ALCC LAB
H-2B Update: final rule on additional visas expected 5/8/19 Email
Monday, May 06, 2019 12:00 AM

H-2B Update: final rule on additional visas expected 5/8/19

The following update was sent to several Congressional offices regarding the status of the rule that will release the approved 30,000 additional H-2B visas.

Good Morning,

We are calling to your attention the forthcoming announcement to be released by the Department of Homeland Security later today. Starting on the expected date of May 8, 2019, eligible petitioners seeking additional H-2B workers, can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-3 with their petition. Details on eligibility and filing requirements are available in the final rule and on the Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2019 at USCIS.gov. Note that the rule is expected to be published and effective on May 8, 2019. USCIS will begin accepting petitions after the rule is published.

DHS, DOL to Publish Joint Rule for Additional Visas for Returning Foreign Workers

Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor will publish a joint rule making available an additional 30,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for Fiscal Year 2019. These supplemental H-2B visas are available only to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years (FY 2016, 2017, or 2018), and availability is restricted by prioritizing only those businesses who would suffer irreparable harm without the additional workers.

“The Department of Homeland Security continues to urge lawmakers to pursue a long-term legislative fix that both meets employers’ temporary needs while fulfilling the president’s Buy American and Hire American executive order to spur higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers,” said Acting Secretary McAleenan. “The truth is that Congress is in the best position to establish the appropriate number of H-2B visas that American businesses should be allocated without harming U.S. workers. Therefore, Congress – not DHS – should be responsible for determining whether the annual numerical limitations for H-2B workers set by Congress need to be modified and by how much, and for setting parameters to ensure that enough workers are available to meet employers’ temporary needs throughout the year.”

Details on the increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2019 can be found alongside the temporary final rule, which is expected to be posted for public inspection on Monday, May 6, 2019.

DHS is committed to ensuring that our immigration system is implemented lawfully and that American workers are protected. If members of the public have information that a participating employer may be abusing this program, DHS invites them to submit information to [email protected] and include information identifying the H-2B petitioning employer and relevant information that leads them to believe that the H-2B petitioning employer is abusing the H-2B program.

Thank you.

Office of Legislative Affairs
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

We will share the final rule when it is published. You can view a pre-publication copy of the final rule here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-09500.pdf

 
H-2B Negative Impacts Survey & Update Email
LAB
Written by John McMahon   
Friday, March 15, 2019 12:00 AM

H-2B Update; Participate in H-2B Negative Impacts Survey

In conjunction with our H-2B Coalition partners at NALP, we need your assistance to better demonstrate the negative impacts that the inadequate H-2B cap is having on your business. We plan to use this information with media and policy makers to better tell your story to increase engagement.

Please click here to participate in the survey

Update
NALP is continuing to have discussions with members on Capitol Hill and the Administration to urge the immediate release of the Congressionally authorized 69,320 H-2B visas. We remain steadfast in our efforts to pressure the Department of Homeland Security to a.) act very quickly, acknowledging April 1 as the date of need and b.) release more than 15,000, which have been inaccurately allocated the previous two years.

Congressional Hearings
Annual Congressional budget hearings are a good opportunity to raise awareness of the H-2B issue, while also forcing the administration to answer tough questions on their position. The Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security has scheduled a hearing to take Member testimony on fiscal year 2020 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, April 9th. Each Member will have 5 minutes for oral remarks. We will be using this opportunity to have Representatives ask pointed questions about the H-2B issue to DHS Secretary Nielsen. Stay tuned for updates on how you can assist in Hill efforts.

 
DOL Announcement About Future H-2B Processing Feb 26 2019 Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 12:00 AM

DOL announcement about future H-2B processing

Yesterday's Announcement from DOL:

February 26, 2019. Department Announces Updates to its Procedures for Processing H-2B Applications for Temporary Labor Certification

The Department today announced updates to its procedures for processing H-2B applications. Because of the intense competition for H-2B visas in recent years, the Department's technology and available staff resources have been challenged to handle the increasingly large volume of H-2B applications filed on January 1 of each year. As a result of stakeholder comments and the most recent filing period in which the iCERT electronic filing system experienced a service disruption due to the large volume of system user requests, the Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) reassessed its procedures for processing H-2B applications.

