Trump administration approves 15,000 extra H-2B visas
- President Trump approved 15,000 more H-2B visas for foreign workers to fill U.S. seasonal jobs, says CBS News. The visas will be available to employers who can show that their businesses would suffer if they weren't able to hire seasonal foreign workers. The visas are for non-agriculture jobs, including landscaping, forestry, hospitality and retail.
- A congressional vote earlier this year allowed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to add more than the annual 66,000 cap on H-2Bs for a total of 130,000. Workers earn between $10 and $13 a hour, says CBS.
- Trump's approval of the visas is a one-time extension, according to CBS. A notice of the extension will be published in the Federal Register.
The president didn't let his controversial immigration policy interfere with the needs of employers who depend on seasonal labor. He reportedly hires seasonal workers for his own resorts.
In February, employers submitted 82,100 petitions for H-2B visas for the spring and summer of 2017. The petitions far exceeded the 33,000 six-month allotment in just the first quarter of the year. In fact, the cap was met on Jan. 12. The number of petitions demonstrates employers' immense dependency on seasonal workers and the workers' impact on the U.S. economy.
However, employers have said that the increase was too late for those whose preparations for the spring and summer seasons start much earlier. The U.S. hospitality industry warned that many establishments might be forced to close without seasonal help.