Department of Homeland Security authorizes 15000 additional H-2B visas

Laura Christensen
July 18, 2017

According to a statement made available to Reuters, John Kelly, US secretary of homeland security, and Alexander Acosta, labour secretary, found out that there were not enough qualified and willing American workers to perform temporary nonagricultural work.

The H-2B visas are meant for temporary non-agricultural employment.

Congress allowed the administration to increase the number of H-2B visas in a compromise spending bill passed in May and the new joint rule the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security have put forward will be published in the federal register later this week, according to senior DHS officials.

The additional 15,000 visas stack on top of the 33,000 that the Department of Homeland Security has already allotted for the second half of the current fiscal year.

"Congress gave me this opportunity to provide temporary relief to American businesses in danger of suffering irreparable harm due to a lack of temporary workers", Kelly said.

However, on March 13, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received enough petitions to meet the annual cap of 66,000.

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The H-2B program has drawn strong bipartisan support in the past because lawmakers have a vested interest in supporting their states' most critical industries - whether it's crab-picking in Maryland, ski resorts in Colorado or logging in Washington.

But, a 2015 Buzzfeed report showed that many businesses prefer to hire foreign guest workers over Americans to cut costs and limit legal liability.

"This move by leadership and appropriators cedes portions of this authority to the executive branch without a public debate", Grassley and Feinstein said.

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.

"Temporary workers at seasonal resorts as well as in landscaping, seafood harvesting and processing are among those eligible". "Everybody agrees with me on that". They must place an advertisement for the jobs on two separate days in an effort to "must conduct certain recruitment to ensure that there are not qualified U.S. workers available for the position". "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".

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