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H-2B coalition voices disappointment over worker exemption setback, looming government shutdown

By Brock Huffstutler

October 1, 2023

The H-2B visa coalition, on which the American Rental Association (ARA) participates as a member of the steering committee, supports Returning Worker Exemption, which would simplify the H-2B visa program for businesses seeking seasonal help by exempting certain workers from the annual numerical limit on visas.

During 2023, the coalition’s focus has been to support the addition of provisions into the U.S. House of Representatives’ FY 2024 appropriations bill funding the Department of Homeland Security that would enhance the returning worker provisions of the program.

The coalition learned that on Wednesday, Sept. 27, the language it had been pursuing through the appropriations committee regarding Returning Worker Exemption was stripped out of the bill’s language.

Members of the H-2B visa coalition have expressed disappointment with the action and have issued the following statement across social media platforms:

“The H-2B Workforce Coalition is disappointed over Wednesday night’s turn of events. While we appreciate that the House of Representatives chose to include the status quo on H-2B cap relief, the returning worker provisions that were considered before the House Appropriations Committee would have provided much more workforce certainty for the businesses we represent. It is unfortunate that many members of the House of Representatives are so indifferent to the workforce challenges plaguing their constituents back home.”

The H-2B visa coalition also has communicated with the leaders of Congress concerning the possible shutdown of the U.S. government. The coalition has submitted a letter to Congressional leaders stressing the essential nature of H-2B program processing and risk of significant harm to the country if the government shuts down, effectively halting the program.