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DHS Releases an Additional 35,000 H-2B Visas

Thursday, March 19, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On March 5, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the release of an additional 35,000 H-2B visas for this fiscal year. Advocates had hoped for almost twice that amount, but it’s 5,000 more than the 30,00 additional visas allocated last year.

The H-2B program allows employers to bring foreign workers to the United States for temporary non-agricultural jobs, such as landscaping, hospitality and other industries. Landscape contracting is the largest user of H-2B workers.

DHS said in a statement that the "supplemental allocation was determined after extensive consultation with stakeholders—including members of Congress and the Department of Labor," adding that it's "intended to strike a careful balance that benefits American businesses and American workers."

Congress has set a cap of 66,000 visas per year, but legislation passed last December allowed up to an additional 65,000 visas for workers who had worked in the program in prior years.

The additional visas announced Thursday will come out in two tranches — 20,000 for start dates beginning April 1 and 15,000 for start dates beginning May 15.

"Adding a second batch will address specific congressional concerns about late-season filers," the department added.

This year, the program will also designate 10,000 visas to nationals of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to help stem the flow of migrants to the US-Mexico border. The three countries struck agreements with the United States to curtail the number of asylum seekers coming to the US-Mexico border last year.

A temporary final rule with additional details is expected "as soon as possible," DHS said.

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