USA to admit 15000 additional temporary workers this year: DHS

Jul 18, 2017, 00:29
USA to admit 15000 additional temporary workers this year: DHS

In a statement, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly said he consulted with Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta to determine that "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".

"Temporary workers at seasonal resorts as well as in landscaping, seafood harvesting and processing are among those eligible".

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Some 66,000 "H-2B" visas were allocated for this summer, and resorts from ME to Florida along the USA east coast have complained they don't have enough. "You're standing on your feet in the heat of the kitchen peeling onions and washing dishes until 2 in the morning".

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 cancellation earlier this year of a provision that had exempted returning workers from being included in that cap had worsened the shortage. In May, Congress gave the Trump administration the authority to increase the number "upon determination that the needs of American businesses can not be satisfied in fiscal year 2017 with United States workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor", the bill said.

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Some employers have complained that relief on the issue was coming too late into the season, given the two months it took DHS to take action on increasing the visa cap. Employers that had previously sought visas through this program will have to reapply through a new process, according to Steve Hewins, president and CEO of the Maine Restaurant Association and Maine Innkeepers Association. "It's still going to be weeks before any of the workers who are available can make it here".

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

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Since 2015, however, some returning workers were able to participate beyond the cap, increasing the number of H-2B visas issued past year to almost 85,000, according to State Department data.

"For every senator or congressman who has your view, I have another who says, 'Don't you dare". In the past, Mr Trump claimed he had to hire foreign workers for Mar-a-Lago because American workers were not available during busy tourist seasons in Florida. "This does help with American businesses continuing to prosper".

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Because businesses applying for the program must state that they will be irreparably harmed without a workforce boost, the additional visas are consistent with an "America First" policy, the official said.