The following was sent in an email from Brian Crawford, Vice President of Government & Policy & Political Affairs at AH&LA on March 11, 2015.
Dear Partner State Associations:
On Thursday March 5th, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it would no longer accept or process requests for H-2B prevailing wage determinations or applications, effectively shutting down an important seasonal worker program for the lodging industry. DOL is using a circuit court decision in Florida (Perez v Perez) to justify stopping the processing of applications. That court determined that the DOL lacks the authority to issue regulations for the H2B visa program but did not require DOL, nor DHS to suspend the program. Rather, DOL made the political calculation to use that decision as an opportunity to shut down a program that they have targeted for elimination for years.
Any employer who had not previously submitted their H-2B applications will not be able to get H-2B workers until the DOL and DHS lift this ban on H-2B wage determinations and applications. This will have a negative impact on employers seeking workers for the 2nd half of 2015 and beyond.
AH&LA co-chairs the H-2B Workforce Coalition and we have been urging Members of Congress to speak out against this shutdown and apply pressure on DOL and DHS to revive it. It is essential that our elected representatives in Washington hear from their constituents about the negative economic impact this will have on their business.
Please share this link with your members so that they can contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives (draft letter attached as well).
Alternatively, your members can call your two Senators and Member of Congress and ask them to call DOL and DHS and demand that the Departments immediately resume processing H-2B prevailing wage determinations and labor certifications. You can reach your Senators and Representative through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once transferred to Senator or Representative’s office, ask to speak to the staff person who handles immigration or small business issues.
Link to DOL announcement can be found here
The court’s ruling
H-2B Workforce Coalition statement
H-2B Workforce Coalition memo