The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) is pleased that the House Appropriations Committee adopted critical H-2B relief language in fiscal year ‘23 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Bill. The language would provide cap relief at a reasonable time during peak season, which would greatly help business related to the Thoroughbred industry.H-2B workers fill many backside positions that are vital to the day-to-day operations of racing stables across the country.
“Everywhere I go I hear how labor is nearly impossible to find,” said NTRA President & CEO Tom Rooney. “It is so important for the Thoroughbred industry to get backside positions through the H-2B visa program. I am encouraged by the committee’s inclusion of the H-2B relief language and NTRA will continue to engage with lawmakers to find a permanent solution.”
On Friday, June 24, 2022, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment that would extend the current discretionary language that allows for an extension of the cap for FY ‘23 on H-2B visas. If it becomes law, the Secretary of Homeland Security will be required to issue guidance implementing this section no later than 60 days after enactment and will be immediately effective upon its publication. House leaders hope to have a full vote on this spending bill in July and if passed it would then move to the Senate for consideration. In addition, following the relief language adoption, unions expressed a commitment to work with lawmakers as well as industry to try and negotiate a permanent cap solution beginning in July.
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, trainers rely heavily on the H-2B program to fill various backside positions.