The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently held a listening session to hear the public’s thoughts on whether additional H-2B visas should be made available to employers. GCSAA has consistently argued that superintendents need access to these additional visas, approved by Congress last year, as golf plays a greater role during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rounds are up and superintendents are working longer hours to ensure the best playing conditions.
Congress approved up to 64,716 visas this year and DHS has yet to decide how many of these it will allocate. So the listening session provided GCSAA the opportunity to emphasize golf’s need for access to temporary, legal workers. Bob Helland, GCSSAA director of congressional & federal affairs, joined Christian Sain, Director of Golf and Grounds Maintenance at The Country Club of Virginia, Dan Hawkins, Director of Agronomy & Facility Operations at The Club at Flying Horse & Flying Horse North Golf Club, and Scott Kinnan, CGCS, Farmington Country Club to make sure golf’s voice was heard. Other participants came from other seasonal industries impacted by H-2B, including hotels, carnivals & amusement parks, landscaping, seafood, construction, and forestry. Of all the voices registered during this session, only three spoke against additional visas. The overwhelming majority talked about the need for additional workers to fill jobs that otherwise remain empty. And as studies show, every H-2B worker creates or sustains 4.62 American jobs. The fact that the DHS held this session is a positive sign. Golf had the chance to raise its profile further on an issue vital to the economic health and well-being of the country. GCSAA will continue to make sure our voice is heard and additional visas are released as soon as possible.