Senator Demands Explanation Regarding H-2B Visa Program Problems

Senator Demands Explanation Regarding H-2B Visa Program Problems

A U.S. Senator has demanded that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) explain why it has not handled the H-2B visa program according to expectations. According to the Senator, this management has caused a labor shortage for tourist businesses during the summer. The Senator also emphasized this time of year as the busiest for most impacted businesses.

The H-2B visa program allows eligible employers in the United States to bring foreign national workers into the country to fill temporary non-agricultural positions. Here are the conditions an employer must meet to qualify for H-2B classification:

  • Demonstrate insufficient U.S. workers ready, willing, and qualified to do the temporary work.
  • Employing H-2B workers would not harm the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States with similar jobs.
  • The employer only requires the services of the H-2B worker temporarily, regardless of whether the underlying job is temporary. 

These clarifications require the employer’s need to be a one-time occurrence, seasonal demand, peak load, or intermittent need.

The DOL should issue a notice within seven business days when employers file applications. However, data indicates that the DOL has yet to process filed applications from April 30 onward. The Director of Government Affairs for a non-profit trade association also voiced concern about the DOL’s slow action. Representing the hospitality industry in Maine, the Director worried about the shortage of time to help businesses acquire needed temporary workers this summer.

He also emphasized the importance of the H-2B program to Maine. He claimed that much of the state’s money is made during the summer and comes from the restaurant and lodging industries. The Director then revealed that Maine generally needs 2,500 H-2B workers in the summer so businesses can fill positions that local workers cannot.

According to Senator Collins, the Labor Department is seeking additional funding. However, it has not evaluated the problem with the program and what it can and must do to fix it. Collins and other senators demand that the Acting Secretary of Labor provide some answers by June 23.

Employers hiring H-2B workers must remember to complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process for all new hires. However, this process has proven complicated for foreign national workers due to the many documents they may use to complete the process. The best way to ensure completed and correct Form I-9s is to use an electronic I-9 management system. It guides employers through the entire process. The tool also stores the form and accompanying documentation for later use.

Streamline your hiring process with an automated employment eligibility verification and ensure compliance today with I-9Compliance.