Additional Temporary Foreign Workers to Receive Visas

"In a statement, DHS said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly had consulted with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta and determined there were not enough "qualified and willing USA workers" to fill the needs of businesses".

Congress paved the way to increasing the number of H-2B workers in May when it passed an omnibus budget to avoid a government shutdown.

The number of H-2B visas had been capped for this year at 66,000.

President Donald Trump has been outspoken against what he views as abuses of the H-1B visa program, which allows companies to employ workers over a longer period of time in specialty occupations, including science and technology. The government generally offers 66,000 such visas a year. Until a year ago, guest workers who had already participated were not counted toward the cap.

"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. Visas for more than 120,000 positions have been requested so far in fiscal 2017, according to Department of Labor statistics.

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.

John Ryan speaks to press
DHS Secretary John Kelly speaks at a press conference in June 2017 as Rep. Paul Ryan looks

So-called "H2B visas" are used to bring in non-agricultural guest workers.

"This move by leadership and appropriators cedes portions of this authority to the executive branch without a public debate", Grassley and Feinstein said. Between 2013 and 2015, his Mar-a-Lago property - also known as the "Winter White House" - employed 246 workers on the H-2B visa.

The Trump administration has increased this year's quota for foreign temporary workers allowed into the United States by 15,000 new visas.

"I have no idea if I'm even going to get a visa once they're processed", Diment said. "Everybody agrees with me on that".

"We're talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm if they don't get additional H-2B workers", the official said.

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