The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) division of the Department of Homeland Security has recently issued guidance regarding the reopening of the H-2B temporary and seasonal guest worker program. The guidance was necessary to implement the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act contained in the recently enacted Emergency Supplemental Appropriation funding the war efforts in Iraq and Afganistan and other purposes.
The guidance ensures USCIS began accepting petitions on May 25, 2005 for H-2B employers seeking immediate work start dates. It goes on to define returning workers for both this fiscal year and next and estimates an additional 35,000 new workers would be allowed to enter the United States and work this fiscal year based on the number of return workers already here and working. Additional direction such as how employers are to certify a worker’s status and what workers will need to prove their status upon re-entering the country are also covered in the guidance.
The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) applauds the USCIS for its timely issuance of guidance regarding the reopening of the H-2B temporary and seasonal guest worker program. “We are very pleased to see USCIS work so expeditiously to ensure timely implementation of legislation that is so critical to the survival of landscape firms in today’s marketplace,” said John Meredith, ANLA’s director of legislative relations. For more information on the guidance visit contact ANLA at (202) 789-2900.