Limited H-2B regulatory relief is part of the bill that President Trump signed into law authorizing federal government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2017. Inclusion of the cap relief language is a significant legislative victory, and was the direct result of grassroots outreach by NALP members and other seasonal employers.
Under the provisions of the bill, the Secretary of the Department Homeland Security (DHS) is now empowered to authorize nearly 64,000 additional guest worker visas. However, the broad discretionary power granted to Secretary Kelly did not outline any process or timeline for action. Consequently, NALP and our H-2B Workforce Coalition partners will work with the Administration to encourage DHS to implement the new cap language quickly. We are still unsure about a possible timetable.
In addition to the language authorizing additional foreign guest workers, the measure also extended several areas H-2B administrative relief including:
- A ten- month seasonal work definition
- Authorization to consider 3rd party wage surveys
- Language blocking the implementation of the ¾ prevailing wage guarantee
Approval of the cap-relief provision is a significant step toward achieving long term reform that addresses the many challenges that seasonal business owners face when supplementing their seasonal workforce through the H-2B program. We are currently working with numerous members of Congress in pursuit of that goal. NALP will continue to keep members informed of related developments and let you know when grassroots engagement is needed. We greatly appreciate the assistance of the many members who added their voices to this fight. You spoke, Congress listened, and a significant goal has been achieved!