United States approves 15000 visas for temporary workers

Posted July 19, 2017

The Trump administration has announced a one-time increase of 15,000 additional H-2B visas for low-wage foreign workers after determining that the needs of USA businesses can not be satisfied with Americans willing and qualified to do the work.

A H-2B visa is a temporary work visa for foreign workers for seasonal, non-agricultural work in the U.S. H-2B visas are usually capped at 66,000, but petitions for the newly allocated visas will run through September.

"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.

After consulting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly determined there are not enough qualified and willing USA workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses in FY 2017.

Last year, the federal government allowed 13,382 additional visas beyond the cap in order to meet seasonal demand. During the presidential campaign, Trump explained his use of H-2B visas by saying that "getting help in Palm Beach during the season is nearly impossible".

In May, Congress delegated its authority to the Secretary to increase the number of temporary nonagricultural work visas available to USA employers through September 30.

DHS said the government had created a tip line to report any abuse of the visas or employer violations. But yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security moved to expand another type of visa, the H-2B, which allows lower-skilled workers in on a seasonal basis.

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

For "Made in America" week, the Trump administration wanted to highlight American manufacturing, which the President has repeatedly said he will "bring back". "This does help with American businesses continuing to prosper".

Kelly said there are not enough qualified workers available to American businesses for fiscal year 2017.

President Donald Trump uses the H-2B visa program to staff his Florida private club, where he has hosted visiting heads of state since his inauguration in January.

A report on Monday by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, found, however, there was little evidence of worker shortages in H-2B jobs at the national level.

Trump campaigned on an "America First" platform of favoring Americans for hiring. Instead of adding more visas, the White House should focus "on program oversight, on rooting out bad-actor employers who violate H-2B rules, and on protecting the migrant workers who come to the United States in search of better opportunities".