Stable owners, racetracks, hay farms, grain farms, and even the saw mills that create your shavings are facing a critical labor shortage due to some recent changes to the laws pertaining to immigration and foreign workers. There are a variety of programs under which foreign workers can qualify for employment in the U. S., but two prevalent programs for seasonal workers are the ones that supply the majority of the unskilled labor: H-2A Agricultural Worker program and the H-2B Temporary Worker program.
Trainers, equine health professionals, huntsmen, and other specialties qualify under a different program. The H-2A program has some flaws that have aff ected its performance.Theadmission process is long and requires extensive documentation which tends to deter workers. In addition, the program employs the Adverse Eff ect Wage Rate (AEWR) which is a fl at rate that is paid across thecountry.TheAEWR does not account for the cost of living factors for each state and region.
Finally, the H-2A program only allows the workers to stay in the country for a maximum time period of 10 months. The H-2B program is a temporary service for unemployed workers who cannot fi nd labor in their own country. With this program, there is a cap of 60,000 H-2B visas that can be authorized annually.TheAHC is working to reform these two programs and alter the requirements so that they will benefit the horse industry.