The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) recently received notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) for its 2022 Unified Export Strategy (UES), noting several key strengths of the program, which are:
• Collaboration with the other Softwood cooperators to conduct innovative marketing seminars and activities.
• Execution of activities without disruption.
• Executive Director Eric Gee’s direction has allowed SFPA program activities to be more policy oriented.
• Ongoing communication and collaboration with FAS Washington.
•Incorporation of alternative funding sources like the Emerging Markets Program (EMP) to expand technical training and market research for new core markets.
FAS has recommended some improvements for the 2022 program, including:
• Plan and execute activities to effectively use remaining ATP funding, which expires on September 30, 2024.
• Increase efforts to achieve climate change and sustainability goals by expanding Softwood cooperators activities in Europe.
• Work more closely with FAS to collaborate and participate in more marketing activities and seminars.
The SFPA will continue to maintain good communication with FAS, and remain flexible in program planning in the year to come.
Learn more at www.sfpa.org
DHS To Issue 35,000 Additional H-2B Visas
The National Association of Home Builders reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the publication of a joint temporary final rule making available an additional 35,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the second half of fiscal year 2022. These additional visas will be set aside for U.S. employers seeking to employ additional workers on or after April 1 through Sept. 30, 2022.
H-2B visas allow employers to hire foreign workers who come temporarily to the United States and perform temporary non-agricultural services or labor — including construction work — on a one-time, seasonal, peak-load or intermittent basis.
The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of 13,500 visas available only to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years.
The remaining 11,500 visas, which are exempt from the returning worker requirement, are reserved for nationals of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador (collectively called the Northern Triangle), as well as nationals from Haiti.
How to File
Once the temporary final rule has been published, eligible employers seeking cap-subject H-2B workers can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, seeking additional H-2B workers. They must submit a confirmation with their petition to demonstrate their business is suffering irreparable harm or will suffer impending irreparable harm without a supplemental workforce.
Additional details on eligibility and filing requirements will be available in the temporary final rule and the Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants webpage.