Advocacy: National

H-2B Cap Hit, Your Help is Needed Today!

Monday, January 16, 2017  

Please call, write, and tweet your senators and representative today. Urge them to renew the H-2B Returning Worker Exemption immediately and spare small and seasonal businesses and their American employees the devastating economic consequences associated with a lack of access to H-2B workers.

The 33,000 cap for the first half of fiscal year 2017 was reached on January 10, which means that with limited exceptions seasonal businesses who petitioned USCIS for workers after January 10 and before April 1, will not get their H-2B workers. We expect many companies could also be shut out of the second half cap, which begins on April 1. Cap relief requires legislation to be signed into law. We will not have cap relief unless Congress acts.

Who is Impacted by the First Half Cap?

According to USCIS, the cap for the first half of the fiscal year was reached on January 10.  The agency said that it will reject new H-2B petitions received after January 10, 2017 that request an employment start date before April 1, 2017, except for the following petitions that are exempt from the cap:

  • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers.
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing.
  • Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.          

What Can I Do?

  • Call your Senators and Representative and ask them to renew the H-2B returning worker exemption immediately. If you do not know their direct numbers, you can reach them through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121. Once connected to the office, ask to speak to the person who handles H-2B issues and stress the immediate need to renew the returning worker exemption. If you were shut out of the program in the past, or expect to be shut out this year, please explain the costs suffered by your company and your American workers. Please be as specific as you can about the role this program plays in your business. Congress must understand that failure to renew the exemption will result in American job losses.
  • Encourage your employees, co-workers, customers and suppliers to also call their Senators and Representatives. Without H-2B workers, American jobs are at risk, companies may not be able to fulfill obligations to customers and they may scale back on purchases of equipment and supplies.
  • Set up meetings locally with your Senators and Representative. Schedule a meeting with your elected officials in their district offices and stress the importance of the returning worker exemption to your business, American workers and customers.
  • Email your Senators and Representative. Stress the immediate need to renew the returning worker exemption. If you were shut out of the program in the past, or expect to be shut out this year, please explain the costs suffered by your company and your American workers. Please be as specific as you can about the role this program plays in your business. Congress must understand that failure to renew the exemption will result in American job losses.
  • Tweet at your Senators and Representative using #SaveH2B. You can find their twitter address at: https://twitter.com/verified/lists/us-congress/members. Some sample tweets are below.
    • H-2B Cap Hit! Congress must renew the H-2B returning worker exemption now! #saveH2B
    • 82% of H-2B visa workers are returning workers – proof that they are treated well. #saveH2B
    • The H-2B program relies on workers who come to the U.S. for seasonal work, then go home. #saveH2B
    • Every H-2B worker creates and sustains 4.64 American jobs. Renew the H-2B returning worker exemption now! #saveH2B
    • #saveH2B and save American Jobs! Renew the H-2B returning worker exemption now!
    • H-2B program = more American jobs. Renew the H-2B returning worker exemption now. #saveH2B
    • H-2B workers support American jobs. Renew the H-2B returning worker exemption now #saveH2B
    • Save the spring and summer. Renew the H-2B returning worker exemption now! #saveH2B

Thank You Sponsors and Exhibitors