H-2B Workforce Coalition Publishes “Reform Principles”

The H-2B Workforce Coalition, in the governance of which FRA participates, recently finalized and published Principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, presenting background on:

  • why a program facilitating season entry of guestworkers to fill employment gaps in seasonal businesses—such as the handplanting of tree seedlings—is important to domestic industries; and
  • why it sustains employment of U.S. workers, rather than displaces them.

The document advocates:

  • Avoiding the imposition of “costly burdensome new requirements on employers”;
  • Using market-based quotas for the numbers of guestworker visas made available each year, rather than arbitrary quotas;
  • Setting guestworker wage rates on economic realities and local markets, not on “arbitrary formulas”;
  • Keeping guestworker visa applications confidential “to prevent businesses from being harassed by outside organizations”; and
  • Strong enforcement of all related rules.

Apart from participating in appeals in federal Circuit Courts of both the H-2B Program Rule and Wage Rule, Coalition members are working with Senate leaders on immigration reform to include favorable changes in the H-2B guestworker program within any comprehensive immigration reform proposal. Whether or not H-2B employers succeed in striking down the Department of Labor’s new rules governing the program, a superior statutory framework would provide the basis for the next step in making the program workable.

More at this link.