The bill potentially increases the previous 66,000-visa cap by nearly 70,000, to 135,320 workers. The increase will only impact summer-season H-2B employers and will not apply to winter employers for October through February start dates.
On February 15, President Donald Trump signed into law a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that authorizes the DHS, through consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL), to increase the H-2B visa cap for Fiscal Year 2019 to 135,320 workers—an extension of the increase that was instituted during the last two years, the National Club Association (NCA) reported.
This bill potentially increases the previous 66,000-visa cap by nearly 70,000. However, the NCA noted, because members of Congress did not mandate the increase themselves, leaving it up to the DHS and DOL to authorize any boost, clubs will have to wait to see how many new H-2B worker visas will be available.
Last year, when the same provision was in place, it took nearly two months from when the bill was signed to the actual release of the additional visas, the NCA reported. In 2018, the DHS raised the total number of H-2B visas by only 15,000.
With pressure being applied to DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen and DOL Secretary Alexander R. Acosta by seasonal businesses (such as private clubs) that want to quickly raise the number, it is possible that an increase will come sooner and with more visas released, the NCA reported.
It is important for clubs to note that the increase will only impact summer-season H-2B employers who plan to hire H-2B workers who are out of the country, the NCA said. The increase will not apply to winter H-2B employers for October through February start dates.
The NCA and its allies on the H-2B Workforce Coalition planned to submit a letter to DHS Secretary Nielsen and DOL Secretary Acosta urging the immediate release of all remaining H-2B visas, to help employers fill their staff rolls.
For questions regarding H-2B visas, contact the NCA at 202-822-9822.