Biden Administration Announces Additional H-2B Visas for FY 2023
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are issuing a temporary final rule that makes available 64,716 additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year (FY) 2023. These supplemental H-2B visas are for U.S. employers seeking to petition for additional workers at certain periods of the fiscal year before Sept. 15, 2023.
The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of roughly 44,700 visas available 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 20,000 visas are reserved for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti, regardless of whether they are returning workers. The statutory semiannual cap authorized under the Immigration and Nationality Act (statutory cap) of 33,000 visas for the first half of FY 2023 was reached on Sept. 12, 2022.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov.
Congress Passes One-Week Spending Bill
Last week, Congress passed a one-week spending bill to avert a government shutdown as they continue to negotiate a new FY 2023 omnibus appropriations bill to fully fund the federal government through September of next year. Both sides are hoping to have the bill agreed upon and passed before they leave Capitol Hill for their holiday break this Thursday. BSCAI is monitoring provisions in the bill that could impact building service contractors.
Congress Passes Bill to Avert Rail Strike
Congress recently passed legislation that will force labor unions to accept a tentative labor agreement reached earlier this year between railroad managers and workers to avert a rail strike. The parties had until Dec. 9 to reach an agreement before workers promised a nationwide strike.
The bipartisan bill passed the House with a 290-137 vote and the Senate with an 80-15 vote. The bill was supported by President Biden over concerns that a rail strike would cause supply chain bottlenecks, food shortages, transportation delays and other disruptions to the U.S. economy. President Biden signed the bill into law earlier this month.
Fatal Work Injuries Up Nearly 9% from 2020
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2021, an 8.9% increase from 4,764 in 2020. The fatal work injury rate. There was 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, up from 3.4 per 100,000 FTE in 2020 and up from the 2019 pre-pandemic rate of 3.5.
Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event in 2021 with 1,982 fatal injuries, an increase of 11.5 percent from 2020. This major category accounted for 38.2 percent of all work- related fatalities for 2021. To read the full report, click here.
IRS Warns Business of Cyber Threats During Tax Security Awareness Week
To wrap up National Tax Security Awareness Week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) urged businesses to remain vigilant against cyberattacks aimed at stealing their customer's personal information and other business data. The IRS continues to see instances where small businesses and others face a variety of identity-theft related schemes that try to obtain information that can be used to file fake business tax returns. For example, phishing schemes continue to target businesses as well as tax professionals and individual taxpayers.
Businesses are encouraged to follow best practices from the Federal Trade Commission, including:
- Use multi-factor authentication.
- Set security software to update automatically.
- Back up important files.
- Require strong passwords for all devices.
- Encrypt devices.
More information is available at FTC's Cybersecurity for Small Businesses. Businesses should be alert to phishing email scams that attempt to trick employees into opening embedded links or attachments. IRS related scams may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org so the IRS can try to track, stop or disrupt scams.