Today, OFLC announced that all H-2B applications filed on or after July 3, 2019 will be randomly ordered for processing based on the date of filing and the start date of work requested. OFLC will randomly order and assign for processing all of the H-2B applications requesting the earliest start date of work permitted under the semi-annual visa allocation (i.e., October 1 or April 1) and filed during the first three calendar days of the regulatory time period for filing H-2B applications. Once first actions are issued, OFLC will randomly assign for processing all other H-2B applications filed on a single calendar day.

OFLC is seeking comments on this procedural change for a period of 30 calendar days from the date that the notice is published in the Federal Register. Interested stakeholders may submit comments to [email protected] or Thomas M. Dowd, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Box PPII 12-200, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210.

OFLC will review all of the comments received, make any changes it determines are appropriate, and issue a final announcement prior to July 3, 2019. Stakeholders can access a full copy of the procedural announcement here.

 
Urge your elected officials to send a message to DHS Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Tuesday, February 26, 2019 12:00 AM

Urge your elected officials to send a message to DHS: We need more H-2B visas now!

The FY19 Omnibus passed by Congress and signed into law two weeks ago includes a provision that provides the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to release an additional 69,320 H-2B visas if and when the Department of Labor (DOL) certifies the need for foreign workers.

Last Friday, DOL indicated that the cap had been hit, and we know that there are more than 60,000 petitions awaiting a likely approval and certification by the DOL. We need to pressure DHS to immediate release the additional visas pursuant to the authority provided by Congress.

To assist in these efforts Rep. Harris (R-MD) and Rep. Pingree (D-ME) are circulating a letter that will be sent to DHS Secretary Nielsen which urges her immediate action.

Please take a brief moment to send this message to your elected officials and make sure they add their name to the letter. Rep. Harris and Rep. Pingree are the lead offices on these efforts if you receive any questions.

Even if you have received confirmation on the status of your H-2B workers, now is the time we need to stand together to assist all those in need of their seasonal guest workers. Please share this email with your co-workers, suppliers and other H-2B users and encourage them to call and email their elected officials.

Thank you for your continued efforts.

 
Government shutdown ended. 3 weeks to push H-2B reform Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 12:00 AM

Government shutdown ended. 3 weeks to push H-2B reform!

The Government is back open and we have three weeks to make a final push to include immediate H-2B cap relief in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fiscal year 2019 spending package. As legislators debate wall funding and other DHS related issues, we need to push the narrative that this is a bipartisan labor issue, that will have drastic economic impacts on your business and their constituents if action is not take during this three-week negotiation period that is set to expire on February 15th.

This letter in support of H-2B cap relief was sent to leadership last week with signatures from a bipartisan group of 31 Senators and 98 representatives, which demonstrates strong support for the inclusion of some immediate H-2B cap relief.

Please send a note to your elected officials urging them to support H-2B cap relief. Click here to send the note!

Leadership in the House and Senate have appointed Conferees to negotiate the DHS FY 2019 funding bill. These members include:

List of Conferees:
The Senators are Sens. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala.; Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; John Hoeven, R-N.D.; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.; Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.; and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

The House members are Reps. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y.; Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif.; David E. Price, D-N.C.; Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; Henry Cuellar, D-Texas; Pete Aguilar, D-Calif; Kay Granger, R-Texas; Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.; Tom Graves, R-Ga.; and Steven M. Palazzo, R-Miss.

If you are not a constituent of one of the conferees please do not call or email them. [No Colorado legislators are on this list of conferees.] This DOES NOT help our cause at this state of the process, but please still participate in the grassroots email campaign to generate positive momentum and pressure.

 
Continue your support of H-2B (12/13/18) Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Thursday, December 13, 2018 12:00 AM

H-2B Cap Hit! Immediate H-2B Action Needed!

This week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the H-2B visa cap for the first half of fiscal 2019 was reached on Dec. 6. Please take action today to urge Congress to fix the cap, even if you have recently done so. 

Requested Actions:

1. Please click on the appropriate link below, set up by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, to send a letter to your Representative and two Senators urging them to support the Tillis/Harris H-2B cap relief package in a final Department of Homeland Security Spending bill. Please also share these links with your colleagues and encourage them to respond.

