The American Horse Council (AHC) has submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) on a final interim H-2B temporary guest worker program rule (2015 rule). This 2015 rule is almost identical to a 2012 H-2B program rule that has been blocked by a federal court since its release and was opposed by the American Horse Council and other industries that rely on the H-2B program. The 2015 rule is currently in effect.
The complete AHC comments can be viewed here.
The H-2B program is used by members of the horse industry, principally horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs at racetracks, horse shows, fairs and in similar non-agricultural activities.
Final Interim Rule
The AHC, in conjunction with a broad coalition of H-2B users, is opposed to implementation of this new interim final H-2B rule. The AHC believes these rules will make the H-2B program even more costly and burdensome for employers who are forced to use the program.
The 2015 rule will make significant changes to how the H-2B program currently functions, including new requirements regarding corresponding American workers, reimbursement of transportation costs, and recruitment efforts. Most of the changes to the program will make it more difficult for most employers to use the program.
More details about the rule can be found at the AHC website here: http://www.horsecouncil.org/regulations/h-2b-final-interim-rule-and-wage-rules-details.
The complete rule can be viewed at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/29/2015-09694/temporary-non-agricultural-employment-of-h-2b-aliens-in-the-united-states.
In its comments the AHC pointed out that despite substantial efforts to recruit and train U.S. workers, horse owners, trainers, and competitors must use the H-2B worker program to bring aliens into the country as temporary, non-immigrant workers. The AHC made clear that horse industry employers use the H-2B program not by choice but because of an inability to find American workers to fill these jobs and without these foreign workers the horse industry could not continue to operate as it does now.
The AHC stated its belief that substantial improvements were made to the H-2B program by the 2008 rule that made it more usable and efficient. The AHC expressed its disappointment the DHS/DOL 2015 rule would roll back most of the positive provisions of the 2008 rule and would add new and burdensome requirements.
Additionally, the AHC reminded DHS and DOL that horse industry employers who are forced to utilize H-2B workers are very often small businesses and will be hard pressed to absorb any increase in costs the proposed rule could produce. Furthermore, the AHC stated its fear the 2015 rule will make the H-2B program unusable for many horse industry employers.
Note: This final interim program rule is very complex and technical. The AHC encourages employers who use the H-2B program to contact qualified individuals to ensure they are in compliance when the new rules.
If you have any questions please contact the AHC.