The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has sent a rule to the Office of Management and Budget regarding H-2B cap-relief. The final rule, which was received by the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on July 3, is officially titled “Exercise of Time-Limited Authority to Increase the Fiscal Year 2017 Numerical Limitation for the H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Worker Program.”
NALP, our H-2B Workforce Coalition partners, and several Congressional champions have been in a protracted struggle to get the administration and both Houses of Congress to act. Our efforts seemed to pay-off when Congress passed language authorizing DHS Secretary Kelly to provide limited cap-relief in May, however, the Secretary has been slow to act.
Even though a rule has now been formally filed, DHS is still refusing to disclose any information on key information such as how many additional visas will be authorized, what types of businesses will be eligible, and what process will be used to process applications. Last week a representative with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied a request for additional details on the rule stating that because the regulation is still being reviewed, the agency could not give any information.
NALP is meeting next week with senior personnel at DHS and the National Economic Council to stress the need for immediate cap-relief and to press for additional detail on the submitted DHS rule. H-2B relief and program reform is also one of the three issues that landscape professionals will advocate for at next week’s annual Legislative Days.