Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses
Act of 2007: H.R.1843/S.988
Non-agricultural employers needing to hire foreign workers on a seasonal basis have no alternative but to go through the H-2B visa program, a complex and convoluted process that works effectively to ensure that there are no available US workers. No US employer would go through the great expense and time commitment involved in the H-2B visa process if there were US workers available to meet seasonal hiring needs. Attached please find both a brief overview of the H-2B visa process and other H-2B issues.
In both 2004, 2005 and 2006 small and seasonal employers across America faced disaster when the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that that the 66,000 H-2B visa cap had been met. Any H-2B visa petitions filed after the cap date were returned to petitioning employers. For three years in a row, seasonal employers throughout the United States were left with no option for hiring desperately needed workers during their busy spring, summer and/or fall seasons. This hit communities through America with particular ferocity and suffered severe economic consequences. In 2004 there was no help, but in 2005 and 2006 Congress acted quickly, passing the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2005/2006 (SOS Act).
The SOS Act provides a fix through FY2007, and exempts workers from the cap who were in H-2B visa status in any of the three previous years. It also prescribes harsh penalties for employers who try to cheat the system. The solution crafted by Congress is fair, bipartisan and effective, supported by a distinguished group of Republicans and Democrats spanning the entire political specter. It passed both the Senate and House with overwhelming majorities. However, with the end of FY2006 looming, Congress must act again to extend the SOS Act for another five years.
America’s communities require Congressional action as quickly as possible: