H-2B: Why you should care

May 12, 2017 -  By

Even if you don’t rely on guest workers through the H-2B visa program, you may find it helpful to be familiar with the program and how you can help. Access to a reliable, stable workforce is important to the future of the industry.

The program is once again a source of consternation. In 2016 Congress failed to extend an important provision known as the returning worker exemption (RWE), which allows workers who have been previously approved in any of the last three years not to count against the annual cap of 66,000.

This year, the cap has already been reached, which means that unless Congress acts and extends the RWE, many employers will be left without enough workers to fulfill their contracts or meet their client obligations, which may place their full-time workers and their businesses in jeopardy.

NALP and our H-2B Workforce Coalition allies have been working hard to educate Congress on the issue so they better understand the implications of inaction. Despite our efforts, many in Congress still view H-2B with skepticism or even outright opposition. Critics of the program contend that foreign labor undermines the wages and job opportunities afforded to American workers. Many also try to categorize H-2B as an immigration issue, which is extremely controversial on Capitol Hill.

How can you help? Congress members need to hear directly from their constituents about the program’s value. They need to understand how H-2B allows seasonal businesses to hire a legal workforce when local workers aren’t available. Join NALP at Legislative Day in July, attend a fly-in or contact your representatives today.

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