Homeland Security to allow 15000 more visas for seasonal workers

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News reports that federal law caps the number available at 66,000 a year nationwide.

"Congress gave Kelly the authority to put around 70,000 more of those jobs out of the reach of Americans; at least Kelly limited the damage to keeping just 15,000 more Americans out of the labor market", he said in a statement.

In order to hire foreign workers through the non-immigrant visa program, businesses must show there are not enough USA workers "able, willing, qualified, and available" for the jobs.

"Though we fear this gesture may be too little too late for thousands of small businesses that rely on legal, highly vetted seasonal guest workers to meet their peak season needs, the additional visas may help save some small businesses this year", said the H2B Workforce Coalition, which is co-chaired by NALP, in a statement.

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

And while President Donald Trump has touted a "Hire American" mantra, he's also defended the use of H-2B visas at places like his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

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The department of homeland security said the government had created a new tip line to report any abuse of the visas or employer violations.

Businesses can apply for the visas starting this week and foreign workers can stay employed from four to 10 months. "We're asking these businesses to attest that if they do not get additional workers they will be harmed, so this does help with American businesses continuing to prosper".

Skilled foreign non-agricultural workers on H-2B visas are used widely in the tourism industry, as well as industries as wide-ranging as horse racing, meat packing and landscaping. "In President Trump's own words, 'the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it hard for poor and working class Americans-including immigrants themselves and their children-to earn a middle class wage, '" Stein added. The statement from DHS says the department determined there weren't enough qualified and willing US workers available to fill the jobs. They were part-time jobs. Kelly, who had received discretionary authority from Congress to temporarily increase the number of worker visas for nonfarm workers, announced Monday he was adding 15,000 H-2B visas for fiscal 2017.

Daniel Costa, an immigration expert at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said there is no real evidence of a nationwide labor shortage in the industries that rely on H-2B visas, although employers could be strapped in certain geographic areas.

Trump issued a warning, Promising to stand up for American companies and their employees, that the United States would take retaliatory action against "unfair trade practices" by other nations, reports CNN.