DHS adds 15,000 more H-2B visas to support struggling U.S. businesses

Bowen Xiao
By Bowen Xiao
July 19, 2017Politics
DHS adds 15,000 more H-2B visas to support struggling U.S. businesses
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly delivers his first public remarks since being appointed by President Donald Trump at the Jack Morton Auditorium on the campus of The George Washington University April 18, 2017, in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

American businesses will be able to hire 15,000 more foreign workers under the H-2B program, the Department of Homeland Security announced July 17.

The H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Worker program is specifically designed to help U.S. businesses unable to find qualified U.S. workers to perform temporary nonagricultural work.

To qualify for the additional visas, businesses must show they are “likely to suffer irreparable harm” caused by a lack of workers for this fiscal year.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta concluded that there were not enough quality and willing U.S. workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor for businesses this year.

Kelly said the decision will be a “one-time increase,” for the annual cap.

“As a demonstration of the administration’s commitment to supporting American businesses, DHS is providing this one-time increase to the congressionally set annual cap,” Kelly said.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), one of the advocates of the H-2B program was holding up the process for one of President Donald Trump’s nominees in the Department of Homeland Security. This was mainly so the Republican senator could pressure Kelly to make a favorable decision on the visa program, McClatchy reports.

Tillis said on July 17 that he would remove his hold on Trump’s nominee, Lee Francis Cissna for the director of U.S. citizenship and immigration services after Kelly made the favorable decision.

“I’m encouraged that Secretary Kelly intends to provide relief to seasonal small businesses across the nation currently suffering from a lack of temporary workers. I look forward to reviewing the details of the rule,” said Tillis in a statement.

The additional 15,000 visas will be available from April 1 to September 30.

Trump said on last years campaign trail that he was a firm supporter of the program in the past because he used it to find workers for his golf courses and hotels, McClatchy reports.

H-2B visas are available for use by any seasonal business that proves they are not enough American workers that can work on temporary, nonagricultural jobs.

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