US to grant 20,000 additional H-2B visas for temporary workers

The move marks the first time the Department of Homeland Security is offering the additional visas for the winter season


The Department of Homeland Security, for the first time ever, is offering 20,000 more H-2B or guest-worker visas to temporary workers, this winter.

Earlier, additional visas had been allowed for the summer when the shortage of workers was high in the labour market. In the October to March period of 2021, 33,000 visas were already made available. These 20,000 are over and above that number. However, employers in the US will have to employ workers on or before March 31, 2022.

Using the H-2B visa, employers in the US are able to bring in workers from outside the US to work non-agricultural temporary jobs. The job should be temporary and for a limited time period, to fulfil a seasonal or sporadic need. The employers who employ such foreign non-agricultural workers should also formally state in their petitions that they are hiring them because of a shortage of workers in the US and because of non-availability of workers to do their work.

This move is well timed, as the country is experiencing job growth and its economy is recovering. This will protect businesses in the US and at the same time, create jobs opportunities for people from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti.

Department of Homeland Security is working on various policies and ways to modernise and bring about reforms in the H-2B programme, such that exploitation of workers with H-2B visas is prevented and the programme becomes more efficient.

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