On Friday, December 9, Congress passed its second continuing resolution of the year, extending short-term government funding through April 28, 2017. Unfortunately, for clubs who currently use H-2B visa workers, Congress did not include what is known as the “returning worker” provision.
This provision would continue to have exempted H-2B workers identified as “returning workers” from the annual H-2B cap of 66,000 visas. A “returning worker” is defined as an H-2B worker who was previously counted against the annual H-2B cap of 66,000 visas during the previous three fiscal years.
The provision was last enacted as part of the FY2016 budget deal in December 2015.
In previous years, when the returning worker provision was not in effect, the annual cap was routinely met, which prevented further applications being approved and leaving many seasonal businesses, like clubs, without sufficient workforces. Over the course of 2016, the program also suffered from significant processing delays, again hampering the businesses that rely on the program.
When Congress returns in January, they will begin working on the full FY2017 budget.