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DHS, Labor to Expand H-2B Visa Program

The federal government will offer nearly twice as many H-2B temporary worker visas next fiscal year as it did this year, according to Law360 (subscription). 

What’s going on: “Working with the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Friday that proposed regulation would make another 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for the 2024 Fiscal Year, on top of the 66,000 that Congress requires annually.”

  • The aim of the expansion is to meet increased seasonal demand across industries and “reduce irregular migration,” according to DHS.
  • The additional visas will include 20,000 allocated to Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti.
  • Approximately 45,000 supplemental visas will be made available to temporary workers who were given H-2B visas in the past three fiscal years.

What it is: “The H-2B program allows employers to hire people who are not U.S. citizens to do nonagricultural work that’s seasonal or otherwise temporary … [T]o participate, businesses must first demonstrate to the Labor Department that there are not enough qualified U.S. workers available to meet their staffing needs, and that employing H-2B workers would not make wages or working conditions worse for domestic workers in similar positions,” Law360 reports.

Why it’s important: “Demand for H-2B is consistently higher than the number of visas available,” said NAM Director of Domestic Policy Julia Bogue. “Through our immigration policy blueprint, ‘A Way Forward,’ the NAM advocates for reforms to the H-2B program to provide longer employment for these temporary workers.”

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