As the H-2B visa program grows, the need for reforms that protect workers is greater than ever
This report reviews the legislative history of the H-2B temporary seasonal worker program and sees a pattern of labor law violations that need to be remedied through congressional and regulatory action. One recommendation is that employers with a track record of violating wage and labor laws should be barred from recruiting seasonal workers in the future. Investigations by the Wage and Hours Division of the Department of Labor found that nearly $1.8 billion in back wages was stolen from workers from 2000 to 2021 in industries that employ H-2B workers. This total was from all workers, not just H-2B workers. The author also questions why family members of H-2B workers are not able to join workers in the U.S. and why there is no pathway to permanent residence for these workers. Other recommendations concern more reliable methods for setting wage rates and greater visa portability so that visa holders can change jobs and employers.
Costa, D. (2022, August). As the H-2B visa program grows, the need for reforms that protect workers is greater than ever. Economic Policy Institute. https://www.epi.org/publication/h-2b-industries-and-wage-theft/