The Department of Homeland Security made a decision late last week on how many additional H-2B visas will be issued this year. The total number of additional visas will be 35,000, which is 10,000 less than the 45,000 visa number GCSAA had been hearing would be distributed. Further, the visas are not being made available all at once. Instead, 20,000 visas are being made available April 1st and 15,000 visas are being made available May 15th. Finally, 10,000 of these visas – for either April or May 1st – must come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The DHS’s rationale for this carve-out is that 1) these nations are doing more to promote border security and 2) these nations are currently underrepresented in the H-2B program.
Other than the 10,000 carve-out, all other additional workers must be returning workers. Further, anyone who was already “capped out” under the existing 33,000 cap would need to get a new DOL certification in order to be eligible for any of the additional H-2B visas.
This news is of concern to GCSAA. There’s no reason for the two tranches of visas or the May 15th start date for the second tranche. And the 10,000 carve out was not included in the law that Congress passed and the President signed.
GCSAA has worked individually and with our colleagues in the H-2B Workforce Coalition to let the Administration know that this falls short of meeting golf’s needs and much more is needed. This statement was submitted on behalf of the coalition last week to express frustration about the decision.
GCSAA staff are going to continue to work separately and with our allies to try to address some of our concerns. Please reach out to Bob Helland, GCSAA’s Director of Congressional and Federal Affairs, at (800) 472-7878 directly to talk about the impact of this decision on your golf facility.
Here is more information from the DOL regarding the issuance of the visas.