland Security is directed to run the H-2B program and ensure employer compliance with the program's obligations.
- Would provide H-2B cap relief by exempting well vetted H-2B workers who worked in the program for one of the previous three years.
- Provides H-2B cap relief by exempting well vetted H-2B workers who worked in the program during the previous fiscal year.