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United States approves 15000 visas for temporary workers

18 July 2017

They were made available by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after federal officials said there were not enough qualified and willing U.S. workers to meet the needs of businesses for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year.

Congress set the annual limit for H-2B visas at 66,000, but unlike in previous years, returning workers counted against the limit. Part of the deal included giving the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to increase the number of foreign workers, after consulting with the Secretary of Labor, "upon determination that the needs of American businesses can not be satisfied in fiscal year 2017 with United States workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor".

According to a statement made available to Reuters, John Kelly, US secretary of homeland security, and Alexander Acosta, labour secretary, found out that there were not enough qualified and willing American workers to perform temporary nonagricultural work.

"Though we fear this gesture may be too little too late for thousands of small businesses ... the additional visas may help save some small businesses this year".

The department met its cap for the visa applications in March.

"This is yet another example of the administration and Congress failing to keep the Trump campaign promise of putting American workers first", he said.

H-2B visas allow non-agricultural workers to gain temporary employment in the United States if businesses are unable to find qualified USA workers.

"Temporary workers at seasonal resorts as well as in landscaping, seafood harvesting and processing are among those eligible".

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"A lot of the arguments for this kind of program boil down to this: No American worker will do that job".

Trump has previously opposed allowing guest workers in the United States, though his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., has used H-2B seasonal employees.

The Trump Administration says it has a problem with such immigrants and is now determined to step up enforcement to try to cut down on the violations.

"If the wage is decent and the employer obeys the law, Americans will do the job".

Last year, while on the campaign trail, Trump said he would "end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program".

"This does help with American businesses continuing to prosper", a senior DHS official told NBC News.

And while more visas may create a workforce boost, the damage - and its effect on other industries - may already be done.

United States approves 15000 visas for temporary workers