DHS, DOL release 30,000 additional H-2B visas

May 7, 2019 -  By
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Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan announced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) will publish a joint rule making an additional 30,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for fiscal year (FY) 2019.

These supplemental H-2B visas are only available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. Availability is restricted by prioritizing businesses who would suffer irreparable harm without the additional workers.

Returning H-2B workers have demonstrated their ability to abide by the terms and conditions of the H-2B program and, therefore, are less likely to remain in the United States and work without authorization after their legal status has expired, DHS reports. H-2B workers often return to the same employer year after year on a seasonal basis, are vetted, trusted and can have their visas approved more rapidly given their known history.

“The DHS continues to urge lawmakers to pursue a long-term legislative fix that both meets employers’ temporary needs while fulfilling the President’s Buy American and Hire American executive order to spur higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers,” Acting Secretary McAleenan said. “The truth is that Congress is in the best position to establish the appropriate number of H-2B visas that American businesses should be allocated without harming U.S. workers. Therefore Congress — not DHS — should be responsible for determining whether the annual numerical limitations for H-2B workers set by Congress need to be modified and by how much, and for setting parameters to ensure that enough workers are available to meet employers’ temporary needs throughout the year.”

Details on the increase in H-2B nonimmigrant visas for FY 2019 can be found alongside the temporary final rule, which is posted for public inspection.

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