Support advocacy effort to pass the “returning worker” exemption in the H-2B Visa process.

Support advocacy effort to pass the “returning worker” exemption in the H-2B Visa process. – Message from Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce

The H-2B Non-agricultural Seasonal Workers program is a critical tool by which our regional employers augment their seasonal labor needs in the hospitality industry. These workers, who come back to work on the Cape for the same employers, year after year, are the backbone of the regional workforce. Cape employers do not need to train or familiarize these experienced workers with the employer’s business or service model.

The H-2B visa program is extremely problematic this year. Critically, the “returning worker” provision enacted by Congress for the 2016 season, which exempts returning H-2B workers from the annual CAP, ended and is currently not available for the 2017 season. We anticipate that the hard CAP for H-2B workers will be exhausted by early March. Once the CAP is met, we believe Cape and Island employers will be shorthanded 1,000 to 1,500 proven and reliable seasonal workers, which will have a cascading effect on an already tight labor market.

Mac Hay (Mac’s Seafood in Wellfleet) and several other local businesses have created a grassroots regional effort, the New England Seasonal Business Coalition, which has hired a DC lobbying firm to re-enact the “returning worker” provision and to make other business friendly changes to the H-2B worker visa program. We have vetted their efforts and feel that they can be trusted with our support.

We have made a contribution to their efforts and share with you their website outlining the issue and efforts to date: newenglandseasonalbusiness.org/main-index
Disclaimer: The information contained in this email is intended to educate the public and our members generally and is not intended to provide legal advice or counseling to any individual, company or situation. The information provided should be of general interest and no information or claim should be relied upon for any specific situation. Readers are strongly advised not to attempt to solve problems on the basis of information contained herein. Each reader should seek competent legal counsel so that specific matters and facts can be analyzed for appropriate legal advice.

Author: Mashpee Chamber of Commerce

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