On March 14, 2013, the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing on “Examining the Role of Lower-Skilled Guest Worker Programs in Today’s Economy,” which discussed H-2B visas. This visa program meets demands for lower-skilled jobs not filled by Americans by providing temporary visas for non-agricultural workers.
By providing workers for positions such as landscapers and lifeguards, who help communities operate and make them attractive to buyers, the program helps to support property values in resort and second home communities. Testimony by employers and experts on the H-2B program explained the difficulties of finding American workers for seasonal jobs, the need to increase the annual cap on visas to meet the demand, and proposed workplace protections for seasonal workers that would have a detrimental effect on employers.
The H-2B Workforce Coalition, which NAR is a member of, submitted a statement expressing support for the existing H-2B program, but urging raising the cap to better reflect the workforce needs and also permanently blocking rules issued by the DOL which would increase wages for H-2B workers in a manner that would make the program “virtually unusable.”
NAR will continue to support a robust H-2B program that expands job opportunities for seasonal foreign workers without taking jobs away from Americans and unnecessarily burdening employers with regulations.