Industry NewsSenate Introduces Bill to Reform H-2B Visa Program

Senate Introduces Bill to Reform H-2B Visa Program

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The H-2B Workforce Coalition, an alliance of more than 40 various industry associations focused on protecting American workers by ensuring American small and seasonal employers have access to legal short-term temporary employees during peak business periods, issued the following statement supporting S. 792the Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act. The legislation was introduced by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Thune (R-SD), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mark Warner (D-VA), and is designed to help seasonal employers better navigate the H-2B temporary non-agricultural visa program and increase certainty for small businesses by allowing seasonal employers to better prepare for fluctuations in demand.

“The Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act is balanced and commonsense legislation that will restore clarity and predictability for landscape and other seasonal businesses relying on the H-2B program to legally fill high-season labor needs. My colleagues across the country and I join in thanking Senators King, Cassidy, and especially Senator Tillis, for their leadership,” said Daniel Currin of Greenscape Inc., Holly Springs, N.C.

“Maine small businesses like mine rely on seasonal workers to support our domestic staff during peak season,” said Bob Smith, Owner and ‘Lighthouse Keeper’ of the Sebasco Harbor Resort. “The Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act will provide much needed reforms to the H-2B seasonal worker visa programs and help protect my business and our 130 domestic employees who need that additional support. I thank Senators Angus King and Susan Collins and their cosponsors for their thoughtful leadership on this issue, as well as the entire Maine delegation, on both sides of the aisle, for their support.”

“The H-2B visa program is crucial to our business,” said Jennifer Jenkins of Crystal Seas Seafood. “Without the H-2B program to supplement our American workforce, our business would not be able to operate. We hire every local available to process oysters. However, there aren’t enough locals to fill the open positions. If we cannot process the oysters then we will not need maintenance, managers, supervisors, truck drivers, sales or office associates. I would like to express my complete gratitude to Senators for their support and hard work in moving this important bill through the legislative process. We are one step closer to saving so many small businesses like mine.”

“As an industry that supports 8 million jobs across the nation and has seen dynamic growth and economic development over the past several years, the hotel industry’s success can be largely attributed to the hardworking employees and workforce that run and operate our lodging facilities, particularly during peak tourism seasons,” said Brian Crawford, vice president of government and political affairs at the American Hotel & Lodging Association and co-chair of the H-2B Workforce Coalition. “Lodging industry employers always look first to the U.S. workforce to fill critical job functions during peak seasons at hotels, but in many instances, there are no workers available. The H-2B program provides valuable support for businesses looking to supplement their workforce with temporary seasonal employees. We commend Senators Tillis, Cassidy and King for bipartisan legislation that provides clarity and much-needed reforms to the H-2B program in order to help American employers recruit workers for temporary employment in this country to run successful businesses.”

“Our members in the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, applauds this bipartisan group of Senators for their leadership to help fix the H-2B visa program crisis we face, every year, to fully staffing our small seasonal, family businesses supporting America’s fairs, festivals and community events, said Robert Johnson, president and CEO of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association. “The economic impact to our industry, with not having this reliable, trained workforce year after year, is in the billions of dollars. Generations of family businesses in the mobile amusement industry support this legislation and this legal, guest worker program.”

More AAHOACON 2021 Coverage