SEND A LETTER AS AN EMPLOYER

SEND A LETTER AS AN EMPLOYEE

2. Please call your Representative and two Senators and ask them to urge their party leaders to include the Tillis/Harris H-2B package in a final DHS appropriations bill. You can reach your elected officials through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected to your Representative or Senator’s office ask to speak to the person who handles H-2B issues. Please make these calls today!

3. Tweet at your Senators and Representative using#SaveH2B.You can find their twitter address at twitter.com/verified/lists/us-congress/members. Some sample tweets are below.

  • H-2B Cap Hit! Pass cap relief now! #saveH2B
  • Save American jobs. Pass H-2B cap relief now! #saveH2B
  • The H-2B program relies on workers who come to the U.S. for seasonal work, then go home. #saveH2B
  • Every H-2B worker creates and sustains 4.64 American jobs. Pass H-2B cap relief now! #saveH2B
  • #saveH2Band save American Jobs! Pass H-2B cap relief now! 
  • H-2B program = more American jobs. Pass H-2B cap relief now. #saveH2B
  • H-2B workers support American jobs. Pass H-2B cap relief now! #saveH2B
  • Save the spring and summer. Pass H-2B cap relief now! #saveH2B

Background:
Congress is the process of negotiating a final Fiscal 2019 Department of Homeland Security Spending bill. This legislation must be completed by December 21, in order to avoid a government shut down. President Trump and Congressional Democrats continue to fight over funding for a southern border wall and other issues. We are not certain of the final form that a year-end spending package will take or if there will be a short-term government shutdown, but we do know that whatever spending bill materializes from the ongoing negotiations between the President and Congress must include H-2B cap relief. This spending package is the only opportunity for Congress to fix the H-2B cap this year before the bulk H-2B petitions are submitted to the Department of Labor on January 1.

A group of lawmakers, including Senators Tillis (R-NC) and Rounds (R-SD) and Rep. Harris (R-MD), has negotiated an H-2B package that would:

  • Permanently double the annual H-2B cap to 132,000 visas and require the Department of Labor to report to Congress every two years about whether or not the cap should be increased or decreased based on economic need;
  • Allow some agricultural related industries to access the uncapped H-2A program, including forestry and conservation-related services relating primarily to the cultivation, installation, and establishment of horticultural commodities;
  • Provide for proportional and quarterly allocations of H-2B visa so that businesses have access to workers regardless of their dates of need; 
  • Preserve access to the program for compliant seasonal employers;
  • Provide access to needed temporary workers involved in disaster and recovery efforts;
  • Increase fines and penalties for bad actors;
  • Require employers who use the program to verify the work eligibility of recently hired and newly hired employees; and 
  • Eliminate the costly newspaper advertising requirement and replace it with a requirement to list jobs through an online Department of Labor job registry.

Thanks for all of your help to #saveH2B.

 
H-2B reform efforts continue (Dec 2018) Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Thursday, December 06, 2018 12:00 AM

H-2B reform efforts continue

Please see the letter that was just sent to Congressional leaders asking that the Tillis/Harris H-2B proposal be included in the final fiscal year 2019 spending bill. Thanks to everyone who signed the letter. Special thanks to Coloradans for engaging with this issue and contacting legislators. Colorado had approximately 80 companies and associations sign onto this letter--by far the highest amount of support in the country. 

Please also continue to reach out to your Representative and two Senators and encourage them to speak personally to their party leaders about the urgent need to include the Tills/Harris H-2B package in the final FY 2019 spending bill.

 
H-2B letter: Help needed today, 10-16-18 Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 12:00 AM

Urgent request from the H-2B Workforce Coalition

Requested Action:
Please call your Representative and ask him or her to sign onto the H-2B letter that is currently being circulated by Reps. Bergman (R-MI) and Keating (D-MA). You can reach your Representative through the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected to your lawmaker’s office, ask to speak to the staff person who deals with H-2B visa issues. Explain to the staff person the importance of H-2B cap relief to your business and ask him or her to encourage your Representative to sign the Bergman-Keating letter. Colorado representatives' contact information can also be found on this document.

Read more...
 
Update on H-2B 9-14-18 Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Friday, September 14, 2018 12:00 AM

The H-2B Workforce Coalition issued the following update last night, September 13:

This evening the Appropriations Committees filed the conference agreement on the FY 19 Labor-HHS and Department of Defense “minibus” appropriations bill. It also includes a continuing resolution to maintain funding for the Department of Homeland Security and other federal Departments through December 7, 2018. We will keep you updated on the timing of House and Senate votes on the measure, but no votes are expected until next week.

