Many landscapers will not receive the H-2B workers they need unless Congress takes immediate action. The 33,000 cap for the second half of the fiscal year was met January 7.
A new session of Congress is under way, and all bills must be introduced and assigned new numbers. It is important for landscapers to discuss their need for H-2B workers with representatives and senators now. Additionally, if a state has new representatives or senators, landscapers should take the time to introduce those legislators to their businesses and the H-2B program in the hopes of gaining co-sponsors for the bill.
The cap being reached is not the only news for landscapers who are a part of the H-2B program. Employers will have new program requirements to follow, from both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor. The two departments issued final rules for the program December 19, and the new rules went into effect January 18. The rules do not change the 66,000 cap, as that number can only be changed by Congress.
Under the new rules, DHS has given DOL additional enforcement authority, recruiters or employers are prohibited from collecting application or recruitment fees from H-2B workers, and an attestation process has been established.
To contact your state representatives or senators, call the congressional switchboard at (202) 225-3121. Landscapers can find their elected officials on PLANET’s Web site www.landcarenetwork.org at the Legislative Action Center, and they can send letters to Congress members through the site as well.