DHS/IMMIGRATION: “The Department of Homeland Security said Monday [7-17-17] it would make 15,000 more visas available for seasonal workers, increasing by nearly 50% the number of foreigners able to work in the U.S. this summer.
The decision responds to complaints from businesses and members of Congress about a significant shortfall in H-2B visas that left hotels, restaurants and other businesses that see a surge of demand in the summer scrambling.
Administration officials said last month that they would issue more visas but didn’t say how many or when applications would be accepted. On Monday, officials said that applications would be accepted beginning Wednesday, and that 15,000 would be available.
To qualify, employers must attest that their businesses are likely to suffer ‘irreparable harm,’ defined as permanent and severe financial loss, without the H-2B workers.
While some U.S. lawmakers sought even more visas, DHS officials said this amount would cover the number of companies that meet this criteria.
Businesses seeking additional visas can expect to wait 30 to 60 days for the petitions to be approved, senior DHS officials said. The officials encouraged companies to seek ‘premium processing’ for their petitions, which costs about $1,200 but can shorten the wait time to about two weeks.”
-Laura Meckler and Michael C. Bender, “U.S. to Offer More Visas to Temporary Seasonal Workers,” The Wall Street Journal online, July 17, 2017 11:38am