Trump administration OKs extra 15000 temporary workers for USA biz

Image President Donald Trump signs an executive order during a visit to the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-on Inc. in Kenosha Wisconsin

In a statement, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly said he consulted with Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta to determine that "there are not enough qualified and willing USA workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses in FY 2017".

The increase represents a 45 percent bump from the number of H-2B visas normally issued for the second half of the fiscal year, said senior Homeland Security officials in a call with reporters Monday. The decision could impact North Carolina landscaping, tourism and seafood-production industries, some of which have been unable to secure workers through the program. They will be available to companies that can demonstrate that their businesses would be harmed if they can't temporarily hire foreigner workers. That made this year's application process much more competitive, they said.

Congress in May struck a bipartisan deal to potentially make available an additional 70,000 visas available.

DHS officials are billing the extra visas as being in line with the theme of the week, too: "This does help with American businesses continuing to prosper", one said.

Congress paved the way to increasing the number of H-2B workers in May when it passed an omnibus budget to avoid a government shutdown.

"Congress gave me the discretionary authority to provide temporary relief to American businesses at risk of significant harm due to a lack of available seasonal workers", Kelly said. Until a year ago, guest workers who had already participated were not counted toward the cap. Visas for more than 120,000 positions have been requested so far in fiscal 2017, according to Department of Labor statistics. But some senators are criticizing their colleagues' efforts to bypass public debate about changing immigration law. "That doesn't mean there aren't some shortages in some places, but there need to be rules in place to ensure that a fair wage is being offered to American workers first".

"Right now, widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers from all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job, for, sometimes, less pay", Trump said.

"I'm encouraged that Secretary Kelly intends to provide relief to seasonal small businesses across the nation now suffering from a lack of temporary workers".

"I have no idea if I'm even going to get a visa once they're processed", Diment said. They must also attest, under penalty of perjury, that their businesses will suffer permanent and severe financial loss if they are not allowed to hire foreign workers.

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