LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2016) – President Obama signed a continuing resolution (CR) this week to fund the federal government through December 9. The CR is an extension of last year’s omnibus appropriations bill that expires today, September 30.
The H-2B visa returning worker exemption was not renewed in the CR. This provision is important to horse trainers who use these visas to hire grooms, exercise riders and other stable hands at the racetrack when they are unable to find qualified American workers. Last year’s omnibus appropriations bill included a provision that exempted certain qualified workers from the H-2B visa cap of 66,000.
Relief from the cap is important for H-2B visa employers because demand for H-2B visas often exceeds supply.
Despite the absence of the returning worker exemption, the CR does include these H-2B provisions:
- Those paying H-2B wages are required to base wages on the job category and experience level required and not on an artificially inflated media wage;
- Seasonal employment is defined as 10 months of employment, as opposed to nine months;
- The Department of Labor (DOL) is prevented from implementing the provisions of the 2015 H-2B rules related to corresponding employment and the 3/4 guarantee requiring a set number of work hours; and
- DOL is prohibited from implementing a burdensome new enforcement scheme related to auditing of employers and certifying officer (CO) assisted recruitment.
Congress may reinstate the H-2B returning worker exemption later this year. The NTRA will communicate any related developments as they occur.