Article : ANLA Concerned over H-2B Changes

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ANLA Concerned over H-2B Changes

The American Nursery and Landscape Association is expressing concern over changes to the H-2B program, changes that the U.S. Department of Labor says will increase worker protections.

The American Nursery and Landscape Association is expressing concern over potential changes to the guest worker H-2B program.

In a letter to ANLA members, Craig Regelbrugge, vice president for government relations and research at the association, said the changes to the H-2B program will “effectively slash the safety net that many landscape professionals and other seasonal employers turn to when they cannot find enough seasonal workers.”

Regelbrugge said experts fear that the new rules will render the program unworkable. The changes, published on Feb. 21, will take effect 60 days later.

Changes to the program include:

  • The maximum term of employment for an H-2B worker is shortened from 10 months to nine.

  • A streamlined “attestation” process established in 2008 will be scuttled and replaced with two separate approval processes; the first requires the employer to register and prove a seasonal or peak employment need, and the second involves a lengthy and cumbersome application for a labor certification and more extensive recruitment efforts.

  • Employers must pay H-2B workers in-bound and outbound transportation costs, subsistence costs, visa and other costs. This requirement also applies to U.S. workers who do not live near the place of employment. If lodging is provided by H-2B workers, the same lodging must be provided to U.S. workers who do not live near the workplace.

  • The H-2B workers must be given full time work, defined as more than 35 hours per week.

  • The H-2B program allows the entry of foreign workers into the United States on a temporary basis when qualified U.S. workers are not available, and the employment of those foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. The H-2B program is limited by law to a cap of 66,000 visas per year.
    “The H-2B program is designed to help businesses when there is a temporary shortage of U.S. workers,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The rule announced today (Feb. 15) will ensure that the program is used as intended by making these jobs more accessible to U.S. workers and providing stronger protections for every worker.”

    Older Comments
    Name: MATT BAGSHAWWrote in with general comment
    Comment: The changes to the h2b program will hurt our company badly. They keep making this program tougher and tougher to use. We have jumped through all the different hoops they have thrown at us over the last decade or so, and this latest round of changes will have drastic consequences. Local workers do not want to do the seasonal work that we offer. We have physical proof to back this up. H2b workers actually help the economy, because their steady general labor allows us to hire managers, designers, mechanics and office staff to support the h2b workers and general laborers. We have talked with several of our local legislators, and nobody seems to understand that local workers will not do these jobs period! We have tried to talk to our legislators about this, but our concerns seem to go un-noticed. We would gladly help in any way we can to stop this legislation.


    June 29, 2016, 8:49 am EST

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