Published: Wed, July 19, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Ski resorts applaud Homeland Security increase in H2B worker visas

Ski resorts applaud Homeland Security increase in H2B worker visas

Congress previously set the H-2B cap at 66,000, and after that threshold was reached by March 13 for the 2017 year, Congress delegated authority to John Kelly, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, to increase the number of temporary work visas through September 30.

The DHS blamed Congress for delaying the decision being made about the hiring of seasonal workers and pushing it into summer and announced that they are "committed to protecting U.S. workers and strengthening the integrity of the U.S. immigration system".

"It's good news for maybe a handful of trainers under certain circumstances, but it certainly doesn't resolve the issue", said Alex Waldrop, the president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which lobbies the federal government on issues affecting the racing industry.

The way Trump spoke on the campaign trail, one would expect him to limit the number of available H-2B visas, thereby forcing employers to raise wages until local, US -born workers were willing to take the jobs.

Kevin Cummings, chief of the Business and Foreign Workers Division at USCIS, said in the conference call that there aren't enough USA workers who are "willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor".

"It's not that Americans don't want work, it's that Americans don't want these jobs because they're back-breaking hard work", Bishop said. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress set the H-2B cap at 66,000 workers per fiscal year. "We're asking these businesses to attest that if they do not get additional workers they will be harmed, so this does help with American businesses continuing to prosper".

"The additional H-2B visas will be available to businesses that will suffer irreparable harm if they can't hire all the H-2B workers requested in their FY 2017 petition", she said.

DHS said the government had created a tip line to report any abuse of the visas or employer violations.

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Current law limits the number of such visas issued to 66,000 a year - split among two halves of the year. Hoteliers in ME, for instance, say they are barely functioning in what should be peak season.

President Donald Trump has said he's going to set more limits on the H-1B visa program, which allows tens of thousands of technology workers into the United States each year.

The Department of Homeland Security's announcement came as the White House kicked off its "Made in America" week, during which the administration is highlighting its efforts to increase domestic employment and investment.

NumbersUSA, an organization that opposes additional immigration, urged the administration not to increase the number of H-2B visas.

The DHS believes that there is a gap between the demands of businesses and the number of "qualified and willing US workers", and announced on Monday that they are looking into increasing the number of seasonal workers granted access into the United States.

"Nationally, there isn't actual evidence of labor shortages people talk about", he said.

Senior DHS officials said on a call with reporters that the move still satisfied Trump's "America First" agenda.

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