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Alert: H-2B Visa Processing Suspended by U.S. Department of Labor

March 12, 2015

Recent Florida court ruling could have major impact on the hospitality industry nationwide.

Alert: Due to a recent ruling in a Florida court, the U.S. Department of Labor has been forced to immediately suspend the processing of Prevailing Wage Applications and Applications for Labor Certification related to H-2B seasonal visa petitions. This has a major impact on seasonal businesses like those in the hospitality, private club, construction, and youth sports industries.

The H-2B visa program allows foreign individuals the opportunity to work in non-agricultural jobs in the U.S. for a temporary timeframe defined by a company’s seasonal or peak-season needs. Many U.S. employers in the hospitality industry rely on this program to fill their employment vacancies during their busy tourist season.

In order for an employer to qualify under this program, it must show three things:

  • There are not enough domestic workers available to fill the vacancies
  • The employment of foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similar U.S. workers, and
  • The positions to be filled are temporary or seasonal in nature.

The application process from start to finish can take several months before an employer is notified that it has received approval to participate in the program. Typically employers have already begun the process by this time of year in order to have the needed workforce in place for the busy summer months.

It is unclear when the U.S. Department of Labor will be able to resume the processing of these applications as the agency seems to be scrambling to react to the surprising court ruling. The suspension of this program will affect hiring practices and could lead to labor shortages for many seasonal businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry. For more information on seasonal visa’s and how this ruling could affect your business, contact us.

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