DHS Approves 15000 Additional Temporary Worker Visas

Joanna Estrada
July 17, 2017

Citing a shortage of "qualified and willing" Americans to meet the high-season needs of businesses like landscape companies, amusement parks, and hotels, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it will increase the number of available H2B visas for non-farm temporary workers by 15,000 for fiscal year 2017.

Trump vowed during the campaign to discourage businesses from using foreign workers and to focus on hiring Americans first.

To receive the visas, businesses must attest they would suffer irreparable harm if they can not bring in those workers.

But they said the increase was part of Trump´s "America First" effort to strengthen United States industry.

Employers had been complaining about the need for workers since March, when they exhausted the official cap of 66,000 H2B visas per fiscal year. In addition to the increase in visas, the department also announced a new tip line for people to report abuse of the program, according to a press release. It's a new requirement to access the visas under Trump's "America First" administration.

The extra H-2B visas are for seasonal, non-agriculture workers for jobs at a variety of businesses, including resorts.

"Congress gave me the discretionary authority to provide temporary relief to American businesses at risk of significant harm due to a lack of available seasonal workers", said DHS Secretary John Kelly in a statement Monday.

DHS made a decision to increase the amount of H-2B visas allowed after consulting with the Department of Labor, and was given the authority to do so in the omnibus spending bill that Congress recently approved.

Daniel Costa, an immigration expert at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said there is no real evidence of a nationwide labor shortage in the industries that rely on H-2B visas, although employers could be strapped in certain geographic areas.

NumbersUSA, an organization that opposes additional immigration, urged the administration not to increase the number of H-2B visas. "As a demonstration of the administration's commitment to supporting American businesses, DHS is providing this one-time increase to the congressionally set annual cap".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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