Thanks to GCSAA, grassroots advocacy from members and the work of allies in the H-2B Workforce Coalition, the House Appropriations Committee recently included language in the Fiscal Year 2024 Homeland Security Appropriations bill that will provide additional labor to golf and other seasonal industries.
This language authorizes a returning worker exemption (RWE) for the H-2B Visa program. This exemption allows workers who have received an H-2B Visa within the last three years to return to the program without counting against the 66,000 total visas allocated annually. This will provide much needed relief for a program whose demand exceeded its limit by more than three times last year as well as greater assurance to the seasonal employers, including golf, that depend on them in a time of low unemployment. The exemption will apply for the 2024 Fiscal Year, which runs from Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024.
GCSAA, in conjunction with the H-2B Workforce Coalition, will continue to advocate for a more permanent solution for establishing the H-2B Visa program as a sustainable labor avenue. Renewal of the RWE annually along with raising the visa cap permanently have been historically discussed as strategies for improving the workability of the program for superintendents and other small business owners.
There is still a long way to go to get this language across the finish line, but GCSAA would not have achieved this first milestone without the support of grassroots advocacy and the voices of superintendents who are passionate about their courses and communities. Thank you to all members who supported this issue at National Golf Day and those who participated in H-2B Visa action alerts. Your advocacy work is greatly appreciated.
GCSAA recognizes golf’s need for labor and the H-2B Visa program’s role in supplementing temporary workers to courses across the nation. With this exemption, superintendents who have previously utilized the program will have more reassurance they will have access again and more opportunities will be provided to those who are still short on labor. More updates will be provided as the appropriations bill progresses through Congress in the coming weeks.