April 20, 2021: On behalf of the 2,500+ small and seasonal businesses the Seasonal Employment Alliance represents, we want to thank the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor for recognizing the dire straits of seasonal employers by releasing 22,000 additional H-2B visas. Although this doesn’t meet the demand of the 60,000+ open positions, we applaud the administration for prioritizing the needs of America’s small businesses as we seek to do our part to help build back better.
Beneficiaries of the additional visa release, such as the Stage Neck Inn in York, ME, would be able to expand room inventory and restore full restaurant service. Landscapers, such as Grunder’s Landscaping of Dayton, OH, would be able to retain their thirty-five full-time, year-round American workers. Long established family-owned and operated small businesses, such as Grandy’s Farm Market of Grandy, NC, would be able to open their doors. Seafood processors, such as Captain Charlie’s Seafood of Engelhard, NC, would now be able to meet production demands and sustain the local fisherman who depend on them to buy their crabs. This is, if they are fortunate enough to win the second lottery.
Unfortunately, due to only 22,000 visas being released, the majority of capped out seasonal employers will still not receive their workers and will have to cancel contracts, reduce room inventory, lay off full-time, year-round American workers and in some cases, permanently downsize.
American workers are the direct beneficiary of the additional visa release. H-2B workers do not take American jobs, they create American jobs. As the research overwhelming shows, every H-2B worker supports the jobs of between 3.2 and 4.6 American workers. To receive a certification from DOL, employers are required to canvass the local labor market and preferentially hire qualified American workers. For the benefit of the American worker and the economy, we urge DHS to release the full number of visas authorized by Congress and finalize the supplemental visa rule as soon as possible, because in this current economy, every step must be taken to facilitate economic growth and save American jobs. Time is of the essence. If the rule is published by mid-May, employers will be able to receive their workers by the busy Memorial Day weekend.