It was actually a strange day for me today. After a hectic week trying to get most of our H2B visa cases ready for filing, I was actually dreaming about this at night. In my dream all H2B visas were gone on Monday morning and all the angry employers are burning tires in front of my office.
Well, when I arrived to the office on Monday, I realized that my dream has become a reality. No not the tires burning, but the H2B cap was reached. Many of the employers waiting so patiently to file for new temporary workers, will need to wait for April and loose million of dollars as a result. I was furious, but we need to start planning ahead and help the clients deal with this crisis.
Not only they announced that there are no more H2B visas for the first part of the year. The returning workers provision was not renewed this year for the first time in three years. Congress has not reauthorized or extended the “returning worker” provisions for FY2008. As a result of the expiration of the “returning worker” provisions, however, all petitions requesting H-2B workers for new employment with an employment start date of October 1, 2007 or later (e.g. FY2008 employment) will be counted toward the annual H-2B cap of 66,000 for FY2008, whether or not they would be recognized as H-2B “returning workers” under the provisions of law currently applicable to FY2007 start dates.
This is a death sentence to many of our Hospitality, Construction, Entertainment and other industries that rely on these workers to keep their companies going. We urge all employers to write to their representatives demanding H2B visa reform immediately. You need to call, send letters demonstrate, burn tires (maybe not), but this has to get to Congress and something has to be done fast.
I will be organizing a task force with local employers in order to help change the current cao system for the H1B and H2B visa systems. Volunteers are welcome.