We have an update on the Returning Worker Exemption. The Senate did not approve the Continuing Resolution, which dealt with a change to the language in the appropriations amendment. Right now we still have a chance to get the RWE approved in the Omnibus on 12/9/16. We need YOUR HELP more than ever. Please contact your Congressmen/women and ask them to support the RWE! Small and Seasonal Businesses Rely on it.
Below is the memo sent out by our lead lobbyist with CloakRoom Advisors:
“The Senate just released it’s continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 9. Votes on the proposal should take place next week but it should be noted that this is still a work in progress and may not be the final version that is ultimately passed by Congress. Despite all of our efforts, an extension of the returning worker exemption was not included in the CR. According to our sources, the only way leaders could pass legislation to avoid a shut-down battle was to keep the bill as clean as possible and numerous policy riders were excluded.
The CR funds the government through December 9, 2016. Between now and then, Congress will be in session for a limited period of time. The Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee intends to try to pass smaller bills combined together – called mini-bus(s) bills – that will include FY17 drafts, like the Fiscal Year 17 DHS bill. As you recall, included in that bill is the Returning Worker language that specifically states that the returning worker exemption “shall take effect on October 1, 2016.”
While this setback is not fully unexpected, it is disappointing. We should not stop pressing key stakeholders to support the inclusion of a returning worker exemption in the final omnibus appropriations bill (or any other mini-bus bill that includes the DHS section) that will be taken up between November and the December 9th funding deadline.
Once the final FY17 bill is passed, assuming nothing changes from the mark-up version of the DHS funding bill, the RWE provision will be retroactive to October 1, 2016 as a result of our collective efforts earlier this year. USCIS has said that employers can continue to designate returning workers on their H-2B petitions in the event that the returning worker exemption is reinstated in December. This will help take some pressure off the cap if we are successful in December.”
Links to the bills are below:
· Continuing Resolution Legislation: http://bit.ly/2coPRXR
· Continuing Resolution Section-by-Section Summary: http://bit.ly/2dmKiyi
· Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Summary: http://bit.ly/2cZLfbo
· Zika Research, Treatment, and Control Funding Summary: http://bit.ly/2d4akE4