The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement that the visas, which will be available from Friday, January 28, are intended to support U.S. employers who face “irreparable harm” due to a shortage of manpower by March 31 this year.
“DHS is taking steps to meet the needs of our economy by making 20,000 additional H-2B visas available to workers,” said department head Alejandro Mayerkas.
“While expanding the legal means of entering the United States, we provide employers with the resources and support they need to maintain their business,” he added.
The United States currently issues a maximum of 66,000 H-2B visas per fiscal year, valid from October 1 of one year to September 30 of the following year. This is the first time the country has issued additional H-2B visas in the first half of the fiscal year.
According to the DHS, of the total sub-visas, 13,500 will be available to workers who have already obtained an H-2B visa in one of the last three fiscal years.
The remaining 6,500 will be exempt from returning labor requirements and will be allocated to Haitians, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans.
Samantha Power, director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), welcomed the news when she arrived in Honduras as part of a US delegation to attend the inauguration of President Siomaro Castro.
“For the first time, the DHS makes additional H-2B visas available in the first half of the fiscal year, thanks to US job growth record,” he tweeted.
The H-2B Temp Nonfarm Worker program was developed by the US Congress, which allows US employers to fill non-US temporary jobs.
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