The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has raised concerns about the language within the Appropriations Bill and how it could impact the H-2B Visa program. The US House of Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the Department of Labor (DOL) Appropriations Bill on Jul 15, 2021. The association believes that the language within the bill could devastate the H-2B Visa program.
The concerned language appears on Page 46-50 of the bill. The main concern is how the framed language could make it difficult for employers to use the H-2B Visa program to hire foreign workers.
What Is the H-2B Visa Program?
The H-2B Visa is a nonimmigrant work visa program that allows US employers to hire temporary, non-seasonal, and non-agricultural workers in case there are no domestic workers available to fill that position.
How Will the New Appropriations Bill Impact the H-2B Visa?
The draft bill states the following concerning the rules regarding hiring foreign workers by US employers:
The bill prohibits industries from using the H-2B Visa if they have experienced more than 10% unemployment in the past 12 months
The bill prohibits construction industries from using the program in seasonal locations or occupations
The bill will increase the baseline of the wages offered to at least 150% of the minimum wage being offered at the federal or state level, whichever is higher
The bill will require wage compliance with a collaborative bargaining agreement for your industry in your geographic area, even if you are not a concerned party in the agreement
The bill also bans any participation in the program for labor/workforce related violations outside the scope of the H-2B Visa program