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H2B Newsletter - Monthly Updates on Seasonal Labor Immigration.

 

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From the Editor's Desk

 

Immigrants have been hit harder than native-born Americans by the economic recession, with larger increases in joblessness among both educated and uneducated workers, according to a recent study.

 

L. Gordon Crovitz, former WSJ publisher and current Dow Jones VP, in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal last week titled “We Need an Immigration Stimulus,” makes the case that protectionism doesn’t bolster US economic growth and that, in our current economic downturn, immigration reform and economic growth are closely tied together.

 

Crovitz makes the point that an economic downturn is the right time to move on immigration, one of the few policy tools that could clearly boost growth. Statistics show that the pace of lower-skilled migration has slowed due to rising unemployment. This could make it less contentious to ease the path to legalization for the estimated 12 million undocumented workers and their families currently in the US. He also questions why we turn away skilled workers, including the ones earning 60% of the advanced degrees in engineering at US universities.

 

It is worth pointing out the demographic shortfall: Immigrants are a smaller proportion of the US population than in periods such as the late 1890s and 1910s, when immigrants gave the economy a jolt of growth.

 

Restrictionists love to chant, “They’re taking our jobs!” which unnecessarily stoke the flames of recessionary fear, however, several leading economists and numerous studies have clearly indicated that providing a path to US citizenship for undocumented workers would improve wages and working conditions for all seasonal and temporary workers, increase tax revenues for cash-strapped federal, state and local governments and enable newly legalized workers to spend more on American goods and services.

 

Crovitz goes so far as to lay out the beneficial roles immigrants have consistently played in the growth of our economy:

  1. Immigrants have had a disproportionate role in innovation and technology. Companies founded by immigrants include Yahoo, eBay and Google.

  2. Half of Silicon Valley start-ups were founded by immigrants, up from 25% a decade ago.

  3. Some 40% of patents in the US are awarded to immigrants.

  4. A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation found that immigrants are 50% likelier to start businesses than native born Americans.

Immigrant-founded technology firms currently employ 450,000 workers in the US. And according to the National Venture Capital Association, immigrants have started one quarter of all US venture-backed firms.

 

On Thursday, May 21, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship will hold a hearing, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009: Can We Do It and How?” to examine common sense solutions to our nation’s immigration problems.

 

With Chairman Sen. Charles Schumer presiding and an impressive panel of experts, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, SEIU’s Eliseo Medina and Dr. Joel Hunter of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, we hope the panel will start the debate on repackaging immigration reform in the form of an economic stimulus, following Crovitz’s cue, and consider immigration reform in context to a robust and growing US economy rather than a protectionist reflection of our current recession.

 

Today’s information technologies, a major part of the US economy, thrive as innovators share new ideas and make businesses out of them. Much of this activity is being done by foreign nationals who want to become economically successful Americans. This makes a more open immigration system one of the few stimulus packages Washington can deliver with confidence that it would help end the recession.

 

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News Bulletin

 

The H-2B Visa Reform

 

The H-2B visa program is vital to America’s small businesses and thus to America’s economic recovery. Even in this tough economic time, seasonal positions remain unfilled, leaving these businesses desperately in need of workers. Unlike the hiring of American workers, small business owners must go through a tough application process to hire foreign workers through the H-2B program. Without access to more temporary H-2B workers, many small businesses will be extremely short-staffed this year and could be forced to close. For small businesses, relief must come now so that America’s employers can get the seasonal temporary workers they need to help in America’s economic recovery.

 

Read More News

 

 

Featured Article

 

Seasonal Businesses Cannot Survive Without H2B Temporary Workers

 

The debate over increasing the number of workers that can be brought into U.S. through the H2B program is heating up. The demand for H2B workers has greatly outstripped the number of visas, currently 66,000, which Congress makes available each year.

 

Read Full Article | Read More Articles

 

 

Questions and Answers

 

Can the DOL develop a process to accelerate the labor certification process for occupations where there is currently a labor shortage?

 

Ans:In essence, in the view of the DOL, there is a labor shortage for every position included on a labor certification application. To ensure fairness to each employer that applies for temporary labor certification under the H-2B program, all applications are processed on a first in, first out basis, with no exceptions. Employers are encouraged to ensure that they have submitted a complete application package to avoid any unnecessary delay.

 

More Q&A

 

 

H2B Myths and Reality

 

Myth: If there are unemployed Americans then there is no need for non-immigrant workers.

 

Reality:H-2B positions are short-term positions. These jobs seldom lead to full-time, gainful employment. A presently unemployed person accepting one of these positions will more than likely be unemployed again within 3-6 months because the job has ended. The point of a job search is to find an opportunity where an individual will remain employed. In addition, a professional, who has been recently laid off, more than likely does not want to work for three months at the beach hot dog stand. Unemployed individuals are searching for circumstances that are similar to their previous work environments.

Finally, many H-2B positions are in areas where unemployed individuals are not. For example, resort communities seldom have high unemployment rates because these are very transient communities. At most beach and ski resorts the actual population in these towns is very low, leaving not enough individuals to cover the peak workload. Furthermore, there are many other H-2B jobs that are located in remote areas of the country (i.e. the forests of Maine, the coast of Alaska). The bottom line is this: H-2B employers want to hire as many Americans as possible.

 

 
IN THIS ISSUE
News Bulletin
Featured Article
Questions and Answers
H2B Myths and Reality

 

 

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THE H2B QUIZ

Test your knowledge about the H-2B visa by answering The H2B Quiz question.

 

Does the H-2B visa process require the employer to file a labor certification?

 

Submit your response to the query above. The best response and the sender’s name will be published in the next Express H2B Newsletter.

 

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Winner of the THE H2B QUIZ - April 2009:

Sufiyaan Azeem

The Question:

Can a foreign national who entered the US on H-2B visa, apply for an employment based Green Card?

The Winning Response:
No, a foreign national who has entered into the US on an H-2B visa cannot apply for an employment based green card, based on the position that is the basis for the H-2B visa.  The H-2B is a temporary and seasonal workers’ visa does not support the doctrine of dual intent.

 

 

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