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The Department of Labor announced a new initiative to ensure that hotels that hire temporary foreign workers using the H-2B visa comply with wage requirements. Under existing law, employers must demonstrate in their request for H-2B workers that they have been unable to find American workers to fill the job and that the use of H-2B workers will not adversely affect wages and working conditions of similarly employed American workers.

"Any employer seeking workers under this program must be ready and willing to hire qualified U.S. applicants first," said Bryan Jarrett, DOL Wage and Hour Division Acting Administrator. "This initiative demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for law-abiding employers, and protect guest workers from being paid less than they are legally owed or otherwise working under substandard conditions."

The H-2B visa is typically used by employers looking to hire temporary or seasonal workers. The visas are most widely used by the landscaping industry, followed by the forest and conservation industry and the maid and housekeeping industry.

The current annual cap for H-2B visas is set at 66,000, but a provision in the FY2019 Homeland Security spending bill that's been approved by the House Appropriations Committee would exempt certain returning workers from the cap, which could potentially quadruple the number of visas issued each year.

For more on this story, see the Department of Labor