Department of Homeland Security authorizes 15000 additional H-2B visas

John kelly AP FBN

Department of Homeland Security authorizes 15000 additional H-2B visas

In a statement, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly said he consulted with Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta to determine that "there are not enough qualified and willing USA workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses in FY 2017".

The number of H-2B visas had been capped for this year at 66,000.

DHS made a decision to increase the amount of H-2B visas allowed after consulting with the Department of Labor, and was given the authority to do so in the omnibus spending bill that Congress recently approved.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly had expressed reluctance to be the decider on the issue and has mentioned plans to find a long-term solution, but after he consulted with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, he determined there were not enough qualified and willing US workers available to perform the temporary nonagricultural labor needed by some American businesses.

DHS spokesman David Lapan told NBC News that Congress gave his department the authority to allow additional visas at least six months later than normal.

During his campaign, President Donald Trump had promised to put American workers first and curtail migration rate to the country.

In 2016, there were an extra 13,382 visas granted for seasonal work. The cancellation earlier this year of a provision that had exempted returning workers from being included in that cap had worsened the shortage.

"We do think it fits into the "America First" focus of the administration", said one of them. But fewer are willing to do the work when they have other, better-paying options.

"I've hired in Florida during the prime season - you could not get help", Trump said during a 2015 primary debate.

Trump said he has relied on the program in the past to find workers for his golf courses and hotels.

"As President Trump has noted, the H-2B program is vital for businesses that desperately need temporary help to keep their doors open and keep their American workforce employed".

As it stands, Costa said, employers can advertise jobs to Americans with unusually low wages and create a "fake labor shortage" that they're then allowed to fill with vulnerable, easily exploited foreign workers.

The hospitality industry, along with fisheries and others sectors, have actively lobbied for more temporary foreign workers.

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