John Kelly, secretary of homeland security, yesterday announced the decision to increase the number of H-2B visas — permits for seasonal workers in non-agricultural sectors — to 81,000, a rise of 15,000 from a congressional annual cap of 66,000.
“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,“ Mr Kelly said.
The retired general added that the administration was allowing a “one-time increase“ to show its “commitment to supporting American businesses“. To qualify for the visas, companies must certify that they would suffer “irreparable harm“ unless they can hire more foreign workers for seasonal jobs.
While President Donald Trump campaigned on a series of tough immigration policies, he came under pressure during the race after it emerged that his properties used H-2B visas. “It’s very, very hard to get people,“ Mr Trump said during one of the presidential debates.
Dave Lapan, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said his agency did not know if the Trump Organization would take advantage of the increased cap to hire more seasonal workers at businesses such as Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Florida resort which has been dubbed the Winter White House.
国土安全部发言人戴夫•拉潘(Dave Lapan)表示，该部不知道特朗普集团(Trump Organization)是否会利用H-2B签证上限提高，在海湖庄园(Mar-a-Lago，见文首照片)等企业雇佣更多季节性员工。后者是美国总统名下在佛罗里达的度假村，有“冬季白宫“之称。
The move to allow more H-2B visas comes as the administration considers changes to the H-1B visa system that brings highly-skilled foreign workers to the US.