Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

DHS allows 15000 more seasonal foreign workers this year

DHS allows 15000 more seasonal foreign workers this year

In order to help USA businesses at risk of suffering "irreparable harm", the Department of Homeland Security said Monday it will provide as many as 15,000 new H-2B visas this year for temporary seasonal workers.

DHS Secretary John Kelly filed the required paperwork with the Federal Register to increase the number of H-2B visas for fiscal year 2017 after meeting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, who said there weren't enough US workers to satisfy the needs of businesses across the country.

Many seasonal businesses and members of Congress have pleaded with Kelly to issue the visas, citing an urgent need for workers. First, though, they will need to attest that they would suffer irreparable harm if they can't hire the foreign workers they are requesting.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was given authority to offer more than 60,000 extra visas this year as part of a government spending bill Congress passed in May. The cancellation earlier this year of a provision that had exempted returning workers from being included in that cap had worsened the shortage.

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.

The increase is only for workers who will start their temporary employment before September 30 and businesses submitting petitions will be considered in the order they apply. Foreign workers with H-2B visas are qualified for positions in hospitality, maintenance, retail, warehouses, theme parks, landscaping and security. "They were part-time jobs".

Congress set the maximum number of H-2B visas to be issued at 66,000 for the fiscal year, which ends September 30. "This does help with American businesses continuing to prosper".

"We're talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm if they don't get additional H-2B workers", said David Lapan, a DHS spokesperson told reporters.

"We do think it fits into the "America First" focus of the administration", said one of them.

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