The number of temporary visas offered to workers in certain industries has been expanded, according to a Department of Homeland Security announcement Monday.
In a statement, DHS Secretary John Kelly said that the number of “qualified and willing US workers” in seasonal non-agricultural industries such as tourism is dwindling, and thus 15,000 extra temporary visas have been granted.
“Congress gave me the discretionary authority to provide temporary relief to American businesses in danger of suffering irreparable harm due to a lack of available temporary workers,” Kelly said in a statement. “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.”
Businesses have demanded an expansion of the program for a while, as there just simply aren’t an abundance of Americans that want to fill these temporary positions. In February, Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s Florida resort, announced it would hire 64 workers under the program.
However, the move isn’t without critics.
“Sec. Kelly’s decision to increase H-2B foreign workers threatens to reverse the trend of reports emerging around the country of employers working harder and raising pay to successfully recruit more unemployed Americans for lower-skilled jobs,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, an organization that advocates for reduced immigration.
The previous cap for H-2B visas was 66,000.
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