United States to offer 15000 extra temporary worker visas this year

Angelica Greene
July 17, 2017

"After consulting with the secretary of labor, Secretary Kelly determined that there are not enough USA workers who are willing, qualified and able to perform temporary non-agricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses and that these businesses will likely suffer irreparable harm if they can not hire more H-2B workers in fiscal year 2017", a senior DHS official said on a press call.

Trump vowed during the campaign to discourage businesses from using foreign workers and to focus on hiring Americans first. But as president, he has faced bipartisan demand for allowing more temporary workers, not fewer.

DHS press secretary David Lapan told reporters, "we're talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm", according to The Washington Times. "You needed them, or we just might as well close the doors, because you couldn't get help in those hot, hot sections of Florida".

To receive the visas, businesses must attest they would suffer irreparable harm if they can not bring in those workers. The government generally offers 66,000 such visas a year.

The Trump administration announced Monday an increase in seasonal worker visas that U.S. resorts depend on, but the move halfway through the summer is unlikely to alleviate a nationwide shortage. The cancellation earlier this year of a provision that had exempted returning workers from being included in that cap had worsened the shortage. Large U.S. industries such as hospitality, seafood processing, and landscaping and forestry have come to rely on the relatively cheap labor supplied through the H-2B pipeline.

That could include Trump's own hotels.

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But there's been an outcry from employers in those industries saying they can't find enough workers right now, as they've been squeezed by a dearth of visas and the low unemployment rate. Hoteliers in ME, for instance, say they are barely functioning in what should be peak season.

The Trump Administration says it has a problem with visa overstays in the country and is now determined to step up enforcement to try to cut down on the violations.

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

While he was still serving in the Senate, Attorney General Jeff Sessions a year ago sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee asking them not to dramatically increase the number of H-2B visas as the House had done in a temporary spending bill.

Indications have emerged that a crackdown on visitors with visa overstays is imminent in the United States of America with Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, China and Colombia listed as countries with the most total overstays that do not participate in the visa waiver programme.

NumbersUSA, an organization that opposes additional immigration, urged the administration not to increase the number of H-2B visas.

Other reports by GizPress

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