U.S. to Add 15K Temporary Worker Visas

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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 United States workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses in FY 2017".

To qualify for the additional visas, petitioners must attest, under penalty of perjury, that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm if it can not employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers during fiscal year 2017.

"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.

Senior DHS officials described the increase as a "one-time" occurrence, saying Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly increased the number of temporary foreign workers on the visas, known as H-2B visas, after discussing the option with businesses and the Department of Labor.

"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".

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

U.S. President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump

The Trump administration said Monday that it is providing an additional 15,000 visas for foreign workers, despite the president's calls to hire USA workers first.

Since 2000, Mr Trump received 1,024 H-2B visas for his businesses for waiters, kitchen, and housekeeping staff, according to a CNN report. The cancellation earlier this year of a provision that had exempted returning workers from being included in that cap had worsened the shortage.

DHS officials are billing the extra visas as being in line with the theme of the week, too: "This does help with American businesses continuing to prosper", one said.

While President Trump has generally opposed bringing in guest workers, he has made an exception for this program. This is about American jobs, ' " Kelly said.

"If the wage is decent and the employer obeys the law, Americans will do the job". And the seafood industry, which began its hiring season in April, competes with other industries, such as landscaping and tourism, that rely heavily on temporary summer workers.

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