Money & The EconomyWhite House Watch

Biden Administration To Add Thousands Of Foreign Worker Visas Due to Labor Crisis

The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will add 35,000 H-2B visas for employers struggling to hire American workers.

“Informed by current demand in the labor market, today we are announcing the availability of an additional 35,000 H-2B visas that will help to support American businesses and expand legal pathways for workers seeking to come to the United States,”  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

“Recognizing the importance of strong worker protections, we will apply greater scrutiny to those employers who have a record of violating obligations to their workers and the H-2B program,” he added.

The visas will allow employers to temporarily hire foreign workers for nonagricultural work or services in the U.S., according to DHS. Employers eligible for the program must have a legitimate reason why they can’t hire American workers.

“The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be for a limited period of time, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal, or intermittent need. Employers seeking to hire H-2B workers must take a series of steps to test the U.S. labor market,” DHS said in a press release.

“They must provide certification from the Department of Labor that proves there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work for which they seek a prospective foreign worker, and that employing the H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers,” the agency added.

Of the 35,000 visas, 23,500 of them will be available for returning workers who were granted the visas in the last three fiscal years and 11,500 of them will be given to workers from Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, DHS said.

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