Sen. Flake’s bill, the Willing Workers and Willing Employers Act of 2016, will allow workers who work in Job Zones 1 through 3 to perform year-round non-agricultural work in the United States.
Job Zones 1-3 generally are those positions that require less than a bachelor’s degree, such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapy assistants, caregivers, and other similar allied health professionals.
Sen. Flake’s bill includes many US worker protections, such as:
- Sponsoring employers would have to pay a “Scarcity Recruitment Fee,” in addition to USCIS filing fees. This fee is equal to 5 percent of the H-2C’s annual salary.
- The job must be in a full employment area, which is a county whose unemployment rate is 4.9 percent or less.
- Employers have to attest that there are no US workers being laid off as a result of the H-2C workers’ employment.
- Employers have to prove that they have actively recruited US workers for the position.
- Employers would have to participate in E-Verify.
The H-2C program would be active for 10 years. It will have a flexible cap of 45,000 – 85,000 depending on demand.
H-2C visa holders would also be barred from bringing in any family members into the US. However they would be able to file for permanent residency, at which time their family members can come to US.
Unfortunately, most pundits give Sen. Flake’s bill virtually no chance of passing. While this bill is not perfect, it is good to see that there are some Republican Senators who still understand the value that immigration brings to the US.
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