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DHS Announces it will Double H-2B Visas for FY23

author Published by Chris Pierce

On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would double the number of H-2B visas available for seasonal guest workers in fiscal year 2023; H-2B visas are often awarded to foreign workers who take American jobs in labor categories such as beach resorts, lawn care, seafood processing, etc.

The U.S. Congress has set the annual H-2B caps at 66,000; however, in recent years, Congress has given DHS the power to raise the number if the DHS Secretary thinks the economy needs additional foreign workers.

Sec. Mayorkas has decided that the economy requires additional foreign manpower and authorized another 64,716 on top of the usual 66,000 already allowed under the law, despite tens of millions of unemployed, underemployed, discouraged American job seekers.

Sec. Mayorkas stated:

At a time of record job growth, this full-year allocation at the very outset of the fiscal year will ensure that businesses can plan for their peak season labor needs.

The Secretary also promised to “bolster worker protections” to prevent already common abuses of the program, where unscrupulous employers and robber barons will hire foreign workers to undercut Americans’ wages.

The Washington Times reports,

Mr. Mayorkas said 20,000 of the new visas are set aside for people from Haiti and the Central American nations of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The Biden administration has committed to trying to create more pathways for legal workers to enter the U.S. from those nations, hoping it will cut down on the flow of illegal immigrants.

Even though businesses hoping to hire foreign H-2B workers are required to prove they made a concerted effort to hire Americans at competitive wages, that does not always happen; this type of fraud is sometimes linked to hiring illegal aliens.

While DHS said it is working with the Department of Labor to weed out abuses of the H-2B visa program, the added oversight is somewhat lackluster. If a company is found to have defrauded the visa program “will face extra scrutiny in future applications, the department said,” reports The Washington Times.

Just last year, for example, the owner of a seafood and ice company in Maryland pleaded guilty to hiring foreign H-2B workers for lower-level lower-wage jobs and then demanding the foreign workers complete jobs that would typically require a higher wage. The owner was sentenced to a year of probation and issued a $15,000 fine.

You can read the complete article at The Washington Times.

You can read the DHS press release here.

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