Why H-2B is Like “Groundhog Day”


If you’re a fan of the movie “Groundhog Day” like I am, you may see some dark humor in what is going with the H-2B seasonal guest worker program again this spring.

As reported by The Hill, a newspaper published in Washington D.C., representatives from the landscape, hospitality and hotel industries gathered in the Capital to voice their frustration with delays in processing the paperwork for H-2B worker visas.

Sound familiar? Didn’t we all go through this last spring, too?

Also, like last spring, these associations, seeking relief for their member companies under the umbrella of the H-2B Workforce Coalition, are wondering what’s going on. The delays are again causing big problems for many of the seasonal small businesses counting on legal foreign seasonal workers.

Read more: Another Spring, More Hassles with H-2B

The Labor Department acknowledged the delays and blamed them on “a sharp rise in visa applications,” last year’s appropriations bill that included several changes to the visa program and computer software issues, reported The Hill.

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.

How long do you suppose you could stay in business if, spring after spring, you had to come up reasons why you couldn’t deliver the services you promised to your customers?

How’s this sound? “Sorry Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So, we can’t mow your lawn again this April because we are having problems with our software.”

Are we being unreasonable to wonder why, 26 years after Congress authorized the guest worker visa program, the federal agencies in charge of H-2B don’t have it running like a well-oiled machine? What do you think?

Oh, and something else the article in The Hill reminds us of is that the guest worker program—or just about any visa program that allows foreigners to work in the U.S.—has detractors and critics a plenty. Check out some of the comments on the article in The Hill.

It becomes more apparent with each passing year that keeping the H-2B visa program functioning is going to challenge and command continued action by the industry and employers that rely on it.

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  1. If you can’t figure out how to run a business without H2B, you probably shouldn’t be in business. Even in my low unemployment region, there are plenty of Americans available.

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