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The Legislative Report blog provides timely information on federal and state legislation and regulations and state trends as well as the myriad issues affecting the private club industry. A companion to CMAA's Legislative website, this resource should be your first stop for any information regarding legal, tax or legislative club-specific issues.

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Bills Would Make Returning Worker Exemption Permanent

(Congress, Immigration) Permanent link

 

 

take-actionSenators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Angus King (I-ME) have introduced s.792, the “Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017.”

In the House of Representatives, Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Andy Harris (R-MD), Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH) sponsored HR 2004, the "Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (Season) Act."

This bipartisan legislation is designed to make substantial reforms, aimed to help seasonal employers better navigate the H-2B visa program, including the reinstatement of the “returning worker exemption.”

This provision allows workers who have successfully used the program in the past to be exempted from the annual cap of 66,000 visas. The exemption was in place in FY2016, but Congress failed to extend the provision for FY2017.

As of March 13, H-2B visas have been exhausted for the 2017 fiscal year which may severely impact seasonal businesses including clubs and hospitality in securing workers for their summer seasons.   

Register your support for this measure with your US Senator through www.clubindustryvotes.org


 


H-2B Visa Cap Met for FY2017

(Congress, Immigration) Permanent link
hb2 out of stock


US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the H-2B visa cap for the 2017 fiscal year had been reached. The final receipt date was March 13, 2017. Currently, the H-2B visa cap set by Congress is 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30). 

Earlier this month, US Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and a bipartisan group of 29 senators requested that the Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly conduct an audit to determine the number of unused visas during the first half of FY2017. They requested that any unused visas be made available immediately. Previous audits of this nature have discovered unused visas. 

With the cap met, no additional H-2B visas will be available until October 1, 2017. 

Senators Ask for Audit as H-2B Cap Looms

(Congress, Immigration) Permanent link

 HB2 Audit


US Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and a bipartisan group of 29 senators have requested an audit to determine the number of unused visas during the first half of FY2017. The Senators sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, outlining concerns that the second half of FY2017 H-2B visa statutory cap will be reached soon. They requested that any unused visas be made available immediately. Previous audits of this nature have discovered unused visas. 

In the letter, the Senators cited input from small businesses that “will likely be locked out of a necessary program that they rely on during their busiest seasons. Failure to access these critical workers will harm small businesses, American workers, and the economy.”

Currently, the H-2B visa cap set by Congress is 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30). On January 10, the H-2B visa cap for the first half of the 2017 fiscal year was reached.

With the cap looming, it is evident that small businesses and clubs could be shut out of this program for the remainder of FY2017. CMAA supports the congressional extension of the expired returning worker provision, which exempts workers who previously used the program to be exempt from the cap. Congress opted not to extend this provision for FY2017. 

H-2B Visa Cap Met for First Half of FY2017

(Dept of Labor, Immigration) Permanent link

H-2B Visa Cap Met

On January 10, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the H-2B visa cap for the first half of the 2017 fiscal year had been reached. Currently, the H-2B visa cap set by Congress is 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30). Any unused visas from the first half of the fiscal year will be made available for use by employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year. However, there is no carry over to the next fiscal year.

This announcement does not impact any H-2B worker petitions received by the USCIS prior to January 10 or any employees with a start date of April 1, 2017, or later. As well, USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap including current H-2B workers who are petitioning to extend their stays and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers.

In FY2016, Congress had enacted the returning worker provision which exempted H-2B visa workers who had previously used the program to be exempt from the cap. However, Congress opted not to extend this provision for FY2017.

Congress Allows H-2B Visa Returning Worker Exemption to Expire

(Congress, Immigration, Regulation) Permanent link

Waitstaff


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.

Expanding the Advocacy Resources

(501(c)(7) Tax Exempt Club Info, Health Care Reform, ADA, Congress, State Trends, Legal Issues, National Golf Day, Dept of Labor, OSHA, IRS, Immigration, WE ARE GOLF, Regulation, Budget, Tax Issues) Permanent link

Key State LegislationClubindustryvotes.org, CMAA’s Grassroots Advocacy website, has relaunched with expanded information and abilities. The new site adds dynamic state-level information with tracked legislation and legislators.

Through the website, all CMAA members will be able to easily access:

  • Currently Tracked Federal Bills and Regulations
  • Key State Bills (New!!!)
  • Directory of Federal and State Legislators (New!!!)
  • Action Alerts on CMAA-Tracked Issues
  • Non-Partisan Election and Voter Registration Information

As well, Chapters, through their Managing Directors and Legislative Chairmen, will have the opportunity to collaborate with CMAA on state-related Action Alerts (contact forms) and more.

This resource, coupled with the Legislative Report and webinar series providing timely compliance information on the regulations impacting clubs, will now comprise CMAA’s robust advocacy initiative. Get started now to make your voice heard.

DOL Offers Remedy to Continuing H-2B Visa Backlog

(Legal Issues, Dept of Labor, Immigration) Permanent link

The Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification has offered a remedy to employers impacted by the on-going delays and backlog of the processing of H-2B visa applications. As of February 22 and continuing until April 1, employers may now apply for emergency processing of currently pending application.

Employers must follow the steps outlined in the February 19 memorandum to request emergency processing. Employers must meet two conditions to apply:
Employers must have a pending H-2B visa with the Chicago National Processing Center, and

Employers must not have yet received from the Chicago NPC an initial notification of acceptance (NOA) or notice of deficiency (NOD) within the seven-business-day timeframe of the application filing date OR the employer has received a NOD beyond the seven-business-day timeframe and has not yet received a NOA.

The office has acknowledged the backlog which it blames on myriad factors including a technical issue and the change in policy based on Congress’ reinstatement of the returning worker provision.