Dept. Of Homeland Security To Allow 15000 Additional H-2B Immigration Visas

US business will be able to hire an additional 15,000 foreign workers under the H-2B visa program through the end of September, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

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.

The government offers 66,000 such visas a year, but that cap was reached in March, leaving many businesses without the workers they expected.

Businesses who meet specific criteria can apply for H-2B visas to bring over foreign workers to take temporary positions they cannot fill with American workers.

Senator Thom Tillis, R-N.C., has lobbied for H-2B expansion and said in a June statement he appreciated Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly's willingness to address the shortage, but had "concerns about the timeline" for granting the additional visas. Until past year, guest workers who had already participated were not counted toward the cap.

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

DHS spokesman David Lapan told NBC News that Congress gave his department the authority to allow additional visas at least six months later than normal.

Because tourist season in ME runs until September or October, the six workers she's now missing will only be able to help her make up a fraction of the peak season, Diment said. First, though, they will need to attest that they would suffer irreparable harm if they can't hire the foreign workers they are requesting.

While President Trump has expressed his opposition to guest worker programs, he has made an exception for the H2B visa - one his Mar-a-Lago resort regularly applies for in order to supplement its staff.

President Donald Trump campaigned on an "America First" platform of favoring Americans for hiring. "From landscapers in Colorado to innkeepers in ME to seafood processors along the gulf coast to carnivals nationwide, we hope the visa expansion will help some businesses avoid substantial financial loss, and in some cases, prevent early business closures during their peak season".

Last year, while on the campaign trail, Trump said he would "end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program".

  • Joey Payne