Skip to content

Temporary Worker Programs

    On Jan. 3, 2005, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had received enough petitions to meet this year's Congressionally-mandated cap of 66,000 new H-2B workers and would not accept any more petitions for such foreign workers until after Oct. 1, 2005.
    This affects alien workers in many industries, including those in the
horse industry who work in semi-skilled jobs at racetracks, horse shows,
fairs and similar non-agricultural exhibitions. It prevents them from being issued H-2B visas after Jan. 3.
    While it appears that many workers in the horse industry had already
received H-2B visas prior to the cap being reached for this year, not all
did. In addition, this will be an annual problem until it is finally fixed by Congress. If your sector of the industry uses H-2B workers, you should be concerned about this problem even if you were not affected this year. Absent a permanent change in the law, your alien workers eventually will be affected.
    The H-2B worker program is used for lesser-skilled, non-agricultural
workers employed in many diverse industries. It is for "temporary service or labor if unemployed persons capable of performing such service or labor cannot be found in this country."
    Since 1990 there has been a Congressionally-mandated cap of 66,000 on
the visas that can be issued annually. Last year was the first that it was reached -- or that it was enforced . This is the second year and the limit nhas been reached much sooner. A new allotment of H-2B visas will be available on Oct. 1, 2005 for the 2006 fiscal year.
    H-2B workers are used throughout the horse industry in non-agricultural jobs. In the racing industry individual trainers and horsemen¹s associations have organized ongoing programs to employ and bring aliens into the country to work on the backstretch under H-2B visa programs. These programs could be affected by the action of the USCIS, depending on when the admission period for the workers ends, whether it involves new workers or the extension of existing H-2B visas and other factors for particular workers. But any individual or organization seeking, or expecting to seek, H-2B visas for their workers in 2005 should be aware of the USCIS decision and review how it might affect the admission of such aliens.
    Some H-2B visas do not count toward this annual limit, including
petitions for current H-2B workers. Therefore, the USCIS will continue to
process petitions filed to:
    * Extend the stay of a current H-2B worker in the United States;
    * Change the terms of employment for current H-2B workers; or
    * Allow current H-2B workers to change or add employers.

    Several bills have now been introduce to resolve the issue for this
year. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced the ³Save Our Small and
Seasonal Businesses Act² (S. 352). This bill is supported by most of the
affected industries. It would:
    * Exempt returning seasonal workers from the cap for 2005 and 2006.
Workers who used the H-2B program during the previous three years would not be counted against the annual limit. This means that alien workers who had successfully participated in the horse industry H-2B program in any of the past three fiscal years would be admitted without regard to the cap (assuming they met all visa requirements).
    * Require the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to immediately
resume the processing of H-2B applications for 2005.
    * Require that the number of visas issued each fiscal year be allocated so that the number of aliens entering the U.S. as H-2Bs during the first six months of the year would not be more than 33,000. This is intended to ensure that employers who file for summer jobs have an equal chance of getting visas.
    * The changes would be effective as of Oct. 1, 2004 and expire on Oct. 1, 2006 so it would be would be good for two years.
    * Require an additional fee of $150 for each application to give the
government agencies added resources to detect and prevent fraud.
    *Require the Department of Homeland Security to provide quarterly
reports to Congress on the number of H-2B visas issued, and an annual report with a detailed analysis of the program so Congress can make an informed decision about the H-2B program.
    Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has also introduced a bill to resolve this
issue. It is similar to the Mikulski legislation. The bill also exempts from the cap workers who used the H-2B program during the previous three years, but requires that up to 12,000 visas be issued quarterly, and provides relief for an additional year, expiring on Oct. 1, 2007.
    Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) has introduced in the House a companion bill (H.R. 793) to Sen. Mikulski¹s Senate bill.
    All of these bills have been referred to the respective Judiciary
    Quick action will be sought on this legislation by the many industries affected. With more industries affected it is hoped that Congress will be more likely to act on this emergency legislation soon.

More Stories

  • WHOA announces 43rd annual International judges

    The Walking Horse Owners' is pleased to announce the three judges selected by current WHOA members for the 43rd Annual Pleasure & Colt Grand Championship... Read More
  • FAST Denim & Diamonds rescheduled

    The FAST Denim & Diamonds event that was scheduled for Monday, June 28th will now be held on New Year’s Eve. Please mark your calendars and celebrate the New Year with FAST!  Read More
  • Obituary – Raymond Huey "Buddy" Wilhelm Jr.

    Raymond Huey “Buddy” Wilhelm Jr., age 70, of Petersburg TN, passed from this life Monday, June 21, 2021, at Maury Regional Medical Center... Read More
  • Obituary – Sandra Hall

    Sandra Elaine Wallace Hall, age 69, entered into rest on Thursday, June 17, 2021, with her family by her side. Funeral services will be 4:00 PM Friday, July 2, 2021, at Zoar United Methodist Church (2842 Zoar Road, Cheraw, SC 29520) by Pastor Billy Jack Johnson, with remarks by family friend, Mark Farrar... Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Gen's Black Gin

    It is with great sadness to share that Gen’s Black Gin was peacefully laid to rest Sunday, June 20, just five days short of his 22nd birthday. Having extended health issues his breeding was ended this year and he was kept as comfortable as possible... Read More
  • Christmas In July class name change

    Class 27 for the Christmas In July Horse Show, originally listed as Western Trail Pleasure (Riders' Cup) will be Trail Pleasure, Optional Tack (Riders' Cup). Unless specifically designated, all pleasure classes will be optional tack... Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Himself

    On Monday, June 14, 2021, the Smith Family said goodbye to their beloved Himself. The big roan gentle giant was sired by Pusher’s Big Score and was out of Generator’s Golden Child... Read More
  • Arab Summer Classic postponed

    The Arab Summer Classic scheduled for tonight, June 19, has been postponed due to weather. The show is rescheduled for Saturday, July 17. Read More
  • Latest Issue 6 21 21

    Read More
  • Be mindful of leadline participants

    The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is fortunate to have participants that range from small children to those that have experienced a full life. Many of our participants first introduction to the Tennessee Walking Horse is through our leadline classes... Read More