Congress allowed for an additional 69,000 visas in the FY19 Omnibus Appropriations bill and the Department of Homeland Security responded with 30,000 visas in May 2019. Our advocacy goal is to see that Congress includes the full 69,000 in the next appropriations bill which is expected to be complete by the end of December 2019.
On November 20 a letter was sent to House Leadership and House Appropriations Committee leaders urging them to include H-2B cap relief in the final Fiscal Year 2020 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. The letter specifically requests that “any final spending agreement include the bipartisan H-2B cap language included in the Fiscal Year 2020 DHS appropriations bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee”. It goes on to note that this will “provide a higher degree of certainty to seasonal businesses and their workforce”. 108 Members of Congress signed the final letter. Here is a copy of the final letter: 11.20.19 Bergman.Keating H2B Letter to House Leadership.
Additionally, GCSAA is working with our H-2B allies to get the Department of Homeland Security to release 39,000 remaining visas. On November 21 President Trump signed a temporary spending bill into law to fund the federal government through December 20. This law continues all previous appropriations provisions related to H-2B. As was mentioned earlier, DHS released 30,000 additional visas in May of this year, despite having the authority to go as high as 69,000. Because we are now in a Continuing Resolution that extends FY19, DHS still holds the power to release the remaining 39,320 visas that were authorized under the FY19 appropriations bill. In effort to see the additional visas issued, GCSAA – in addition to with our H-2B allies – signed a letter to the acting Secretary of Homeland Security requesting that he immediately release the additional visas. Here is a copy of the final letter: 11-22-19 Supplemental Visa Letter to DHS - Final
Continuing our advocacy efforts, Bob Helland, Director of Congressional and Federal Affairs, joined a delegation of H-2B users on Capitol Hill on November 5 to discuss golf’s H-2B concerns. Helland, accompanied by GCSAA member James Nick, Country Club of Virginia, met with Representative Sharice Davids (KS-03) as well as the offices of Representative Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), who represents Nick’s home district, and Representative Steve Watkins (KS-02).
The United States Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OLFC) announced a webinar on December 11, 2019 to update stakeholders on the process for filing H-2B Applications with a start date of April 1, 2020 or later. The webinar will discuss regulatory timeframes for filing applications with a start date of need of April 2020 or later; procedures OFLC uses to randomly select H-2B applications for review and processing; and actions the Department of Labor is taking to prepare for the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) System to support the submission of applications beginning January 2020. More information can be found at on the OLFC website.