Trump Administration Issues 15000 New Seasonal Worker Visas

US President-elect Donald Trump addresses the

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The H-2B program now has an annual cap of 66,000 visas and a maximum of 33,000 visas are available during the first half of the fiscal year and then the remainder and any unused H-2B visas become available from April 1 through September. But lawmakers from several states, as well as the business community and pro-immigration advocates, had pressured the administration to issue these visas, saying businesses were unable to fill the posts they needed with U.S. workers.

"It's good news for maybe a handful of trainers under certain circumstances, but it certainly doesn't resolve the issue", said Alex Waldrop, the president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which lobbies the federal government on issues affecting the racing industry.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who put Trump's nominee for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Lee Francis Cissna, on hold over concerns about the administration's slowness to issue more H-2B visas, is lifting his hold after DHS made its announcement, his spokesman Daniel Keylin said. However, one DHS official noted "We're talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm if they don't get additional H-2B workers", he said.

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

"The additional H-2B visas will be available to businesses that will suffer irreparable harm if they can't hire all the H-2B workers requested in their FY 2017 petition", she said.

The officials said the government made the decision after "considering the interest of US workers" and has created a tip line for reports of worker exploitation and abuse. The program normally allows for 66,000 visas, split between the two halves of the year.

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Because tourist season in ME runs until September or October, the six workers she's now missing will only be able to help her make up a fraction of the peak season, Diment said. Dick Durbin criticized DHS for increasing the number of H-2B visas.

In February, Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's Florida resort, announced it would hire 64 workers under the program. "We understand the needs of employers who rely on seasonal H-2B workers if the American workforce can't meet the demand, but we are also aware of the potential side effects of flooding the labor force with more temporary foreign workers, including depressed wages for all workers in seasonal jobs". The statement from DHS says the department determined there weren't enough qualified and willing USA workers available to fill the jobs.

Roy Beck, head of Numbers USA, a group that opposes immigration, said it threatened "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". "That doesn't mean there aren't some shortages in some places, but there need to be rules in place to ensure that a fair wage is being offered to American workers first".

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