Congress will not take up an FY 2019 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security until after the November elections. As you know, the DHS funding bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee in July would exempt returning workers from the annual H-2B visa cap, reallocate the capped 66,000 visas on a quarterly basis to ensure that employers with late seasons are not shut out of the program and allow for visas to be appropriated on a proportional basis to ensure that all qualifying employers receive at least a percentage of needed H-2B workers. The report that accompanies the Senate Appropriations Committee-passed version of FY 2019 DHS funding bill asks DHS to consider a more equitable annual allocation of the 66,000 visas. The H-2B Workforce Coalition continues to urge Congress to include the House cap relief language in a final appropriations bill.

The conference report that was filed tonight would continue the Department of Labor (DOL) H-2B provisions that have been included in past funding bills. Specifically, the bill would continue the provisions from last year's Omnibus Appropriations law that limit the ability of the Administration to enforce the corresponding employment and 3/4 guarantee provisions of the 2015 regulations, allow for the use of private wage surveys, provide for a 10-month season and allow for staggered crossing for seafood workers.

The text of the bill can be found at:  https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Defense%20LHHS%20Minibus%20FY19.pdf.

The H-2B provisions can be found on pages 41-43.

We will let you know when Congress votes on this legislation and continue to keep you updated.

Your H-2B Workforce Coalition Co-Chairs

Laurie Flanagan, representing AmericanHort and the National Association of Landscape Professionals

Brian Crawford, American Hotel and Lodging Association

Gregg Hartley, representing the Outdoor Amusement Business Association

 
Denver listening session about proposed overtime rule on 9/14/18 Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Thursday, September 13, 2018 12:00 AM

U.S. Department of Labor will host a listening session about the proposed overtime rule in Denver on September 14. REad the full announcement from DOL below.

On September 14, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. MDT, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor will hold a public listening session in Denver, Colorado, to gather views on the Part 541 white-collar exemption regulations, often referred to as the "Overtime Rule."

Read more...
 
USDOL release about H-2B enforcement 9/13/18 Email
LAB
Written by H-2B Workforce Coalition   
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 12:00 AM

See the latest release regarding H-2B education and enforcement from U.S. Department of Labor:

WASHINGTON, DC - To ensure compliance with federal wage laws, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is conducting a nationwide initiative to strengthen compliance with the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program in the landscaping industry. The initiative includes providing compliance assistance tools and information to employers and stakeholders, as well as conducting investigations of employers using this program.

Read more...
 
H-2B Workforce Coalition issues talking points for Congressional meetings Email
LAB
Written by H-2B Workforce Coalition   
Tuesday, September 11, 2018 12:00 AM

Several groups have upcoming Congressional meetings and asked for talking points. View/download talking points from H-2B Workforce Coalition.

Congress is unlikely to finalize an FY19 DHS appropriations bill and will likely pass a short-term spending measure to fund the Department until after the November elections.

While Congress may not take final action on the spending measure until after the election, it is important to continue to stress the need for cap relief to your lawmakers. Please continue to reach out to your lawmakers and ask them to do the following:

  • ASK THEIR PARTY LEADERS TO INCLUDE THE H-2B CAP RELIEF IN THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE-PASSED FISCAL 2019 DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS LEGISLATION IN THE FINAL DHS APPROPRIATIONS BILL OR ANY OTHER APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019.
  • COSPONSOR AND WORK TO PASS S. 792, “THE SAVE OUR SMALL AND SEASONAL BUSINESSES ACT OF 2017” AND H.R. 2004, “THE STRENGTHEN EMPLOYMENT AND SEASONAL OPPORTUNITIES NOW (SEASON) ACT.”
 
USDOL releases statement about H-2B education and enforcement initiative Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Friday, September 07, 2018 10:00 AM

US Department of Labor has issued the following media release this week:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR PROTECTS AMERICAN WORKERS WITH H-2B EDUCATION AND ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE

WASHINGTON, DC - To ensure compliance with federal wage laws, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is conducting a nationwide initiative to strengthen compliance with the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program in the hotel industry.

Read more...
 
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