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NALP supports H-2B visa expansion bill

June 15, 2021 -  By
Lawmakers introduced bills easing caps on H-2B visas.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is praising a bipartisan group of lawmakers for legislation that would permanently relieve caps on H-2B visas, making it easier to bring workers into the country.

Reps. Cuellar (D-TX), Joyce (R-OH), Keating (D-MA), Pingree (D-ME), Chabot (R-OH) and Harris (R-MD) introduced The Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021, a bill that would make permanent several changes to the H-2B program. The legislation would reenact the returning worker exemption that would exempt returning workers from counting against the 66,000 cap if the H-2B worker is a returning worker in any one of the previous three fiscal years.

The returning worker exception was part of the program from 2005 to 2007 and then again in 2017. The Biden and Trump administrations made the returning worker exception a prerequisite to accessing the supplemental cap in each of the previous four years.

“We applaud Representative’s Cuellar, Joyce and Keating for their leadership on pushing for much needed permanent H-2B reforms,” NALP CEO Britt Wood said. “As the single largest user of the H-2B program, the landscape industry has been in a workforce crisis for many years, and the uncertainty and antiquated 66,000 cap has exacerbated the crisis.”

Other bill provisions would improve application efficiency by requiring a single digital platform and require the Department of Labor to maintain a publicly accessible online job registry.

The Act would also strengthen program integrity measures and anti-fraud provisions to increase DOL investigations, fines and even permanent disqualification from the H-2B program for willful violations. Lastly, the Act would address misconduct by foreign recruiters and also strengthen workers safety standards for H-2B employees while in the United States.

“We must mobilize the landscape industry and all the other seasonal businesses that rely on the H-2B program during this difficult workforce crisis,” said Andrew Bray, VP of government relations NALP. “We look forward to working with both sides of the aisle in the House and the Senate to push this legislation across the finish line and enact permanent H-2B reforms for the landscape industry.”

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