Reports from the American Nursery & Landscape Association say that the landscape industry may not see much-needed legislative action to extend the H-2B cap.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal 2009 has been reached, more than two months before the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2008. “Many ANLA members suffered significant losses this year as a result of not getting H-2B workers for fiscal 2008 or getting workers later in the spring than when they were first needed,” said Corey Connors, ANLA director of legislative relations.
According to a USCIS press release, July 29, was the “final receipt date” for new H-2B worker petitions requesting employment start dates prior to April 1, 2009. Any new petitions for H-2B workers with a start date between Oct. 1 and March 31 will be rejected. The press release also states that USCIS will apply a computer-generated random selection process to all petitions that are subject to the cap and were received on or before July 29, 2008.
Connors warns, “Congress must act now in order to save the landscape industry and other seasonal employers from further economic turmoil. Small green industry businesses cannot absorb two consecutive years of financial losses resulting from Congress’ failure to renew the H-2B cap extension and provide small businesses with a reliable and legal source of seasonal labor.”
To learn more about this legislative issue, visit www.anla.org.