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Department of Labor Announces Record Breaking Number of H-2B Visas Applied for
Cap Relief is Needed - Learn what you can do to help
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On Monday, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it received a record breaking 7,875 H-2B applications requesting 136,555 worker petitions during the January 1-3, 2022, filing period for the second half of the FY22 H-2B cap with a April 1 start date.  This is a 41% increase over last years total number of workers requested. 

Currently, there are only 33,000 H-2B visas available for the second half of the cap, meaning, applicants have a 24% chance of receiving their workers absent of any form of cap relief.  Yesterday, USCIS held a lottery assigning H-2B applicants into groups A through G.  It is estimated that applicants in groups A and B will receive their workers under the original cap, and groups C, D, E, F, and G would be capped out unless some sort of cap relief is granted.

For the first time ever, the administration released 20,000 supplemental visas to count toward the first half of the FY22 H-2B cap, bolstering the number of available visas from 33,000 to 53,000.  This was directly related to the outreach efforts by those who rely on the H-2B program from ride owners to US workers, and even fair and festival committees who depend on a carnival for the success of their event.  

It's no secret that there is a labor crisis in the United States with most local businesses currently shorthanded and hiring.  Fortunately, a permanent fix to the outdated cap on the H-2B program makes perfect sense to help fix the labor situation.  

The Seasonal Employment Alliance released the following plan of action to help obtain cap relief in the upcoming FY22 Appropriations bill.

Plan of Action

  1. By the end of January, double the number of cosponsors on H.R. 3897, the Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021, from the current 32 to 64

    For more information on the Returning Worker Exemption act, click here.

    1. Email your member of Congress to ask him/her to cosponsor bill.
    2. Click here for a template if you were placed in Group A.
    3. Click here for a template if you were placed in Groups B-F.

  2. Increase the number of cosponsors on Senate 2443, the Graham Manchin bill.

    On July 22nd, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) introduced S.2443, along with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) as an original cosponsor.  The bill has become commonly known as the “Graham Manchin Bill.” The bill would move approximately 60% of the current demand on the H-2B program to the uncapped H-2A program by:

    Modernizing the definition of H-2A nonimmigrant to include aliens engaged in seafood processing, horticultural commodities, and the care of horses;
    Shifting the entirety of the landscaping occupation into the uncapped H-2A program.

    The Senate has the opportunity to include immigration provisions in reconciliation and we are urging them to include the Graham Manchin Bill.  It is critical we secure the support of key members of the US  Senate, specifically members of the Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee and DHS Appropriations Subcommittee. 

    1. Email your Senators to ask them to cosponsor bill.
    2. Click here for a template if you were placed in Group A.
    3. Click here for a template if you were placed in Groups B-F.

  3. Obtain the maximum number of visas from the administration for the second half. We are told the administration plans to make a second half release and in a more timely manner than year's past but we need to do everything we can to ensure it is a substantial number. 
The SEA's goal is to get one of the two solutions, either a Returning Worker Exemption or the definitional changes, into the FY22 appropriations bill. The current funding bill expires on February 18th. Your outreach efforts will help create an environment for our D.C. advocates to make this play.
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