The H-2B Workforce Coalition, comprised of thousands of employers and their representatives from industries such as lodging, landscaping, seafood, restaurants, tourism, equine, forestry, amusement parks, golf courses, and other seasonal businesses, are grateful to Reps. Cuellar (D-TX), Joyce (R-OH), Keating (D-MA) Pingree (D-ME), Chabot (R-OH), and Harris (R-MD) for introducing the bipartisan the Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021.
This legislation would reform the H-2B program by exempting returning workers from an antiquated cap, ensuring that small and seasonal businesses are able to fulfill their labor needs and contribute to our nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery. The bill would also improve efficiencies with the application process and require the Department of Labor to maintain a publicly accessible online job registry. Finally, the legislation would strengthen program integrity measures and anti-fraud provisions to protect both American workers and H-2B workers.
“On behalf of the entire Texas green industry, we thank Congressman Cuellar for his leadership in introducing the bipartisan “Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021” and his effort to meet the workforce needs of employers in our state,” said Amy Graham, President & CEO of the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association. “Our seasonal industry in Texas contributes over $27 billion dollars in economic impact but continues to face severe workforce shortages and is hindered by the antiquated federal labor programs. The ‘H-2B Returning Worker Exception Act’ is the key to helping our Texas green industry businesses grow and invest in the future by addressing the arbitrary caps within the H-2B seasonal visa program while also providing new protections for American workers.”
“The H-2B program is vital to the entire Maryland economy. I am grateful to Dr. Andy Harris, Rep. Cuellar and all of the cosponsors of the H-2B Returning Worker Exception Act for putting forth these common sense reforms to the H-2B program,” said Alan Jones, President of Manor View Farm in Monkton, MD. “This legislation will allow the nursery and landscape industry in Maryland to thrive, adding additional Americans jobs and revenue to the state.”
The H-2B Workforce Coalition looks forward to working with Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to passing this bi-partisan legislation to reform the H-2B program during ongoing workforce shortages for seasonal businesses.
Read the full press release here.