The Donald Trump administration in the US has announced additional H-2B 15,000 visas for foreign workers. These 15,000 visas will be in addition to 66,000 visas already issued for fiscal year 2018, according to a statement by the Department of Homeland Security under the US government. The additional work visas will be with an aim to assist the US businesses at the “risk of failing”. H-2B are temporary visas issued to non-agricultural workers. H-2B visas therefore allow American businesses to bring foreign nationals to the US to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs subject to certain requirements.
- The announcement in this regard was made by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M Nielsen on May 25. She determined there are not sufficient, qualified US workers available to perform temporary non-agriculture labor to satisfy the needs of American businesses in FY18.
- She made this decision after consulting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, members of Congress, and business owners, according to the DHS press release dated May 25.
- The H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker program was designed to serve US businesses unable to find a sufficient number of qualified US workers to perform non-agricultural work of a temporary nature.
- “The limitations on H-2B visas were originally meant to protect American workers, but when we enter a situation where the program unintentionally harms American businesses it needs to be reformed,” she was cited as saying in the statement.
- While a maximum of 33,000 H-2B visas (half of the total FY18 cap) are available during the first half of the fiscal year, the remainder is available from April 1 to September 30. The 33,000 H-2B visas to be issued in the second half of the year include any unused visas from the first half of that fiscal year.
- Starting this week, eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can file Form I-129. Eligible US employers must file Form I-129, along with a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-2, on a prospective worker’s behalf.
- “Details on eligibility and filing requirements will be available in the final temporary rule and on the Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2018 webpage to be published on uscis.gov when the final temporary rule is posted for public inspection,” the Department of Homeland Security added. Uscis.gov is the website of USCIS or US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Any H-2B worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the H-4 non-immigrant classification, according to the USCIS website. “Family members are not eligible for employment in the United States while in H-4 status,” it adds.
- DHS, the statement noted, is committed to ensuring that “American workers are protected”.
- Meanwhile, the US government had earlier said that repeal of H-4 visa, which allows spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the US, was in the final stage of clearance. With that, the US government is set to render thousands of H-4 visa holders jobless. Once cleared, the move is likely to affect some 70,000 highly-skilled professionals from India.