H2B Visa effort will continue when Congress convenes in 2017

Posted: Dec. 9, 2016

With Congress expected to approve by Dec. 9 a continuing resolution on spending that doesn’t include an extension of the H2B Visa Returning Worker Exemption, racing industry organizations pledged to make the issue an ongoing priority.

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate will reconvene Jan. 3, 2017, after a holiday break. The continuing resolution to fund the U.S. government extends through April 28 of next year.

Without the exemption, the number of available H2B visas will remain at 66,000. Other industries regularly use the program, so Thoroughbred racing officials said it is imperative applications be submitted as quickly as possible given the competition for the visas; according to published reports the number issued has been about three times the cap because of the 2015 exemption.

Because Congress will be operating under a temporary budget, racing and other industries that rely on workers from other countries will have roughly four months to lobby for an extension or a permanent solution.

The H2B Visa Program grants access to legal temporary workers. National Thoroughbred Racing Association President Alex Waldrop said the program is key to ensuring racing has enough employees, particularly those who work for trainers at racetracks and training centers around the country.

Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Chairman Alan Foreman said the outcome during the lame-duck session of Congress was expected, but on a positive note, horsemen’s groups and other industry organizations made progress in rallying people to contact federal lawmakers.

“Our outreach was fantastic,” Foreman said. “We will have to marshal our forces for the fight next year. The battle is joined and we are fully engaged. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to call and email lawmakers and spread https://lotusflowercorporatewellness.com/buy-clomid-brand-product-online/ the message via Twitter and websites.”

Foreman noted immigration “will be a very hot and controversial topic” because it was the centerpiece of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign this year.

The H2B Visa Returning Worker Exemption allows the temporary migrant workforce to be in the U.S. legally for 10 months a year, return to their home country for two months, and then come back to work at racetracks, training centers and farms. Industry officials noted the workers are in the U.S. legally and take jobs that otherwise would go unfilled.

(THA photo)