the Editor's Desk
As the world economy is going from bad to
worse, people around the globe have their
eyes glued with hope on the ‘American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act of 2009’.
More than 1 million jobs were lost in last
few months in the US alone. With the economy
in the shape that it is, there are not many
job openings available right now, and for
those that are available there are often more
than 1000 people that apply for a single position.
Lots of employees are “on the bench,” trying
hard to find any contract position. But not
many positions are open in the job market.
Many economists believe that this is just
the beginning, anticipating that the unemployment
rate will increase even more in coming months.
But there is something which has brought
certain relief to seasonal workers seeking
temporary jobs in the United States. Yes,
you got it right, I am talking about the H-2B
legislation introduced in the Senate in February.
H-2B Legislation Introduced In the
U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD.)
and Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced the Save
Our Small and Seasonal Business Act of 2009
legislation (S.388) designed to protect small
and seasonal businesses from a devastating
cut to their workforce by providing an exemption
for returning seasonal workers. The Save our
Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2009,
was introduced February 5, 2009, and currently
has 31 co-sponsors. A related bill, H.R.1136,
was introduced in the House of Representatives
by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) on February 23,
2009. Both bills have been referred to their
respective Judiciary Committees.
“This bill protects our borders, protects
American jobs, and rewards people who play
by the rules,” Senator Mikulski
said. “Without these seasonal workers, many
businesses will not survive—they’ll be forced
to limit services, lay off permanent U.S.
workers or, worse yet, close their doors.
As our nation confronts the most severe economic
problems in generations, it is critically
important that our government take bold steps
to protect American jobs and small businesses.
My bill does just that.”
“In times of economic turmoil, it is important
to address the needs of the small businesses
that constitute the backbone of our national
economy,” Senator Specter
said. “This bill will provide businesses with
the resources necessary for continued growth
and expansion. I look forward to working with
my colleagues in the Senate on this important
The Save Our Small and Seasonal Business
Act of 2009 will:
- Extend the H2B Returning Worker Exemption
that expired on September 20, 2007 for an
additional three years;
- Revise the “three year qualifying period”
to include H2R workers, in addition to H2B
workers. H2R visas are issued to workers
who have possessed an H2B visa for the previous
three fiscal years, and are returning to
the United States to work; and
- Firmly cap the program based on the economic
needs of the United States, guaranteeing
that employers can fill the positions with
H2B and H2R workers only when no American
workers are available to fill them.
Seasonal workers are crucial for the success
of many small and seasonal businesses. Without
seasonal workers during peak periods, many
businesses cannot afford to employ American
workers the rest of the year. Over the past
several years, the seasonal worker visa program
has come under increasing stress with the
number of applicants reaching statutory caps
earlier in the year. For the second half of
the 2009 fiscal year, the cap was reached
on January 7th. Because of this, businesses
whose peak seasons come later in the year
are often unable to get the workers they need
to keep their businesses going.
“Small businesses need our help,” Senator
Mikulski said. “Companies in Maryland
and around the country are unable to get the
H2B visas, and workers, they need and depend
on because of bureaucratic red tape and slowdowns.
Small and seasonal businesses are counting
on us. We need to resolve this problem so
we can reward people who are playing by the
rules, instead of letting them down.”
Senator Mikulski first introduced the Save
Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act
in 2004 to address this problem. It was signed
into law by President Bush in May 2005, making
significant changes to the federal H2B visa
program, including: exempting returning seasonal
workers from counting against the national
cap of 66,000 visas; creating new anti-fraud
provisions; and ensuring a fair allocation
of H2B visas among spring and summer employees.
So let us hope that the unemployment trend,
if not reversed, at least comes to a halt.
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to your address book or safe list.
Get geared up for an exciting year
USCIS Urges H-2A and H-2B Petitioners to Use the New Form I-129
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) remind employers who participate in the H-2A agricultural temporary worker program and the H-2B nonagricultural temporary worker program to use the new Form I-129, “Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker,” which contains the H Classification Supplement.
Read More News
H2B Visa - What impact did the DHS’ final rule have on H2B visa requirements?
Late last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule, “Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2B Nonimmigrants,” which gave the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to publish a list of ‘designated’ countries whose residents could be beneficiaries of H-2B visas. The net effect of the H-2B final rule appears to benefit foreign nationals seeking to enter the US in H-2B status, however it will be harder to gain approval of a petition for an alien not from a country on the approved list. In this article we will discuss the additional requirements for the foreign nationals participating in the H-2B visa program who are not from a country on the list of eligible countries.
Read Full Article
Questions and Answers
What are the limitations of H-2B
Ans: The limitations of
H-2B visa are:
- The job must be temporary in nature and
the employer's need must be for one year
or less. The employer’s need may not be
ongoing or continuous.
- The employer has the burden of establishing
the facts necessary to support a finding
that the need is a one-time occurrence,
seasonal, peak load or intermittent need.
- H-2B time counts whether you are in the
U.S. or abroad.
- H-2B dependents may not work in the U.S.
H2B Myths and Reality
Myth: The H-2B program encourages
Reality: The H-2B program
discourages illegal immigration. This job
classification offers employers the one legal
means to fill peak workload job vacancies.
Without the H-2B program employers would be
forced to violate labor laws by hiring illegal
workers in order to remain in business. Also,
in order to continue to use this work program,
employers must ensure that their workers return
home at the end of their stay. An unfavorable
return rate often leads to the State Department
taking action against the employer. The words
"Non-Immigrant Worker" mean that the work
does not stay in country! And if the worker
is terminated, the law states the employer
must pay for their immediate return to their