A series of current H-2B visa program provisions are set to continue as part of omnibus legislation passed Monday by Congress.
- H-2B visa program policies set to continue include:
- Authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL), to increase the H-2B cap for fiscal year 2021 by up to approximately 69,000 visas if it determines that the needs of seasonal businesses cannot be met with U.S. workers;
- Continuation of the use of private wage surveys for prevailing wage determinations;
- A prohibition against DOL enforcing the corresponding employment and three-quarters guarantee provisions of its H-2B regulations relating to total work hours; and
- Provisions extending the maximum employment season for up to 10 months, as opposed the nine-months in current DOL regulations.
The H-2B visa guest worker program is a nonimmigrant visa program used by many industries that need temporary non-agricultural help when domestic workers are unavailable. For the horse racing industry, racehorse trainers rely heavily on the H-2B program to fill various backside positions. Demand for H-2B visas often exceeds their availability and the cap level is quickly reached, leaving employers without sufficient help.
The NTRA, through its involvement with the H-2B Workforce Coalition, supports efforts for comprehensive reform of the guest worker visa program.