News

Last Update :2/26/2019

Congress Approves Increase in H-2B Visas

Golf Course Owners and Operators,

As we noted in our earlier post, we were successful in getting the additional funding in the 2019 DHS Appropriations for an additional 69,320 H-2B visas. 

Unfortunately, our work to ensure you receive all the seasonal workers you have requested is ongoing. As we learned last year when Congress approved additional visas, DOL certified the bona fide need for 147,592 H-2B workers. The 33,000 first half cap was met on December 15, 2017, and the 33,000 second half cap was met on February 27, 2018. On May 31, DHS released an additional 15,000 visas under the discretionary authority provided to it by the Fiscal 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act, but this number was only a fraction of the actual need. Approximately 54% of H-2B positions requested for the second half cap remained vacant.

On February 22, 2019, NGCOA joined other industry leaders in signing the attached letter to Secretaries of Homeland Security and Department of Labor calling on them to process H-2B visa petitions up to the full number of H-2B visas authorized by the Fiscal 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

Members are asked to share this letter with your congressional representative and ask for their support by reaching out to DHS and DOL and encouraging them to fully execute the funding they authorized in the appropriations process.

We are hopeful DHS and DOL will agree to fully execute the additional 69,320 visas but NGCOA will continue to monitor this issue and update our members should the situation warrant.

------------------------------
Ronnie Miles
Director of Advocacy
NGCOA
Daniel Island SC
[843-471-2714]
------------------------------
-------------------------------------------
Original Message:
Sent: 02-14-2019 09:08
From: Ronnie Miles
Subject: Congress Approves Increase in H-2B Visas

Golf Course Owners and Operators,

While on the surface the good news is Congress has approved an increase in the 2019 DHS funding bill. However, this is the same level as last year, which gives DHS the authority in consultation with DOL, to increase the H-2 cap for fiscal 2019 to 135,320 (66,000 + 69,320 (the number of H-2B returning worker visas or H-2Rs issued in FY 2007)).  This is the same language that was in effect for fiscal 2017 and 2018.  The language is below.

 

"SEC. 105. Notwithstanding the numerical limitation set forth in section 214(g)(l)(B)of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(l)(B)), the Secretary of Homeland Security, after consultation with the Secretary of Labor, and upon the determination that the needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied in fiscal year 2019 with United States workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor, may increase the total number of aliens who may receive a visa under section 101(a)(l5)(H)(ii)(b) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 110l(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b)) in such fiscal year above such limitation by not more than the highest number of H-2B nonimmigrants ·who participated in the H- 2B returning worker program in any fiscal year in which returning workers were exempt from such numerical limitation."
 

 

It is disappointing that Congress did not mandate a cap increase or other cap relief, but in this political climate with all of the issues surrounding immigration policy, getting this language in the bill is still a significant achievement.  Without the massive advocacy effort from all of you, we would not have had anything included in the bill regarding H-2B.  

 

The House and Senate will pass the bill and get it to the President today or tomorrow.  President Trump must sign the bill into law by midnight tomorrow.  He has indicated that he will sign the bill.

The next step will be to push DHS to release all the approved visas, unlike last year when they only approved less than 50% of the funded visas. NGCOA will be working with our other allied associations to encourage the release of all 69,320 visas as approved in their budget. Should congressional intervention be necessary we will be asking NGCOA members to reach out to your Congressman or Senator and ask for their support to place pressure on DHS and DOL to fully execute the number they approved in the budget.



------------------------------
Ronnie Miles
Director of Advocacy
NGCOA
Daniel Island SC
[843-471-2714]
------------------------------

 


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