On March 29, Homeland Security Secretary Kirsten Nielsen announced the availability of 30,000 additional H-2B visas for 2019 seasonal employment. GCSAA has been working in partnership with the H-2B Workforce Coalition to release the additional visas provided by Congress.
Years ago, Congress gave the DHS Secretary, in consultation with the Department of Labor, the authority to augment H-2B seasonal visas up to a cap of 66,000 visas per year. This is not enough visas to meet the demands of seasonal employers like golf facilities. The secretary via Congress has allowed 15,000 additional H-2B visas in the past two years.
This doubling of the allotment comes with a returning worker requirement. That means only those H-2B visa holders who previously held visas in the past three years are eligible to participate in the 30,000 allotment.
The H-2B Workforce Coalition is continuing to encourage Congress to pass legislation determining the number of seasonal H-2B visa holders per year. In the interim, we are encouraging Congress the DOL to use its discretion, as the Secretary did last week, to increase H-2B visas to eligible individuals.
President Trump has been discussing the need for additional workers in speeches recently, and his remarks are believed to have had an effect on last week’s announcement. Plus the steadfast advocacy work by GCSAA and members of the H-2B Workforce Coalition to support the release of more visas.
The DHS Secretary has indicated a formal announcement regarding the release of the extra visas will be in an upcoming Federal Register notice. We will provide updates on the release of the extra visas as information becomes available. <.p>
For more information, contact the GCSAA government affairs department at 800-472-7878, ext. 3619.