Bennet, Colorado Delegation Urge Cap Relief for H-2B Visas

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined the entire Colorado delegation in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, urging significant cap relief for the H-2B visa program in any final year-end appropriations package or continuing resolution.

“Colorado is home to thousands of seasonal businesses and workers across a wide range of industries including landscaping, hospitality, ski resorts, amusement parks, forestry, golf courses and more. With Colorado’s statewide unemployment below 3%, businesses in our state are facing serious hiring challenges. The H-2B program is critical for filling such workforce gaps across all four corners of Colorado,” the delegation wrote. 

The text of the letter is available HERE and below.

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

We write to request that you include significant cap relief for the H-2B visa program in any final Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations package or continuing resolution. This bipartisan issue is critical in Colorado to prevent harm to businesses and American workers in our state. 

Colorado is home to thousands of seasonal businesses and workers across a wide range of industries including landscaping, hospitality, ski resorts, amusement parks, forestry, golf courses and more. With Colorado’s statewide unemployment below 3%, businesses in our state are facing serious hiring challenges. The H-2B program is critical for filling such workforce gaps across all four corners of Colorado.

The House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment by voice vote to the FY2020 Homeland Security appropriations legislation that would require the Department of Homeland Security to release up to an additional 69,320 visas if they determine that the needs of seasonal businesses cannot be met with American workers. We strongly support this provision.

Additionally, the House FY2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill, passed by the House on June 11, 2019, included a provision that would allow H-2B visas to be allocated proportionally on a quarterly basis. The quarterly allocation would help relieve Department of Labor processing burdens by spreading the requests out over four processing dates, rather than the current two. We urge you to include this provision.

We also strongly support provisions in Senate Appropriations Committee FY2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill that would continue the existing H-2B regulatory measures that have been in place for the past several years. If these provisions were eliminated, it would cause program confusion and result in potential processing delays caused by the need for the Departments to develop new forms and guidance.

As Congress considers appropriations legislation, H-2B cap relief must remain a part of the discussions and we urge inclusion of these provisions. Please contact our offices with any additional questions.

Sincerely,